Do Market Research Like a Boss to Dominate the Competition
World domination might be a bit ambitious (in the short-term), but you can definitely dominate a niche with a couple of strategic campaigns. This requires excellence in market research and disciplined execution.
Yes, execution is included… because knowledge is only powerful if we put it into action!
You should care about this if:
You are an entrepreneur wearing many hats and struggling to handle everything in your business
You are a small business owner whose business is stagnant and you want to get back to a growth trend
You are in line to become a decision maker within the company you work for
Before you conquer a niche, you first have to understand it. We’ve covered that in this article, where we talk about the value of research. We then covered the how of research and some steps you could take to get valuable information.
We will now go deeper into what it exactly means to do valuable market research and give some specific examples. Stick around if you want to learn:
How to oversee in-person marketing campaigns/events that always have a positive ROI
How to dominate a hashtag on Instagram so that you can increase your influence
These are some of the strategies and tactics that we use for our clients at Elisha Consulting. You might ask: “If you getpaid for this work, why would you share your process for free?” I get it, that is a valid question, and the answer is simple:
Most people will not even read this
Some will read but won’t do anything about it
Maybe a few will act on it and realize that it takes a lot of disciplined execution to make it happen and will see why we get paid to design and execute these strategies
We also share because it’s in our nature to help, it is part of our culture. At Elisha, one of our most important principles is the “double-portion”. Our mission is to work with for-profit companies while simultaneously working with non-profit organizations at a discounted rate. Giving back is at the heart of everything we do, and that includes giving away techniques for you to become more successful.
In this way, we are living out the ideal of being a double portion.
These articles are part of our giving back and building a community of people who are willing to define and achieve success on their own terms. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we get some brand awareness and leads through content marketing :D.
Now that your heart is soft because of all the good we are doing in the world… let’s get back to the world domination part!
World Domination Through Strategic Market Research
Currently, my specialty at Elisha Consulting is digital marketing. I usually break it down as follows when explaining my skill-set:
Website development: think coding, front-end design, and user experience (UX)
Collateral design: basically, the holy trinity of Adobe - Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign
All things Google: this is usually a combination of Google Trends, AdWords, Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager
Those are the three areas where I constantly try to improve and offer the most value to clients. Yet, there was a time when I focused on in-person events as a marketer. I broke into marketing at an international non-profit organization where I worked my way up to the Director of Marketing.
In the non-profit world, there are many ways to solicit donations and one of the most common is hosting an event. These could be large banquets all the way down to small BBQ events at churches. I oversaw more than 60 events and am always proud that we never lost money on an event. We had a positive ROI on every single event. Granted there were a few where we only raised a couple hundred dollars, but we still left with a little money to help orphans in third-world countries.
One of the tactics I learned was the key to consistent positive ROIs . . . visualization research.
Here is how it worked.
For large events, I would put together a committee to ensure the event was done with excellence. During our committee meetings we would do an exercise where all of us would sit, put away cell phones, close our eyes, and imagine the event.
I would start to ask questions:
How did the attendee hear about the event?
After they purchase a ticket, how will they remember to attend?
Will they be able to find the location?
What happens when they arrive?
What value are we providing in exchange for asking for a donation?
What will happen after the event?
These are just a few of the questions and they are deliberately abstract. Looking back at the questions, they reveal data to help make the event successful.
How did the attendee hear about the event? This question is key, did they hear about the event on social media, through a Google search, from a newsletter, a friend, or another source? Once we thought through the scenarios, we knew where and how we needed to promote.
After they purchase a ticket, how will they remember to attend? A purchase is great, but we really wanted the person to attend. That meant we needed to send email reminders and for larger events, printed reminders.
Will they be able to find the location? We likely needed signs to point drivers to the location which means part of the marketing budget was set aside for signs.
What happens when they arrive? I never wanted an attendee to exit their car without first seeing a smiling face. That could be as simple as placing some volunteers at the entrance waving and being available to answer questions.
What value are we providing in exchange for asking for a donation? We have all been to borning events. The central focus of this question was to determine the entertainment and other items we would provide that left people excited they attended the event.
What will happen after the event? The answer was always the same, a thank you would be sent out which meant media would have to be made, i.e. social media posts, possibly a video, emails, and sometimes a printed thank you. Also, I would personally reach out to every volunteer and thank them, this could take ½ a day for large events.
These questions would be asked and answered at the committee meetings to get feedback from multiple perspectives. We would write down the answers and then work on a strategy. Marketing campaigns would organically formulate as we had already visualized how people would hear about the event. If we said an attendee would likely find the event online, then we knew a landing page would need to be created, social media posts would need to be made, an advertising budget would need to be developed, etc.
The great thing about visualization research is that it can be done for large and small projects either with a group or by yourself. Imagine the possibilities.
Let’s say you have a job interview. Visualize what you will wear, what time you will leave to arrive early, where you will park, what you will say to the front-desk receptionist, answers to common interview questions, when you will send a thank-you, and more.
Maybe you have your own business. Visualize the entire process from building your product or developing your service all the way to finding customers and fulfilling their purchases.
I have used the visualization technique for close to a decade and believe it’s one of the reasons I have found success in marketing. For example, if I am working on a website, I try to imagine the end-user and ask questions. Are they on their desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone? What are they looking for? How did they land on the page? What would convince them to click “purchase today” or “contact us?” Answering those questions is the basis for excellent user experience.
It doesn’t matter if you are a digital marketer, hosting events, or working toward a job promotion. Visualization research will lead to valuable data for you to reach your goals and stay ahead of the competition.
Every time you post something on Instagram you should be using the maximum amount of hashtags allowed by the platform, which is 30.
The best way to do so if you use one or two hashtags within the caption of the post, and the rest you post them as a comment. The algorithm will still pick this up.
If you want to take it to the next level, you should have several groups of 28-29 hashtags that you use for the different content themes you have. By doing so, you will reach different audiences and you will build authority on different topics.
Consistently using several groups of 30 hashtags will allow you to:
Understand your audience
Let your target audience find you and follow you
Build authority on your target topics/themes
How do we go about picking the hashtags, understanding our audience, and building authority?
The first step is to understand that there are two main categories of hashtags that you will be using. 1) Geographic-related hashtags, and 2) Topic-related hashtags. Ideally, you will find some that are both geographic-related and topic-related, but this doesn’t always happen.
For example, let’s say you are a coffee shop in Houston, you would want to rank for hashtags that are related to 1) Houston, and 2) Coffee. You could then dive deeper into the different locations within Houston, and also the different sub-categories of coffee, but for this example, we will keep it simple.
Then you start listing all the hashtags you think you should use, this could be something like this: #Houston #HoustonTX #htx #htown #katy #katytx #downtownhouston #downtownhtx all these for geography. Then for the topic, you could use: #coffee #coffeeaddict #caffeine #coffeeshop #latte and many others. Sometimes you will find some that cover both, like #houstoncoffee.
Once you have the list comes part two.
Understanding Your Audience
You then have to type these hashtags at Instagram's search function and spend some time viewing the “Top” posts as well as the “Recent” posts within those hashtags. You are looking for things like:
How many posts are being posted (some hashtags are not worth using because they only have less than 1,000 posts)?
What type of posts are being shared (quotes, pictures, memes, etc)?
What type of accounts post here (business accounts, influencer accounts, regular users, etc)?
Doing so will allow you to understand if you should be using these hashtags or not and also what type of content can help you get the attention of the users that post here. This goes hand-in-hand with the third step.
This step also requires that you research influencer and business accounts within your target market, but today we will focus on hashtags. Once you decide the different hashtags you will be using for your different themes, you then have to post consistently (EVERY DAY) and also engage with the other accounts that post using those hashtags.
Engagement means more than liking or following them. It means reading their posts, their comments, and adding value to whatever is happening. If you are a coffee shop, you should have lots of knowledge about coffee so you should be able to recommend techniques, resources, or many other things that could be valuable to this audience.
Also, please don’t spam. Nowadays it is very easy to spot a spammer. This will make people NOT want to engage with you.
Ideally, when you start engaging, the other users will also engage with you and at some point, they might even visit your profile (this is the goal). Once they do so, your profile should have clear brand positioning statements so that people can easily understand the value you offer. Also, your content should be relevant and valuable. If everything is in place, you should be converting the majority of these visitors into followers.
How can I be sure this works? Because you will usually find posts from our accounts, and our client's accounts, in the “Top 9” of most of the hashtags that we want to rank for. Once you are an authority on several key hashtags, you should see consistent and targeted growth.
That’s how we’ve grown a following of 50,000+ in less than 16 months