The Internet has opened the door and reset the bar for market research. Sometimes still (erroneously) classified as a new marketing medium, the Internet is growing at the astonishing rate of 60,000 new web sites per day! Virtually all markets and languages show continuous activity and growth. Gathered within this environment of high speeds, low costs, and near perfect anonymity, Internet market research is proving to be increasingly viable and insightful when conducted independently, or as a valuable complement when integrated with more traditional marketing research methodologies.
Roughly 450 million online searches occur each day (JupiterResearch, 2005). Search engines like Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, Ask Jeeves, and the ubiquitous Google capture and record the exact phrases that searchers are using to find a specific product or service. Search engine users, typing unprompted words and phrases into empty search engine fields, are impartial and uninfluenced when conducting their searches.
Consequently, the information gathered and leveraged from this medium is invaluable from a marketing research perspective. Imagine gathering impartial information from literally millions of people – each day – and basing your marketing campaigns on this data. In most cases, it is used for search engine optimization (SEO), to enhance the effectiveness of a web site for certain keywords and phrases highly searched for online. However, as the power of this marketing research is increasingly being discovered and recognized, it is also being used to power a wide range of offline activities.
Well, considering that online research drives 70 percent or more of offline purchases (iMedia, 2004), it's undeniable that having a highly visible and functional web presence is vital. An optimized web site ensures that it is ranked high in the search engines for particular search phrases.
Ranking highly in search results is extremely effective in ensuring that potential customers will find you at the most opportune time within the buying cycle – when they are ready to learn, compare, and of course, buy! This is critical to any organization with an online presence.
How else can better research and SEO help your business? It can increase lead generation, reduce operational costs, increase customer loyalty, improve partner or channel development, and offer extensive market analysis.
Let's take a look at offline marketing activities as well. Not only can online research be used for web site development, but it can also be a great benefit for many areas used within integrated marketing communication (IMC) elements such as advertising, PR, interactive communication activities, and numerous other business functions. Here are just a few examples:
The ultimate goal is to make the research work for you. While Internet market research is an integral step in improving your visibility online, its quality and flexibility of use allow it to be effortlessly applied to all aspects of marketing activities. Consider how doing better internet marketing research could work for you.
This article has been provided by Top Draw Inc. Author Ken Jurina is President of Top Draw Inc., Canada's premiere search engine optimization company based in Edmonton, Alberta. For more information, please visit www.topdraw.com.