Internet Marketing Research
There are many different types of internet marketing research you can do to make sure your campaign is effective: research industry trends, research your competitors, and research the needs of your customers.
You can research industry trends by subscribing to industry and trade magazines, and maintaining a presence at trade and industry events. You can also get hold of government research and demographic and commerce statistics: useful Federal Government information can be obtained from the US Department of Commerce Service, which can be found online at www.stat-usa.gov. This site also includes economic and financial trade releases and trade and market research. You can find out US export and import data from wusatradeonline.gov.
A useful site for small businesses just starting out, and ones that are growing, is Business.gov (www.business.gov): the site is the official link to the US government, and provides businesses with lots of entrepreneurial, management and practical advice, plus information on business laws, employment data, trade and business statistics, country-wide data, and market research information.
Internet marketing research should also involve you looking regularly at the websites and marketing activities of your competitors to see what new products and services they are offering (subscribe to their newsletter, too, to find out what promotions and marketing tactics that are telling their customers about). Taking part in online industry newsgroups, discussions and forums is a good way to eavesdrop on the needs of your customers, and their thoughts on your competitors' services (and your own). If your services or products are attracting complaints, discussion forums are a good way in to learn more about these problems and publicly respond to them.
More valuable research can be gained from interviewing your existing customers; a voluntary online questionnaire - especially at registration stage - is a good way to find out about the needs, profiles and wants of your existing customers, and any gripes they may have about your service. To give your site visitors an incentive to fill in your questionnaire or survey, provide them with money off their next purchase or other tempters. Whatever your customers say about your products or services (either good or bad), be sure to address the issues raised, think about broadening or changing your product or service brochure and marketing strategy, and use the information to attract new business.