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12 Market Research Tools Worth Trying

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

These tools can help you discover how best to reach your customers.

Creating a quality product is only half of the puzzle entrepreneurs need to solve in order to be successful. The other half involves finding the best ways to reach your customers and market. 

To do this, you need to better understand who your target audience is and what that audience is interested in. This means that no matter how amazing your product or service may be, research is crucial for success. With the right marketing research, you can discover any gaps your company may have in its SEO, as well as whether you're reaching out to the right set of potential buyers. 

So which tools or systems should you consider when doing your marketing research online? To find out, we asked members of YEC to share their preference, as well as discuss why those systems work so well. Here's what they said:

1. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a great tool to find out what keywords your competition is ranking for and which ones are bringing them the most traffic. You can also dive into which are their most popular articles as well as the sites that are giving them the most backlinks. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. CrazyEgg

CrazyEgg is one of the best tools for finding out how your customers are actually using your website. They create heat maps so you can see where people are clicking and even have the option to record your visitors. We found that a lot of people were coming from mobile, for example, so we started thinking of ways to better convert that traffic to email subscribers by adding calls to action. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

3. Wetstat

Westat is a pretty solid choice in the world of market research. It specializes in employment, behavioral and statistical research along with social policy as well. It's a good option for business, as well as agencies associated with the government and foundations. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Similar Web

The easiest and quickest digital marketing research tool I use is Similar Web. This is a simple way to get a holistic view of your competitors' online positioning, including website traffic, key demographics, keywords and sources of traffic. - Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

5. Xtensio

Xtensio is a free tool that helps you create buyer personas for your customers. It's basically a template that lets you fill in all the information about your customers in a very easy way. I recommend using Facebook's Audience Insights to fill in the information for your user personas. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been getting some significant run lately (you've probably seen the ads for LinkedIn Lead Gen) and for good reason. LinkedIn serves as an accurate database of information that is provided by your ideal client. Just don't go around blasting people with random invitations to connect. Instead, use it to harvest data that is meaningful and gain an edge on your competition. - Zachary Burkes, Predictable Profits

7. MarketMuse

I recently found out about this SEO program and have begun implementing it into my business to great success. MarketMuse combines several SEO tools into an intuitive framework. I can research a topic for written content, find out what keywords to incorporate for higher SERPs and compare my copy with competitors all in one browser window. It's not novel, but it's effective and can save time. - Bryce Welker, Crush The PM Exam 

8. Facebook

With Facebook being transparent to users, it allows companies to conduct good marketing research. There are two ways to do it. First, use Facebook's Audience Insights to understand your prospects and customers — what they like and what their behaviors are. Next, find your competitor and go to their Facebook page. Go to the "Info And Ads" tab and see the active ads, and then analyze them for your business. - Fred Lam, iPro Management Group Corp. 

9. SEMrush

With SEMrush we have the ability to track large numbers of keywords on a daily basis on top of the best combination of keywords for our content marketing. The site audit that is available also gives us insight into how we can improve our website with actionable information. - Mark Krassner, Expectful

10. Typeform

Usually at the startups I work with, everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to move forward with their opinions. What they do not have is research from their customers to justify their opinions, so they keep coming up with new opinions without validation. Typeform allows you to easily create a survey and leave no room for guessing. When you ask the customer, you can validate your activity. - Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

To conduct market research, I often simply Google primary keywords to identify my main competitors. With a little digging, I can see how they are responding or creating trends, what key phrases and content they are promoting, and even how customers respond to them. Best of all, this is a free way to gain valuable and comprehensive marketing insight. - Shu Saito, Fact Retriever

12. Outsource to a Neutral Party

We employ a routine system of research on our competition. It's important to outsource this process to companies who don't stand to gain and have one flat fee for their discoverables. From this information, we can assess whether we are up-to-date on the software. Then we apply metrics to what we are offering. Our teams then run independent systems checks so we are at, or beyond, our competitors. - Matthew Capala, Alphametic

Image Credit: PureSolution/Shutterstock
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber Member
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.