Research and using Your Autoresponder for demographics

Autoresponder; Telepathy Substitute Revealed

written by: James Darvell

autoresponderAt the end of the day, successful marketing could be described as telling people what they want to hear. Where marketers often fail is in assuming that we know what people want to hear. But the reality is that unless you are telepathic, you can never be absolutely certain what your customers and prospects are thinking. Short of telepathy, there is only one way to get a very good clear idea of what your prospective customers are thinking. Market research, this is often overlooked or even ignored, however its a powerful tool to ensure your marketing is effective.

Research is really an essential tool in all aspects and phases of marketing, including branding and direct marketing. A branding campaign is intended to mould and shape your customers ideas and assumptions about your company, your products, and your services. Without having a deep understanding of your customer’s thoughts, ideals and values, you will most probably miss the mark and get mediocre or even poor results.

Market Segmentation and Customer Profiles

Don’t let this title frighten you, lets have a look at what it means…

Before you can research your market, you are going to need to know who they are. It is a mistake to think of your market as some sort of homogeneous mass. In reality, any market is made up of highly unique individuals, be that at your local boot sale (swap meet), or ebay, Amazon, or your own personal website. It is well to recognise that there are strong similarities between all the individuals in any specific market place (customer profile), which makes it possible to break them down into groups or segments (market segmentation).

As an example, if we were to examine the market for digital whiteboards, we could start to identify specific segments:

Email marketing, B2B Branding

1: Teachers and college lecturers
2: Educators in the private sector (e.g. vocational training centres)
3: Business executives
4: Public speakers
5: Conference organizers

These are just a few of the groups that occur to me off the top of my head. Proper research is more thorough than this. You can work out the segments of your market by looking at your current and past customers, and using the information that you have to start drawing up a list.

Within these segments, you will have one or more typical group members. For instance, referring to the first segment in the list above (teachers), there are newly graduated teachers at one end of the spectrum, and tenured professors at the other end. They will likely have a very different interests and attitudes. They will both respond to the same branding message in a different way.

Each of these typical group members forms the basis of a profile that you will build. A profile (or persona) is a fictional person who exemplifies a specific, target-able section of the market segment. When you target this profile, you are targeting a lot of people at the same time.

Demographics and Psycho-graphics

So far, the profiles we have are pretty hazy. We know what the person’s role in life is, but how can we get a better understanding of who they are? The next step is to flesh out these profiles with some facts.

Demographics is one way to start filling in the details. Demographics is a statistical study of populations, and it is concerned with details such as age, education, income and background. These help to define a population, but they do not account for personality. Personality, needs, wants, attitudes and ideas are covered by psycho-graphics.

Demographic data is very easy to gather compared to psychographics. Websites such as Alexa.com, Quantcast.com, and Compete.com track demographic data from web users, and can give you detailed data for any site. If you type in your top 5 competitors, you will be able to get an idea of the demographics or your marketplace.

Psychographics are a little harder to research, but they have the greatest impact on your marketing. There are lots of fancy ways to research psycho-graphics, but perhaps the easiest way to do so is with a survey sent directly to your current customers. Survey Monkey is a web-based service that makes it easy to run surveys and collate the data to get a meaningful interpretation.

With the right survey questions, you will gain a lot of useful psycho-graphic data. You can discover the common attitudes of your audience to different topics in your field, and you can learn what they like and dislike, but most importantly, you can discover what motivates them. People are driven by needs, wants and pains. Unsolved needs, wants, and pains become problems.

Typically, your product or service should be helping people to solve problems, overcome pains and achieve needs and wants. That’s what makes you valuable to people in your marketplace, so it’s very important to learn what these needs and wants are.

Social Media and Facebook

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Social media is making it a lot easier to gather psycho-graphic data for the purposes of market research. As people publicly like other people, companies, and interests, it becomes easier to discover the connections between these facts. Facebook has a search feature called graph search, which exploits these relationships.

It’s a powerful feature that many are completely unaware of.

It gives you a huge insight into the views and attitudes of your market and competitors. Imagine if you were branding a new video games studio, and you were competing with Epic Games. You could search “interests liked by people who like Epic Games”. Facebook would show you the other interests of these people.

You could narrow it down further by adding some demographic information to the search, such as “Interests liked by people who are 30 years old and like Epic Games.” This gives us the following results:

* Jedi
* AK-47
* Karate
* Mountains
* Tattoo
etc.

If we type “Interests liked by people who are 22 years old and like Epic Games,” instead, we get:

* Angry Birds
* South Park: The Movie
* Squirtle
* Writing
* Electric Guitar
* Zombies

As you can see, it’s quite different.

By combining this information with the demographics, you can really start to flesh out the personality of the profile. We have an insight into what they would like, and what they would dislike.

Forums, Groups and Question Sites

email marketing, b2b brandingSo far, we’ve been looking at the personality and demographic categories of our market persona’s. Now we need to start getting specific by looking at what people are saying about the issues and problems in our marketplace. Go to sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, and AOL answers, and search using important words related to your product and service. Look at the questions that people ask, and you can quickly get an idea of the problems people are trying to solve.

Next, look at online communities. Here are the most common types of online communities:

* Forums
* Facebook Groups
* LinkedIn Groups (for professional persona’s)
* Google Groups and Usenet (which you can access via Google Groups)
* Yahoo Groups

Spend some time browsing the posts on these groups and you will get a good sense of the character and attitudes of your market profiles.

All these data points are like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When you put them together, you get a data driven picture of a personality. It helps you to understand who your typical and ideal customers are, and what motivates them. It’s an eye-opening exercise, and it will help you to understand your marketplace in more depth. You will be able to craft your marketing messages to create a bigger impact.

Email

As I mentioned earlier, a survey of your current customers will provide you with some of the most accurate data you could ever have. The best way to contact them all is via email.

Sending a survey to all your customers is very easy if you use an email delivery system or autoresponder. Autoresponders allow you to broadcast your message to your entire list with a single click, which is a lot more efficient than sending the messages one by one. As well as efficiency, using an autoresponder will result in a greater rate of delivery. Internet service providers often block your emails if you send too many in a short period. They don’t send you a notification or ask you what you are doing; they just block you.

That’s not a problem with an autoresponder service, as they use their own direct connection to the Internet to send emails with a high rate of delivery. Besides occasional surveys and polls, autoresponders can be used for email promotions, news, and other important business communications.

There are lots of different autoresponder services on the Internet. Trafficwave is an easy-to-use service that gives you all the tools you need at a fair price. Other providers charge for their services on a sliding scale that starts very cheap but soon becomes expensive as your email list grows. Trafficwave has one flat fee. When your list grows, the price stays the same.

Conclusion

So far, we have only covered one part of market research, but it has given us a vital insight into our marketplace. Next, we need to put our competitors under the microscope.

 

 

 

 

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