Using Your Blog for Market Research

Ana CariniWe all know that blogging is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers and future prospects. But what if you could go a step further and actually use it as a tool to do your own market research? Here’s how:

  1. Send your prospects a brief email. Introduce yourself. Tell them you would like to feature their business on your blog. Are they willing?
  2. The answer will probably be, yes! If so, tell them how much you love their work (product or service) and ask them to send a few photographs or materials along with a brief description of the business.
  3. Create and post the blog feature. Share it with the world!
  4. As soon as the feature goes live, send them a ‘thank you’ email including the blog link.
  5. When you hear back from them, simply reply with a message similar to mine (below) which you will have to tailor to fit your own target market:

Dear X,

Please keep us updated on any future events/sales/promotions, as we would love to mention your shop on our blog.

Also, I am currently conducting research with local boutiques and retailers; I’d love if you could briefly answer the questions below when you have a chance.

  1. What method of advertising do you currently use for your shop?
  2. If you had to choose one: print or online advertisements?
  3. How do you keep in touch with your prospects/customers?
  4. Have you sent out any e-mail newsletters to prospects/customers in the past few months? If not, would you consider having one?
  5. How often do you produce your catalogs and/or look books?
  6. Do you work with in-house or freelance graphic designers? If so, how often do you need design services?

This simple method has proven extremely positive for me in building new relationships and has helped me understand client preferences for graphic design, advertising, and other forms of communication.

Here’s an example of one prospect I featured on my blog and here’s how they responded to my questions:

  1. Currently I have a publicist.  For web I have FB, Twitter, Yelp, and Google.  I’ll be working on Youtube next.
  2. Until I have a webstore, I prefer Los Angeles based prints.
  3. I send out an email blast once a month with events I invite them to the shop.
  4. Yes, one or two a month.
  5. I don’t have a catalog or look book.  Working on the webstore.
  6. Yes, I consult with the designer at least twice a month.

Have you ever done anything like this? Any other market research techniques that are working for you?

Listen to BTW:[audio:]

Read more about how Ana set the foundation for her marketing to the fashion/beauty market.