3 Weird (But Effective) Ways To Do Customer Research in 2021

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People in marketing argue. A lot.

While the blue corner claims “email marketing is dead”, the red corners shouts “email gets the best results.” 

(I’m in the red corner, by the way).

But if there’s one thing all marketers agree on it’s this:

The better you understand your target customers, the more money you’ll make.

And the best way to understand your target customer is to do customer research.

Here are three weird ways to do customer & market research that will give you a better understanding of your target customer.

Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeee.

Reddit

Customer research and Reddit are a match made in heaven. This is an image of the Reddit dashboard.

Reddit – an absolute gold mine.

You may have heard about Reddit when users plotted (and succeeded) in disrupting the New York stock exchange.

And when they spent their entire annual advertising budget on a 5-second Superbowl advert.

Reddit's Super Bowl ad.

Waste of money? Or absolutely genius?

Whether you’ve used Reddit before, or not, you’ll soon realise it’s a treasure-trove of customer and market research.

There’s conversations about EVERYTHING going on right now in Reddit, which means your target customer is hanging out in there somewhere.

And finding them is easier than you think.

All you have to do is use Reddit’s search bar to find any mention of your industry/keyword. Then filter the posts by most popular and read the conversations happening there.

It’s a great way to find out what problems people are having, what objections people have about your industry, and the words they’re using to describe them.

I quite often pluck phrases straight from Reddit conversations and use them in my client’s copy.

Forums

Similarly to Reddit, industry-specific forums are a great source of information when researching your market and target customers.

When it came to writing copy for Lambert Property Group, I took to a landlord forum to find out what problems they were having with property management companies.

Eventually, I found this forum:

Landlord Zone's forum dashboard.

LandlordZONE forum: the perfect place for me to find out what landlords hated about property groups, so then I could tackle their objections in my copy.

Which I used in this web copy:

A screenshot from Lambert Property Group.

The copy I wrote for Lambert Property Group, informed by common objections in the landlord forum.

And since Lambert Property Group was a new company at the time, writing an FAQ section of the company website couldn’t been difficult (since nobody had asked any questions yet).

Using the forum, I was able to pinpoint the questions landlords needed an answer to before they would commit to a management company. I wrote the FAQ questions using the exact same questions they asked, and answered them in a way I knew would make them happy:

A snippet from the Lambert Property Group FAQ section.

The FAQ section for Lambert Property Group

Social Media

People don’t hold back on social media.

It can be absolutely ruthless at the best of times.

But that makes it perfect for finding out what problems people are having with your competitors.

Take Twitter, for example. Every time a large business sends out a Tweet, chances are someone will reply to it complaining about the service they’ve received:

A Tweet from Sky bragging about their remotes. Someone complains they're too slippy.

Sky were an easy target. I hate you, Sky.

This makes it a great place to identify objections and pain points.

Obviously, you’ll want to limit your research to companies offering something very similar to you.

Once you’ve got a list of common complaints (and the words and phrases being used to describe them), you can tackle those objections head-on in your copy and overcome them.

Doing Customer Research Properly

Are these three ways of doing customer and market research a bit weird? I think so.

Are they the absolute best methods? As useful as they are, probably not.

Why? When it comes to customer and market research, there’s no substitute for speaking to existing customers.

Some copywriters say a video call is the best way to do this, but I disagree. In my view, when someone’s talking to you in real time, they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear.

The best way to do customer research is to create a quick anonymous feedback quiz on Typeform, Response Suite or a similar platform.

All you need to do is ask five key questions:

  1. Describe what [YOUR BUSINESS] does in a few words
  2. What made you pick [YOUR BUSINESS]?
  3. Had you tried anything else before?
  4. What problems were you having before finding [YOUR BUSINESS]
  5. And how are things different now?

The answers to these questions are the crème de la crème of customer and market research.

Give it a try

All of the methods above will give you a great insight into your customer’s problems, questions and lives. That will mean you can not only write compelling copy, but have a list of blog topic ideas to kickstart your content creation, too.

So give them all a try the next time you’re working on your copy and see what gold you find.

Or if you like the sound of it but have no time, I’ll do it for you.

Email alex@actcopywriting.co.uk and tell me a bit about your project now.

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