Market research is step-one to identifying your target market and is a vital aspect of your marketing efforts. Your target market is the users who are searching for what you have to sell; your services or products. There are many tools available to help you with this task. Here we will examine some of the most popular and the basics of how you can use them to identify your target market.
Keep in mind that this article covers only the foundational aspects of what each tool we cover can do for you. Each tool has its own how-to-use database that covers every item in-depth. For specific guidance, you should refer to these. But this article will give you an overview of how each tool can provide the help you need.

In-depth Keyword and Competitor Research using SEMrush

Keyword Research

Successful writing for digital marketing is not about inspiration alone. It includes a strategy of including keywords and phrases that your target audience will search for on the Internet. Keyword research, then, is vital; you must know what your target audience is searching for, so you can optimize your content with these search terms.
In the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, simply type in a search word or phrase about which you need to know. All the resulting keywords will be sorted into groups by search topic (see the menu on the left-hand side of the Keyword Magic Tool). You want to use the keywords with the highest volume in your title, those with average volume in your headings, and those with lesser volume in your body text.
As you skim through your list, click the plus next to the keywords you like the most to send them to Keyword Analyzer – a kind of a keyword repository where you will be able to study your keywords in greater detail. In Keyword Analyzer, click on ‘Update metrics’ to refresh the keyword data. Evaluate your selected keywords in terms of volume, keyword difficulty, click potential, and top competitors.

Competitor Research

It is always good to use competitive analysis for social media to compare your social media strategies with your competition. Just set up a Project in SEMrush and select ‘Social Media’ on the ‘Projects’ dashboard. The tool will automatically suggest your own social media accounts to track, so make sure they are all correct. Then, enter your competitors’ domains and make sure their suggested social accounts are correct, too.
Check out the ‘Overview’ report to get a general idea about the company’s audience size, activity, and engagement for the selected period of time. You can switch between the company domains to analyze your competitors as well. To discover which posts worked best in a particular social network, refer to the ‘Top Content’ report. To get more details about these posts, choose the social network you wish to analyze and click on ‘View all posts.’
Now you can see a list of the most engaging posts for either all profiles or a selected profile. When you select a particular profile, you can find out more information about which content strategies worked for each competitor. Pay attention to your competitors’ special offers to see which deals performed best. Look at the words used and the images. What worked and what didn’t? Based on this information, you might want to change something in your own sales strategy.

Use Google to Identify Your Top Organic Search and Paid Competitors

Google is a versatile tool to use for search and research. Use its free search and suggestions components to discover what companies are ranking high for keywords relevant to your industry. Simply search for these keywords and list those that make the first page. These are the top ranking companies and websites for your searched keyword.
Also, pay attention to the paid results at the top of the page, indicated with a small ad logo at the left. These are your top paid competitors for the searched keyword or phrase. Sometimes the paid and organic competitors will be the same. Nevertheless, these are the main companies competing with you for your chosen target audience using that particular keyword.
Make a spreadsheet listing all your relevant keywords and the paid and organic competitors using them. Also, use the suggested search feature at the bottom of the Google search results page for suggested keywords and phrases that your competitors may not be using. These are typically great long-tail keyword phrases that show up high in searches using a simpler keyword you may have used in your search.
These are important because you may be able to rank higher with these keyword phrases if they are not being used by competing companies.

Quantcast, Alexa, and SimilarWeb

These newer tools all offer paid subscriptions to do basically the same job: analyze competitor sites, traffic, and keyword use to give you insight into what they are doing. You can uncover low competition keywords, see the keywords your competition are using with success, discover opportunities for inbound links, analyze and fix SEO issues, and more.

  • Quantcast– Provides audience insights, targeting, and measurement solutions designed to understand, influence, convert, and measure the consumer journey.
  • Alexa– Provides web analytics for SEO, competitive analysis, and marketing solutions.
  • SimilarWeb- Gives you global multi-device market intelligence to understand, track, and grow your digital market share.


Amazon Research

A not-so-technical method of analyzing what your target market is interested in is to spend some time on Amazon. Look for best-selling books and products on Amazon that relate to your industry niche to get ideas about what people are already purchasing. If these items are already top sellers, you know your target audience is interested.
For smaller businesses just starting out, this may be a good beginning to get at least a rudimentary picture of what is popular among your target audience. Later on, you may consider investing in some of the paid service tools as your profitability and budget allows.
What are your favorite market research tools? Do you have any advice or tips on using them with greater efficiency? Why not share your wisdom with our readers in the comments below?

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”