Research isn't something you do once when you start your business or a marketing campaign, you must be willing to constantly be researching three things.
Marketing is a systematic procedure, a process that can be built and repeated for great results. The best way to get the most from this process is with data. You must know exactly who your target audience is, what they're looking for, and where they're looking, in order to put yourself in the best position to achieve your marketing goals.
There are three forms of research you need to conduct regularly to ensure you're on top of your game.
1. Keyword Research. Using the Google Keyword Tool for keyword research is crucial if you want a content marketing plan that boosts your SEO. You can use initial keyword research to define your content calendar, boost your website copy, and even begin a great PPC campaign. Doing keyword research regularly will boost your understanding of the search landscape.
Regularly checking up on keywords also allows you to make subtle adjustments to your marketing strategy as the year goes on. You may be able to notice a quick spike in search traffic before your competitors, meaning you'll be able to jump on it and stake your claim before competition rises.
You will also want to keep an eye on your rankings in your desired keywords. There are hundreds of factors to your keyword rankings, and they can occasionally fluctuate. You'll want to keep an eye on your rankings just to make sure they don't drop rapidly. If they do, there might be an issue you need to investigate.
2. Competitive Research. While competitive research is an important early task in your marketing plan, you'll also want to keep an eye out for any changes.
Don't let your competitors start a new tactic without you knowing. Their strategy won't be as strong as yours, of course, but watch what they're doing with an eye toward analyzing effectiveness. If your competitors are doing something successful, maybe you should consider following in their footsteps. If they are wasting their time and money, learn the lesson and steer clear.
I recommend using a competitive research tool like RivalIQ for this, but if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, be sure to follow/like your competitors' social media pages, and get on all of their emailing lists.
3. Net Promoter Score. Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the percentage of your customers that promote your business. Think of it as a form of customer satisfaction survey.
The happier your customers, the more likely you are to earn referrals, repeat business, and positive reviews. You can discover your NPS by sending regular customer satisfaction surveys using a tool such as Delighted or Grade.us. You'll want to regularly follow up on these, just in case there's an unhappy customer, because you will want to immediately address their concerns.
Research is not a do-it-once-and-forget-it task. It's up to you to keep researching in order to stay on top of your game.
This article originally appeared on Inc.