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How Market Research Can Help Your Online Business Thrive

 

Market research is a vital part of knowing how to attract customers to your online business. Direct marketing can be an effective way of advertising online at very little cost to yourself, but you first must do some market research to know who to target with your advertisements. This in turn will help your online business thrive.

Market Research

Basically, market research is finding out what customers want, need or believe. By knowing these things, you find out what appeals to your target demographic so you can advertise accordingly. More in depth market research involves market information (supply, demand and prices), market segmentation (when your product could appeal to multiple demographics with different advertising strategies) and market trends (the rise and fall of activity in your market).

Researching Your Market

The first thing to do when researching your market is to determine what your target demographic is. If you sell bright, chunky jewelry, for instance, your market is going to be younger females. You should also research your competition - find out who is successful in your market and why, and also what the accepted price range is for products similar to yours.

Effective Targeted Marketing

Targeted marketing is when you find out what demographic is most likely to have an interest in your product, and you advertise almost exclusively to that group. For instance, skateboards are normally marketed to males between the ages of about 8 and 18, more or less. Skateboard advertisements are designed to appeal to that group. You don't see skateboard advertisements which are specifically meant to appeal to 50 year old women because there aren't a lot of 50 year old women who are interested in purchasing a skateboard. So, no money or time is wasted on these sorts of advertisements.

Advertising in Your Market

For an online business, both direct marketing (directly contacting potential customers through email, "snail mail" and telephone; for online marketing you would use exclusively email) and advertising on other websites can be effective. Once you know your target demographic, find out what other popular websites they frequent. For example, if you're targeting young, internet savvy gamers, you might consider advertising on popular webcomic sites. Direct marketing is more difficult, as bulk emails tend to be caught by spam filters, but once your online business is established, it's easy and effective to send out newsletters with the latest products and specials.

Taking Advantage of Trends

Part of marketing is knowing what trends are "in" that you can take advantage of to generate web traffic and sales. For instance, Pokemon was a huge trend in the mid '90s. During that time, a clothing designer could have produced, say, a "Pikachu" sweatshirt with the signature brown stripes and marketed it to the entire enormous Pokemon playing demographic. Keep on top of the newest hype, and if possible, create products that are based on it.

Market research can help you get the most value for your money when you advertise. Marketing to the demographic that is most likely to have an interest in your product will help your online business thrive.

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