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How To Do Customer Research for Your Small Business

by | Digital Marketing, Sales Process

The Small Business Administration lists market research and competitive analysis as the first step to planning your business, even before creating a business plan.

That’s because your customers are the backbone of your business – no customers means no business

“Market research helps you find customers for your business. Competitive analysis helps you make your business unique. Combine them to find a competitive advantage for your small business.” —SBA

Knowing how to do customer research is an essential task to your business success and longevity.

The better you know your ideal customer, the better you can offer the content, services, and products they really want. A great way to research your audience is to check out who they follow online.

You can learn quite a bit about your ideal customer pretty easily this way.


Let’s go over how to do customer research for your small business.


What do Your Customers Like?

If you know the blogs, influencers, and YouTube channels your audience follows, you can learn a lot about what they like. You can discover their interests and hobbies by seeing whose content they consume when they are online.

What Problems You Can Solve

The most important thing you can discover with a little customer research is the problems your audience wants to be solved. The most effective marketing addresses a customer’s problems and gives them possible solutions.

Your customers follow who they follow because they offer the solutions they are looking for. This is an incredibly valuable insight that isn’t that difficult for you to uncover.

What is Your Ideal Customer’s Buying Behavior

You may be able to discover even more about your ideal customer’s buying behaviors by peeking at the people they follow online. They may follow the businesses they buy from. They may follow some content creators that create, promote, or even write reviews of the products they’re interested in.

Figuring Out Your Competition

Knowing who your target market follows also will give you insight into your competition. If you can better understand who is popular in your industry, then you can figure out how to set yourself apart.

And through this, you can really discover your unique strengths. Even better, you can find a way to fill that gap in your market that no one else is touching.

Find out Who Your Customers Follow

The best way for you to find out who your customers follow is by heading to social media. A quick look at any of your customer’s profiles will show you what other businesses they follow. You can also follow some of your customers and see what they post about.

Another great way to find out more about who your customers follow is to ask them directly. You can do this is by conducting a simple online survey.

Another way is to hold a focus group online where you discuss who people follow and what products they tend to buy. If you’d rather keep it simple, you can just use interactions with your customers to casually ask them about who they follow.

Once You Know, What Do You Do?

The information you get from learning who your customers follow is an important part of building your ideal customer profile.

This will help you identify your customer’s preferences, wants, and needs. But you can even take things a step further by using this information to conduct research on your competition.

You can create a list of businesses and people that your audience follows and follow them yourself. You can check out what they’re doing, and in turn, you’ll get ideas and inspiration for things you can do.

To go even one step even further, you can find influencers among these businesses to reach out and ask to collaborate with. There are so many benefits to doing this, but one is that it will grow your credibility and expertise in the eyes of your audience.

Knowing who your audience follows offers a variety of powerful benefits, and it’s very easy to do with customer research on social media.

Do you want to learn more about how to research your customer, competition, and create your ideal customer avatar? Be sure to sign up for my weekly email with actionable ways you can market your business smarter without wasting time or money!

Here’s to working SMART.

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

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I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

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Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


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