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Magnifying glass on chart illustrates value of site search as market research.

The age of digital marketing is defined by data. Data has quickly become one of the most valuable assets a business can have, and businesses are willing to invest a ton of resources into market research and collecting data about target demographics. Yet far too often businesses fail to collect the data that customers willingly give them.

Most marketing professionals already know about collecting data on the customer journey. They track what the user clicks on and how they navigate the website, working extremely hard to determine what the customer is looking for, where they go to try to find it, and where the site navigation succeeds or fails. However, there is a less commonly utilized but more useful way to collect data of what your customers are looking for: onsite search.

When your customers use your internal site search, they spill their guts to you on exactly what content and products interest them. But I bet you’re not collecting that data to decide what content to create and showcase. In fact, only 7 percent of companies use and interpret data from site search in other business practices, even though it’s some of the most valuable data you can get about your customers, and they’re showing up to give it to you free of charge.

Listen and Learn

It can be difficult to know exactly which products will sell and what types of content interests your customers. So when they go out of their way to willingly tell you what they want, make sure you’re listening. I cover the steps to improve site search in this post. What should you be doing about market research?

  1. Look at the success rate for your frequent onsite searches. For low success keywords where you think you have both the right content and the right product, reassess. The market may be telling you that the content needs to be tweaked. But equally important is to be open to whether the signal you’re receiving is about poor product-market fit. Where you don’t have a product to meet the search term, maybe you should.
  2. Look for variations in search success by country and demographic/firmographic groups. This may provide you with insight into markets or segments where there is an opportunity.
  3. Look at the long-tail of keywords for multi-word phrases that may indicate unsatisfied demand for product, product features, or services.

Search data is no replacement for formal market research. However, it should be a part of your listening process. Market research is definitely important, but don’t forget to look at the data your customers give you for free.

As always, to get the most value out of your site search you’ll want a technology solution like SoloSegment SearchBox.

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