An introduction to best practices for using buyer web personas to create more customer-centric websites
Creating personas of website visitors is a powerful technique for helping increase the usability and customer-centricity of a website as part of a user-centered design (UCD) process. I've been a big fan of using personas since around 2003 I was introduced to it by Matt Dooley, a customer experience manager in the HSBC Global E-business team. At the time, they were following reports by Forrester on creating web personas.
This shows that they're certainly not new, indeed their equivalent of using customer thumbnails for customer segmentation or ad campaigns has existed for decades. However, I find they're still not so widely used when giving examples on training courses.
What is a web persona?
A simple definition of a web persona is: "a summary of the characteristics, needs, motivations, and environment of a key type of website user".
A more specific…
Our recommended free online tools for understanding your customers, competitors and campaign, and how you should use them - across 8 marketing analysis activities
I find that when running training courses, the tools I recommend to help marketers are always popular, especially free tools...
I originally created this list in 2012, but keep it updated as new tools are released and some tools become paid! If you're relooking at your marketing strategy/budget, why not consider implementing some of these tools?
There's a diverse mix of free tools available, one of the enjoyable aspects of working in digital marketing today. I’ll start with the most widely used. Please let us know about the “essential free tools” you use in the comments.
For the full comprehensive list - check out our free guide to digital marketing tools. We've structured it around the RACE Framework of reach, act, convert, and engage - covering…
Our recommendations of the best global online marketing consumer adoption and marketing benchmark statistics
Online marketers love statistics about digital marketing. We do too since they enable us to use a more data-driven approach to inform our future investments. They allow us to review the growth in customer adoption of the latest digital platforms and technologies, make the business case for investment in marketing and allow us to benchmark our growth and performance against competitors.
From reviewing thousands of stats sources over the years, I've found that there are a very small number of quality online marketing statistics sites and sources which are updated at least annually and have a representative sample size from different countries. Here we share our experience of ten of the best, most reliable free and paid sources we use to update our benchmarks. Everyone has their favourites, but I thought it would be…
Six steps to writing research questions that get the best results
Eureka! You’ve got an idea for a business, product, service, or new functionality, a solution to a problem, or a hypothesis about why something is happening. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that not all ideas and solutions are good, and not all hypotheses are right. It’s a shame, but there it is. Before investing significant time and money, you’ll want to get a better idea if you’re on the right track. This is where primary research comes in.
There is a lot to consider when conducting market research, far too many elements for one blog post. However, writing great research questions will go a long way to getting the answers you need to move forward. There are lots of market research methods but we’ll focus on writing great questions for an online survey, where the questions have to work their hardest.
Using different insights tools to build an understanding of the opportunities for an agency to create value for a client
In a previous article, I defined and explained the need for marketing agencies and consultants to develop a robust Discovery process when they start working with new clients or on new market pitches or projects.
In the second part of the article, I’ve broken them down the discovery process into nine distinct activities covering different insights sources, focusing on those needed for a digital or multichannel marketing project. Exactly who undertakes these will depend on your agency or team size, individual experience and skillsets. You will need to make a call on both the depth and breadth of discovery undertaken depending on the size of the opportunity/potential impact on the client business in the long run as mentioned in the…
How digital agencies and consultants can use Discovery on digital marketing projects to improve the value they deliver to their customers
Over the last few years, I have seen an increasing focus amongst agencies on improving their client discovery projects. In this article, I describe a process I recommend to run effective discovery. It can be applied both for onboarding new customers, but also applied for prospects when pitching.
The post is aimed at marketing and in particular digital marketing agencies and consultants, but client-side marketing teams looking to review their position in the market may also find it useful.
More details on the questions to ask during discovery are available in this client discovery process checklist template I have developed for Business members. You may also find the brand audit in the Smart Insights Agency Toolkit useful.
The term “Discovery” is not used…
Good market research ensures that your site is optimized for the best customer experience while also helping you make sales
With growing competition, SEO is not the same as it used to be. Nowadays, it is critical for a business to strategically think about its customers and identify what they want. Thereafter, it is essential to prepare content that completely aligns with the existing demands of the customers.
Why market research is essential for SEO?
SEO is all about optimizing your website to better meet the needs of your customers, with improved rankings coming from doing so. Market research helps you to understand the exact needs of your customers so you're able to address them. If you are able to identify what your customers want from you then you can target the best keywords and write relevant content that genuinely helps your prospects.
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A quick-fire guide to making the case for greater investment in market research
There’s so much you can learn from customer satisfaction surveys, exit-intent surveys, claims testing, ad testing, concept testing and by simply getting closer to your customers.
Market research is always changing but maybe isn’t talked about as an industry as much as other parts of marketing, such as SEO, paid media and even CRO.
There’s a whole new world of opportunity out there to get insights, quicker, faster, and cheaper than ever. Research should always be done to the highest quality, with standards respected – and I think, combined with its often-lengthy timescale, this scares people off. But it shouldn’t. You wouldn’t produce a blog post without typo checking it and you wouldn’t write an ad for Google Ads without making sure the message is relevant to the audience you’re targeting. Market research is no different.
It’s easier than you may…
With more businesses using Facebook Messenger for marketing, brands are also starting to take advantage of Messenger for surveys and research too
I'm always on the lookout for new ways of conducting research with users and customers and one study which caught my eye was how Liberal Democrats are using Facebook Messenger to run a survey. Liberal Democrats are a political party in the UK, we don't support any particular political party, this just personally caught my attention. They paid for sponsored ads, creating a specific "Lib Dems Listen" messenger account and then ran an automated survey.
There are great advantages to conducting surveys in this way, firstly like any survey, it's automated but it's also much more conversational and it helps to engage with users who may be tired of taking traditional surveys, thus response rate technically should be higher. Customers always…
Chart of the day: In the latest market research industry GRIT report, 6 in 10 are using online research communities, and over 8 in 10 have an interest in them. All hail the true superhero of market research.
6 in 10 (60%) are using online communities, with over 8 in 10 (82%) showing interest in them and over 2 in 10 (22%) also considering using them. Online research panels are a fast, affordable way of collecting insights from customers and audiences.
The GRIT report produced by Greenbook, is a leading market research industry report. The survey also found that mobile first surveys are increasing in popularity and the shocker, text analytics are pretty popular too!
It's great to see mobile first surveys are becoming a major source of data collection, with so many people using mobile phones and tablets, survey experience has in previous…