Improve your marketing strategy by understanding what your customers really need
Luckily, more and more businesses realize the importance of understanding their customers’ needs. And we couldn’t be happier to share with you a brief overview of our approach to research. In the end, we got you landing on this particular article, right?
In what follows, you will find the most common (yet useful) qualitative and quantitative research tactics that will allow you to uncover your customers’ needs and desires, which you can then apply directly in tailoring your marketing strategy accordingly.
We’ll help you find out how people talk and what they talk about so that you get a basic understanding of the voice of customers. This will later help you develop new features, new products and also choose the right words to use on your landing pages and create highly-converting copywriting.
Research tactics we’ll explore in this article:
- Online Reviews
- Chat Transcripts
- General Surveys
- Website surveys
- Email surveys
- Internal website search bar
- Google Analytics – search behaviour
- Google Trends
- Google Keyword Planner
Interviews represent one of the most common techniques for finding out who your customers are. They also offer a great way to get an in-depth understanding of your customer’s attitude towards your product. As a rule of thumb, we recommend instructing the people who will hold these interviews to try to let the customer speak freely. Tell them not to get defensive if the customer starts talking about the things they didn’t like about your product. Those hard-hitting answers are exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some of the questions Strategyzer uses for their interviews (notice they’re all open-ended questions).
a). Understanding Pains
1. What are the main challenges/difficulties that your customer encounters?
2. What does your customer categorize as risky?
3. What is keeping your customer awake at night?
b). Understanding Gains
1. What would make your customer’s job life easier?
2. What outcomes does your customer expect and what would go beyond his/her expectations?
3. How do current solutions satisfy your customer?
It’s also essential to consider the sample. Having diverse interviewees will help you get a more accurate customer profile, and you won’t risk staying trapped in your assumptions.
Try to interview all types of clients. Old clients may have different answers than those who purchased from your more recently. Clients who love you may give you a new perspective towards your product’s benefits, while those who dislike your product may light off a bulb that can help you upgrade it. If possible, try to also talk to those who are still on the fence about buying and those who like your competitor better.
Moreover, it would help if you also considered asking people in your organization about the clients. Customer-facing departments such as sales and customer support are often those who know your customer’s pains and objections best.
c). How to plan the perfect interview
Aspects to pay attention to
c1). Leading questions
How will this help you?
They make the interviewee respond in a biased way, usually towards the opinion of the interviewer.
❌ How good was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
✅ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
c2). Using the right order for your questions
Make sure the questions are in the right order. Start with demographics and go from general to more specific. If you use multiple-choice questions, randomize the options to increase the results’ validity.
❌ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us? How old are you?
✅How old are you? How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
c3). Use clear language when formulating your questions
Try to use simple words to avoid confusion. Avoid buzzwords and jargon that the respondents might not understand.
❌ How was your convo with tech support?
✅ How would you rate your experience with our technical support representative?
c4). Be present
Pay attention to the interviewee. Try to balance following the script with going more in-depth; you will discover insightful pains/gains.
c5). Be specific when addressing your questions
Interviews are part of qualitative research, and just because some of your clients have a confident attitude doesn’t mean everyone feels the same. The insights you get from interviews must be complemented by qualitative data to be accurate and helpful.
1.2. Online Reviews
Online reviews are another great tool for revealing your customer’s jobs, pains, and gains. You may be surprised to see that people found some funky uses for a product that was initially made to serve another purpose.
Social media and platforms where you sell your products/services can be great places to find honest reviews. Moreover, by researching the reviews for competitors’ products, you can figure out what features have more appeal and implement them to improve your offering.
Pay attention to the language they use. Jot down their jargon. Get used to it and use it across your website so people can see you’re one of them.
When looking for online reviews, we recommend selecting the most relevant quotes from the customers and including them in the customer profile.
Example 1 of review on Amazon
Negative reviews should be extensively analyzed. It’s important to see if the reported issue is isolated to this product alone or maybe there’s something wrong with an entire batch or the product itself.
Example 2 of review on Amazon
Reviews like these are very insightful as they speak about what is essential for the customer, besides the product itself. The company should investigate further and see if other customers feel the same about the topic (in this case – ease of use).
Example 3 of review on Amazon
Here’s an example of a review that can give you an insight on what matters the most to your customers. Which of the features your product already has are the most appreciated? What new features would people find useful?
1.3. Chat transcripts
The chat is where people usually go to complain. Thus it’s the best place to find out customer pains. That’s not to say you may not even find a better understanding of customer jobs and, if you are lucky, stumble upon some customer gains too.
Analyzing those chats (from both social media and your website) can help you in so many ways. Looks for patterns in your client’s language and approach. Use that information to adapt your response strategy to complaints. But don’t stop there.
Share the insights with your marketing and content team and tell them to tailor their materials in a way that matches your customer. It’s essential to test those insights using quantitative data.
If the chats are dense, you can use text mining techniques to help you extract the most relevant data from text.
Below is an example of how different people were addressing the same issue in the website chat.
PS: Analyzing chat transcripts also allows you to spot any website bugs or issues and try to fix them as soon as possible.
1.4. Surveys (qualitative vs. quantitative)
Surveys are a research method where you can combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. You can check if the pains and gains you discovered in the interviews apply to a larger sample and get more quantitative data to find trends and test the statistical validity of specific insights.
By asking open-ended questions, you can understand people’s extensive opinions. In contrast, questions like “On a scale from 1-5, how satisfied were you with the customer experience?” offer you quantitative data.
You can also transform qualitative answers to quantitative data by assigning a set of variables to specific categories of responses. Programs like Typeform, Survey Monkey, and Hotjar have simplified the process and improved the UX for surveys, helping you create a beautiful experience for the customers. This way, you can increase your surveys’ response rate and use the data to perform descriptive statistics and regression analysis.
1.5. Website surveys
You can use Hotjar to set surveys, polls, build heatmaps, and get more insight into how customers navigate your website.
To survey a specific audience, you’ll have to use Hotjar in combination with Google Tag Manager. For example, you could target new or returning visitors or even customers from particular countries. Additionally, it’s insightful to display surveys to different audiences based on what they did on the website (subscribed to the newsletter, started a freemium, etc.).
To increase the survey response rate, you can use a simple 3 question survey format to tailor the questions to uncover specific pains and gains. These questions drastically reduce the completion effort on the customers’ side, while also giving you the exact answer to what you need to find out:
- What is the purpose of your visit to our website today?
- Were you able to complete your task today?
- If not, why?
To further encourage completion, you can offer discount coupons to your products/services, Amazon Gift Cards, or any other type of reward.
1.6. Email surveys
Surveying clients through email requires a different approach. Remember, the people who are on your email list have already interacted with your company.
They are either former clients, people who want to stay updated about your offers, or just curious individuals. In all cases, they’re interested in what you have to offer.
For them, you can use Typeform to build a more comprehensive and interactive survey that addresses one of your specific business needs.
For example, you can try to find out more about your clients’ experience with a particular category of products focusing on pains, gains, and jobs to be done. The email surveys can be bigger than the ones from your website. Here too, you can come up with creative rewards to spur the customers towards completing the survey.
2. Quantitative research
It’s time to back up the insights extracted from the qualitative research with data! Remember, to achieve your expected results, it’s crucial to test the assumptions with some quantitative analysis.
2.1. What people are looking for on your internal search bar
Having an internal search bar can pay off in more than one way. Not only does it help customers get to the desired part of your website, but it also helps you understand where the customer’s interests are. Such information can show you how to organize the content on the website.
To track your internal search bar, you’ll need to set the right parameters in Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, to begin with. That’s a topic for a different day, but if you need help with that now, you can always drop us an email, and we’ll rush to your assistance ASAP.
For now, let’s take a look at how you can access the most popular internal searches. First, go to your Google Analytics accounts, look for the ‘Behavior’ tab -> ‘Site Search’ –>’ Search Terms.’ This path will give you a list of the most searched words on the internal search bar.
Here is an example of how the searches are displayed. In this situation, you can see how “wood,” “floral,” and “peel and stick” are the most popular, indicating that the business should make sure they have related products easily accessible for the visitors.
2.2. Using Google Analytics to analyze the search behavior of your clients
How do clients get to your website? The answer to this question can help you understand your customers’ primary needs (jobs to be done) and point out some areas your business can use as leverage.
To find out, open Google Analytics and go to ‘Search Console’ –> ‘Queries.’ Make sure to select a time interval that can retrieve data that’s relevant enough.
What you’ll see next are all the leading search engine results that got the user to your website.
In the example shared above, you can notice some non-branded results such as “removable wallpaper” and “temporary wallpaper,” which indicate the company should invest in those keywords because they bring traffic to the website. However, there are also branded keywords, such as the company’s name, which can tell you how sought after and well-known the company is.
Short-tail keywords such as “wallpaper” and “fake wallpaper” are usually too broad to optimize for. However, you can get more insights from the long-tail keywords such as “best peel and stick wallpaper” and “floral peel and stick wallpaper” because they are more descriptive, and they can be used in the content creation strategy.
To understand the motivations behind those searches, you can also design interview/survey questions to provide additional insights.
2.3. Google trends
You can use Google Trends if you are looking to understand global trends and research how people’s search behavior unfolds historically. This tool is useful if you are interested in topics that have a high search volume. What’s more, it can help you correlate different events, for example, progress in the COVID-19 vaccine development, with the search trends in various countries.
However, for more niche topics, using more specialized tools is recommended.
For example, Google Keywords Planner and SemRush can help you get a feel for your audience’s awareness level and find out more about how users look for your product or service. This is relevant because those keywords represent how your clients express their pains, gains, and jobs to be done.
Plus, you can also use them to discover other markets where people share similar interests and your product could succeed.
2.4. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a strong yet limited tool. While it provides information on keyword popularity, which is strongly related to your customer’s value and how they express themselves, its power stops there.
The tool can be useful for your search campaigns, to compare your keywords’ popularity across different areas, or get a brief recommendation on what other keywords you could add to your campaign.
However, if you’re looking to get an idea about pains, gains, and jobs to be done, you’ll have to dig deeper to see if it applies to your customers.
There are two relevant customer profiling options in Google’s Keyword Planner – Discover new keywords or Get search volume and forecasts. We’ll focus today on discovering new keywords. The second option is mostly used for planning your ad budget – a more in-depth story that we will address in a separate article soon.
Discovering new keywords through Google Keyword Planner
After typing your main keyword (feel free to add more), selecting your language and location, it’s good to use your domain as a filter so that you get recommendations according to your website’s content.
Your keywords will then be displayed, along with their average monthly searches and competition (in regards to google ads). You can also use this tool to see how much a bid on a certain keyword would cost you.
2.5. SemRush – the go-to tool
When it comes to research purposes and content planning, Semrush is your #1 go-to tool.
Here are two ways in which you can use SemRush for completing your customer profile. (Naturally, Semrush is useful in many more different ways, but for this topic’s purpose, we’re sticking to customer profiling, hence seeing what people are interested in).
With this tool, you can start from one keyword that you know is relevant to your audience and see all the other topics your customers are interested in. Let’s see what it can do when we try out “google tag manager,” for instance:
Various topic categories emerge along with essential Headlines and Questions related to our main topic.
With this information in your hand, creating customer profiles and developing custom content for all your audiences is easy as pie.
Keyword Magic Tool
This tool must come straight out of Hogwarts because it sure is magical!
Why are we so ecstatic about it? For one, it helps you group people’s interests under the form of keywords based on different aspects.
Furthermore, it hands you dozens of other related searches to your main keyword and provides insights on volumes, trends, and even CPCs.
But what’s this got to do with customer profiling, you ask reluctantly? Everything, young padawan. This tool basically hands you everything you need to know about how your customers talk and the language they use to solve their problems and accomplish their needs.
Now that you’ve reached the end of our super-brief-customer-research-crash-course, we sure hope you have a better understanding of what your customers do on your website and what they search for online.
Keeping an eye on what they have to say is a really important aspect of knowing how they perceive your brand and your products. Moreover, you’ll see that some of them will also mention the competition so be sure to stay agile and follow the breadcrumbs to improve what you’re selling.
While there is no secret recipe to a successful marketing strategy, knowing the voice of your customer will help you serve them with better ads and address them in the proper way. In the meantime, we recommend using external research tools to develop new features based on what people are searching for.
Good luck and let us know if you have additional questions or concerns about your research in the comment box below!
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