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A Brief Guide to Market Research

Launching an affiliate marketing campaign without doing market research is like trying to hit a bullseye blindfolded. It’s technically possible, but it would be a lot easier if you could see the target. In this article, we’re going to show you how to open your eyes to your audience to give you the best chance of hitting the mark.

If you want to know the answer to a question, what would you do? Go to your local library? Ask a friend? Or Google it?

99.9% of us would just whip out our phones and type our question into Google. Why? Because all of the knowledge we need is right at our fingertips. So, when you ask the question, ‘who will buy my product?’ why not do the same?

OK, admittedly, doing market research isn’t quite as easy as typing one question into Google, but it’s really not much harder, at least once you have all of the tools at your disposal and know what to look for.

Market Researcher’s Toolkit

Here are the things you’ll need to start doing effective market research:

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SpyTools: e.g. MagicAdz , Adspy, or Adplexity. These will help you see what’s working for the competition.

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Facebook Insights: You can access Facebook Insights through your Ads Manager. It will help you to find what related interests your target audience has.

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Reddit: Get answers to questions from real people about real products.

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Review Sites: Find out exactly why people love/hate products.

The Aim of Market Research

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In a nutshell, the aim of market research is to learn what people want so that you can sell to them more accurately. For example, if people want an oven for baking pizza, don’t try to advertise that yours roasts chicken to perfection.

Once you know who people are and what they want, you can start selling it to them. This will have a big impact on your overall campaign and change everything including the colours you choose, the copy you write and the audiences you target. Without market research, you can only ever guess at these and guessing won’t deliver results, unless you are really, really lucky.

Another aim of market research is to discover what works and what doesn’t. You can do this by researching other people’s campaigns and looking at how they worked and why. However, don’t assume that copying some else’s ads will work for you.

Copying other people’s ads may make you a little profit, but remember, you want the main course and not the leftovers. If you are copying a successful campaign, then the chances are others too. This means that you end up maximizing the competition and minimizing your gains. Instead, you should look at how and why they worked and try to emulate them for your audience.

Getting Started

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The first thing you’ll want to do, even before you start trying to research your target audience, is to learn more about your product.

Make a list of all of the features of your product. For example, if you are selling lipstick make a list of:

- Colours

- Ingredients

- Design features e.g. compact, lightweight, waterproof etc.

Once you’ve got these, think about the benefits that these features will have for the customer.

- Colours: Something for every occasion. Matches different outfits etc.

- Ingredients: Natural, good for sensitive skin, not tested on animals etc.

- Design Features: Won’t leave embarrassing marks, smudge and it fits discreetly in your purse.

You can see how we already have a lot of different angles for different people. Now, that we have these, we know more about our product and more about the ways our lipstick could be sold.

The next step is to look at what people are saying about lipstick.

We can do a quick Google test first to give us some ideas about the kind of things to look out for.

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Ok, so, you won’t always get good results from Google. However, if we tweak our search slightly and put a ‘question’ word in front of ‘lipstick’ we should see better results.

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Now we have a few more targeted questions and we know that ‘liquid’ and ‘matte’ lipsticks exist.

Let’s check out the last option, ‘which are the best lipstick brands’, so that we can get an idea of who our competitors are.

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Now, we have a list of lots of different lipstick manufacturers. The next thing you can do is search the reviews of these companies and see why people like/dislike their products.

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A quick scroll down the results and we come to:

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Not only does this give us a great description of the product, with lots of new ideas of how to sell our lipstick, but it also comes with a list of relevant keywords and phrases.

Notice how Revlon are marketing based on the hydrating quality of their lipstick, with adjectives like lustrous, high-impact, moisturizing, smooth and micro-fine. All of these things work together to build the image of a quality product in the customers’ minds and makes them think that they are getting real value for money.

All of these things are worth noting down and seeing just how many you can apply to your product.

The next step though is to see what the customers have to say.

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At a glance, it looks like they are pretty happy. But to know for sure, it’s important to read the reviews. Make sure you read positive, negative and everything in between.

To get a really good idea of the product, look at at least 50 reviews. The more the better as you should start to see trends in what customers think. These trends are key to understanding customer opinion and finding out where you should aim your angle.

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These were literally the first 3 results and already there is a trend. Can you spot it?

Here’s a clue:

- “Unfortunately, the vampy look doesn’t look good on me”

- “I usually go for more lighter natural colours but wanted to try something bold.”

- “I always need something that will make me feel pretty without overdoing it in the daytime.”

All of these women prefer more neutral colours which won’t make such a bold statement. That’s definitely something worth noting.

If you were selling a mixture of colours, then you could try different angles for each one. You could target people who want more neutral colours with promises of natural elegance, while bold colours could be for those who want to make a statement and stand out in the crowd.

Now let’s take a look at the negative reviews:

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From just this small sample, already we can see more trends creeping in. Once again, we have issues with the colour, in this case, that it’s way too dark. However, there’s also another issue all three people have here.

- “it applies really patchy on the lips.”

- “I love the colour, but it applies very unevenly.”

- “This was a terrible colour on me it was so patchy.”

Here, the key problem is that it is difficult to apply evenly on the lips and ends up looking ‘patchy’. This might be quite difficult to spin into a benefit and if it’s something which comes up time and time again, then you might want to try to find a similar product/offer which doesn’t have the same problems.

That being said, it’s not impossible to turn the product’s ‘patchiness’ into a benefit. In this case, you could risk the fact that those using it probably aren’t experts and therefore sell it as an ‘advanced make up product for expert stylists’. If you then get people buying it who are not professionals, they’ll be far less likely to complain that it’s patchy and far more likely to question their own skills when applying it.

In marketing, describing products as expert or professional makes them symbols of aspiration. For example, your average Joe might aspire to be a fighter pilot, but if you took the engine out of a plane and stuck him in the cockpit and told him to start it up, he’d be inwardly blaming himself for it not working rather than the integrity of the aircraft.

Why? Because he’s not an expert and the machine he is in is beyond his comprehension. Similarly, most people have no idea what goes into making lipstick and what really separates professional products from ordinary ones. This gap in knowledge allows the imagination to run wild and people will usually avoid showing their ignorance once they make the leap into the unknown.

Conclusion

You can repeat the marketing methods above with lots of other products and brands. This will help you to understand the market much better and will help you to think about your product differently. You’ll also get an idea of what your competitors are doing and be able to stay one step ahead of the game.

Finished reading?
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