Market Research to Build Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

laptop that says content is king

A strategic inbound marketing strategy is a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. If executed correctly, you will never have to make another sales call again.

This type of marketing tactic is not only user friendly, but cost-efficient too. For example, studies found that inbound marketing leads cost a whopping 61% less than outbound leads.

The key to effective content marketing is knowing exactly who your customer is. What are their wants, needs, goals? How can your product, service, or brand be that solution for them? 

With these answers, you can create thought-provoking content so that when customers are ready to buy, you are first on their list (or…search query).

How can you find these answers? With market research, of course.

Keep reading to learn how to build a smart, strategic inbound marketing strategy by speaking to what customers really want – without you having to ask. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Before diving into the how, let’s discuss the what.  

At a very high level, there are two main marketing strategies that help increase the likelihood of a customer choosing your product, service, or brand. 

The two most common types of marketing include:

  1. Inbound Marketing: A strategy that focuses on using pull marketing tactics such as blog posts, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, white papers, infographics, etc. The goal of inbound marketing is to have a prospect find and contact a company through these techniques.
  2. Outbound Marketing: A strategy that involves a company initiating a conversation with potential customers first. Outbound marketing techniques include online and print advertising, sales calls, tradeshows, and spam emails.

💡 The Key Takeaway: While the world of marketing includes many different components, they are categorized as either inbound or outbound strategies.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing Over Outbound

It is important for every organization to utilize techniques from both outbound and inbound marketing strategies

However, inbound marketing is much less intrusive and focuses on the long game of building a strong customer base. 

One inbound marketing benefit is that customers are coming to you – you are not interrupting people as they scroll on Facebook or are watching a YouTube video. 

Therefore, high quality content attracts a ready to buy audience because they are actively searching for the products and services you offer.

For example, Drive Research offers market research options for manufacturers (alongside many other industries).

It would serve a greater benefit for our team to build website copy around the phrase “Manufacturing Market Research Company” to increase the chances of manufacturers finding our website and choosing our firm.

In many cases, this content strategy is more likely to result in a new client as opposed to running a Facebook ad targeted to manufacturing companies. 

This is because many of those who see the ad likely don’t think they need market research and continue to scroll. This results in a wasted marketing budget.

You may be thinking…”But I don’t have the time or resources to build out lead-generating content.” Cue market research.

💡 The Key Takeaway: It is always easier to make a sale when there is already an intent to purchase. Through inbound marketing, you can rest easy knowing that clients are coming to you as an interested buyer.

Market Research to Help Improve Inbound Marketing Content

The concept of market research sounds a lot more intimidating or even expensive than it really is. Many brands are left wondering, is content marketing research worth the cost

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 to be able to invest in unique customer research in order to build an effective content strategy.

Of course, it would be easy to increase sales or conversions if you knew exactly what your customer wants and how to create perfect marketing messaging to fulfill their desires.

Market research with a third-party can tell you what customers want, without you having to ask.

Depending on what your main objectives are and what areas of your inbound marketing strategy you’d like to grow, our market research company may recommend a different approach to build out this content.

Generally, content surveys can help defeat writers block and will be your best bet. This type of market research will supply you with quick feedback and data you need to easily create research-driven content. 

The idea of coming up with new content for your organization may be intimidating, but we swear it isn’t. This is why content surveys are conducted--to get you the data you need, saving you time, stress, and writer’s block. 

Aside from being a massive help to your company blog, which we’ll discuss in the next section, content surveys give you fodder for other helpful feedback generators. 

Here are a few examples of additional uses for gathered content: 

  1. Press releases
  2. Sales material 
  3. Infographics
  4. Competitor compare cards

Additionally, short and sweet online surveys are generally a fast option. While some can take around 1 to 3 weeks to complete, others can be as short as 48 hours. Data is easily measured from online surveys, making them a wealth of information for content. 

For more examples of research-based content watch this short video.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Content market research is easily accessible and won’t break the bank. One survey can equate to a series of blog posts and other inbound marketing deliverables.

Use Survey Results for Content Marketing

The best part about working with a content marketing company, like Drive Research, is that much of the heavy lifting is done for you.

Our team follows a very hands-on approach where we create the content survey, find qualified respondents to take the survey, and analyze the results.

After fieldwork and analysis are complete on your content survey, our team will start drafting a market research report.

A report from our content survey company typically includes an executive summary of key findings, recommendations for how to use the results in content, and a breakdown of question-by-question results.

In short, much of the content is already written for you.

All it takes on your end is to edit and repurpose the report into as many different inbound marketing efforts you can think of.

The following tasks are simple ways to repurpose your report:

  • Revise your web content to be more SEO friendly
  • Create a new blog post speaking to each survey question (ie. 20 survey questions = 20 blog posts)
  • Design social media graphics with key findings from the study
  • Write a white paper where people must fill out their contact information to download it

The list can go on and on, so make sure that you’re using these techniques to boost your brand.

For example, a HubSpot study revealed that organizations that regularly post blogs on their site can enjoy leads by 126%! 

If your team needs additional help writing website content, blogs, white papers, infographics, or social content post-research, Drive Research can assist with that too.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Third-party market research teams do the hard part when it comes to your inbound marketing strategy. All you have to do is minor editing, like promoting SEO content, designing social media graphics, and other similar tasks. It’s up to how to repurpose the report. 

Process of Conducting Market Research for Content

The best way to answer this question is by using a real-world example of a recent market research project conducted by Drive Research.

In 2021, our team of senior market research professionals was hired to conduct a series of content marketing surveys for a marketing firm.

The first survey focused on the impact of a specific task and how it relates to stress and productivity. 

Step 1. Kickoff meeting

To kick off the project, the teams met and discuss several potential topics for the surveys.

After this, the team confirmed the topic and created a list of questions they were most interested in.

Step 2. Write the survey

The Drive Research team used best practice techniques to fine-tune the survey questions to meet the clients’ needs. 

Below is an example of the questions covered in the content marketing survey.

The following topics were formed into questions to fit the clients’ needs.

  1. Hours spent completing a task
  2. Time spent prepping for the task
  3. Hours worked each week
  4. Impact of task on productivity 
  5. Rate level of stress over the past month
  6. Presence of health conditions
  7. Age
  8. Urbanicity 

Step 3. Program the survey

After the survey document was approved by both the client and the Drive Research team, it was ready for programming.

In other words, survey questions were recreated from a word document to an online survey platform.

Step 4. Launch the survey

Once the programmed content survey passes our internal quality checks, it is ready for fieldwork.

As soon as the survey is live and respondents start answering questions, our clients have access to up to the second results with our live client dashboard.

See an example of a client dashboard here.

As for this particular study, fieldwork for the survey began on February 2 and lasted until February 3, 2021.

Details of the content survey

  • The survey took an average of 1 minute to complete and included 8 questions.
  • The survey received 400 responses.
  • Fieldwork was conducted with adult residents of the United States.
  • Quotas were created to ensure the mix of respondents was Census representative. 

Margin of error 

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 400 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 5% margin of error.

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 400 respondents, the results would yield within +5% or -5% of the stated totals in the reports. 

Step 5. Report on the results

After fieldwork for the content survey is complete, our market research firm begins reporting on the results.

All of our reports include recommendations to assist clients on how they can effectively repurpose the findings.

Deliverables of the content survey

The deliverables requested from this client included an email summary of key insights with a paragraph on the methodology of the study.

The key findings included 16 headline-driven statements broken down by topics like stress, employment status, urbanicity, generation, and health conditions.

The client also received seven online report links. The first featured the question-by-question results.

The following six report links were crosstabulations that broke the data down by stress level, employment status, urbanicity, generation, and health conditions.

Recommended Reading: Want to Increase the ROI of Your Research? Publish it as Content. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: This in-depth example of surveying at work displays the common factors that should be included. Composing a user-friendly survey, complete with unique questions, thorough fieldwork, and an accurate report make for success.

Real-World Example of Content Marketing Research

A common use of content surveys is when an organization is looking to position themselves as a thought leader among their target audience.

For example, a marketing agency would like to grow its client base with banks and credit unions. The content survey would be targeted to decision-makers of a financial institution.

The survey may ask respondents:

  1. What is the biggest challenge you face when marketing your financial products and services?
  2. What do you see as the biggest benefit of marketing?
  3. What marketing activities are becoming most important?
  4. Do you have a dedicated marketing budget?

With this information, a marketing agency can build out content (website copy, blogs, white papers, infographics, etc.) that speaks to:

  1. How a marketing agency can help financial institutions overcome challenges when marketing their services
  2. How they deliver the marketing services seen as the most important by financial institutions
  3. How to effectively use their marketing budget with an expert third-party

There are many examples of how marketers can leverage a market research survey to create lead-generating content.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Content surveys can help companies rank higher in their field through thoughtful questioning. Market research promotes client goals by crafting quality content for brand promotion.

Conduct a Content Survey with Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company that specializes in research-based content and research-driven content insights. We work closely with organizations that are looking to use market research to drive content strategies.

Questions about how we can help? Want to talk about a project? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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