In this article, Moritz Lang, Senior Digital Specialist at Bluebird Media, guides you through the importance of user research.
Not doing user research is like driving a car without knowing where you’re going.
You’re missing out on crucial information and insights that would help make your product better as well as selling it better by speaking the language of your customers.
User research takes many shapes and forms:
Data analytics (e.g. from your website)
Industry reports and market insights
Some take more effort (e.g. focus groups), and some are easier (e.g. data analytics). If you’re not doing any user research today, start with the low-effort alternatives. However, the most powerful user research is getting to know your (potential) customers through surveys and interviews.
Here are 3 application areas for your user research insights:
1. Focus on the right people
In order to grow as fast and profitably as possible, you need to find and focus on the right type of person, the ones that gonna be dedicated fans of your brand and products and bring you more value than you invest in acquiring them as customers. Through user research you can shed light on:
Who are your best customers? (think age, gender, location, characteristics)
What differentiates them from other customers?
What’s motivating them to buy you and not another brand/solution?
Where do they hang out offline and online?
What do they value and care about?
These insights are important for almost any function in your company, all the way from product development to website copy and marketing channels. Aligning your whole company to that persona is critical for achieving long-term success.
2. Use the right language in your communication
The language you use can make a huge difference and make or break your marketing success - both on your website as well as in your marketing. Why? You need to get people to care about your solution and understand its full value to them. And to achieve that you need to capture their attention immediately and speak your customers' language.
User research helps you identify which USPs to lift on your website or landing page as well as how to frame them. In the same way, user insights should impact the creatives in your ads, and what you show and communicate. Especially the “hook” in an ad - what will make people stop in their scrolling and make them care enough about your solution to take action (now or later)? Knowing your audience (plus experimentation) and improving this, will give great value.
For example, a skincare brand could address its target audience with a) scientific arguments about the product’s effectiveness or b) a catchy slogan about “skin like Barbie”.
3. Differentiate yourself
Your brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Consumers have several options to solve their problem, be it direct competitors offering the same thing as you or indirect competitors offering an alternative way to get customers where they want (and the customer's option to do nothing at all).
By doing user research you find out which other solutions consumers consider (= who are you actually competing with) - and how you can differentiate yourself to find a unique position and perception.
With that said, conducting user research doesn’t need to be extremely complicated or time-consuming. A quick post-purchase survey can give you a lot of insights about your newly gained customers. Supplement that with conducting interviews with customers regularly (just throw in an extra discount and ask nicely). And of course, staying on top of your analytics account and analyzing website behavior, acquisition channels, conversion paths, and preferred products.
In conclusion, user research helps you to…
- Focus on the right people for your brand
- Communicate in a language the customer knows and attracts to
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors