Tracking Your Results and Improving

December 15, 2012 in , ,

Wouldn’t it be nice if the business world was mom’s refrigerator? No matter what work you produced or products you offered, it would be prized, treasured, and displayed proudly for the world to see on the fridge. Everything is great! The best yet! Do you want a cookie? It’s your favorite!

Sadly enough, the world does not operate this way. Or maybe it’s a good thing or else we would all be living in a world of mediocrity. But isn’t it kind of unfortunate, though? As a business-owner, it is important to keep this in mind. True and honest evaluation through gathering and analyzing credible statistics, asking outside resources (not your sweet mother), conducting market research, and seeking valuable feedback can completely transform your business in a variety of capacities.

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Doing so will help you to…

  • …better identify and understand your customer: The surveys can point to trends and interests in your customers and help you to tailor your marketing, products, or service to them and their needs. Perhaps your site visitors always visit at a particular time? Perhaps they are primarily from the Pacific Islands? Maybe they are interested in a certain product of yours or learning about some sort of tip or trick?
  • …conserve effort: What if you are working too hard in a certain area and not hard enough in another? If you don’t ever do market research, you will never know where you can conserve your efforts and relax. Maybe your survey suggests that your customers respond terrible to your constant Tweets about weekly product reviews but positively love your YouTube videos? Now you will be able to focus your attention more on efforts that are effective and worthwhile.
  • …discover business opportunities: Your research will possibly show you the holes and gaps in the markets and help you to find new opportunities and prospects. Your research might point you to a new idea or innovation—perhaps your customers are desperately craving a new product of some sort? Or a cheaper service?
  • …set new goals: After conducting and interpreting your research, you will be able to essentially start anew. You will have the chance to brainstorm new ideas and steps to success, determine where you want to go and what you want to do with the new knowledge, and set entirely new goals. How exciting and invigorating is that concept?

So, how exactly do we do this? How does one go about tracking their results? Here’s some ways to do some market research without breaking the bank…

  • …conduct surveys: If you have questions to ask (Is my site clear and concise; Is our customer service satisfactory?; Are our services top-quality?), ask them! Create a concrete and clear survey and email it out to your email-list or encourage site visitors to take it.
  • …pay attention to stats: Your Facebook page and online site give you statistics that are meaningful…for free. How sweet is that? Pay attention to these stats—they mean something and can lead you to answers to questions and help your online business flourish. Pay attention to who is visiting your site, what is driving traffic, what time of day people are visiting, and what exactly they are clicking on (links, advertisements, etc.). These aren’t just useless numbers; they are keys to unlocking relationships and understanding your customers.
  • …create a focus group: Grab some donuts and sodas, gather a group of potential or actual customers, and conduct a focus group. Perhaps it won’t be that easy, but focus groups and people are always available to hire for your company. Have the group review products or experiment with your site and determine its functionality and user-friendliness. Determine what you want to know and how your focus group will be able to help you accomplish this before starting.
  • …ask your brutally honest sister-in-law: Sometimes all you need is someone who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings. Ask a relatively disconnected third-party (again, not your mom) questions about your site and services—do they think it makes sense? Do they find it user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing?

The next step is to listen. Sometimes this can be the trickiest part! There are skyscrapers full of market researchers employed by companies who, after it’s all up and gone, don’t listen. Value the feedback that you receive and make the changes that people are suggesting. Change can lead to improvement and growth…which are beautiful, beautiful things!

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