Marketers have turned to content marketing, social media, native advertising and dozens of other marketing strategies to build relationships with their target audiences. Marketing professionals are constantly searching for new techniques and strategies to build their brand's authority and identity. One unique way that several companies are demonstrate their status as industry leaders is by creating unique primary research that is both credible and useful to their readers.
Primary Market Research Definition: Information that comes directly from the source–that is, potential customers. You can compile this information yourself or hire someone else to gather it for you via surveys, focus groups and other methods. Definition by Entrepreneur
Janna Finch, Managing Editor at Software Advice, a research firm that provides free reviews of marketing software, recently developed a report that provides four examples of companies that used primary research as an effective branding strategy. We decided to catch up with Finch and see what additional information she had to share about using this strategy. Here is what she had to offer:
How can primary research help build a brand’s authority?
Marketers know that publishing information that’s been shared over and over is not enough to increase search performance or develop a readership that generated leads and conversions. This is not a recipe for success, and it won't differentiate your brand from other brands.
High-quality, original content is a great way to rise above the noise of your competitors and primary research perfectly fits the bill. Primary research, when executed properly, provides your prospects content that is unique and not found anywhere else because it's new.
Publishing primary research has significant benefits:
- The content gets shared: People are always looking for new and exciting material and avoid content that has been distributed hundreds of times with slightly different spins. Original research has a better chance of being interesting and useful, which means people will be more likely to tweet it, like it, pin it or blog about it.
- It highlights your authority on the subject: Undertaking a primary research project is not an easy task. It requires many man hours and dedication. People recognize this and know that if your company was serious enough to undertake a major research project, you’re likely an authority on the subject.
- Building authority also has SEO implications. The more people who trust your brand and respect your content, the more your material is going to be shared and linked to. Search engines determine that if you’re content is being shared heavily, then it is likely a valuable resource. If Google sees this correlation in your content, your brand will carry more authority and start appearing higher in SERPs and more people will visit your site. More visitors usually means more conversions.
Why is building an authoritative brand on the Internet critical for businesses?
People tend to seek out companies because they trust their brand, or they provide the information they were looking for, or they’ve had a positive past experience. By building more brand authority, you’re also building trust. When people trust your company and view you as a leader, it may ultimately lead to more leads and revenue.
This is especially important on the Internet. The more authoritative your brand, the more likely it will rank highly in search results. The higher your business ranks on Google’s search results page, the more visible your brand, and greater visibility means more revenue. Simply put, no one ever purchases from a website they can't find.
Is there an example of a brand that has successfully implemented this marketing strategy?
There are several companies that have successfully used primary research to build their brand's authority. One company in particular had remarkable success implementing this strategy — Moz. Moz has been an authority on search engine optimization (SEO) for nearly decade. However, in an attempt to maintain their status as a premier go-to-source for SEO resources, they too look to primary research.
Moz surveyed over 120 top SEO marketers to collect their opinions on more than 80 search engine ranking factors. Moz collected the data and developed easy-to-read graphs and data summaries for maximum readability and shareability. Their decision to turn to primary search was overwhelming successful because they provided SEO marketers with useful and credible research that no one else could offer. This effort earned them nearly 700 links and more than 2,000 social shares (and counting!). This kind of visibility not only increases their brand’s authority, but it also solidifies their reputation as a reputable source of SEO information and best practices.
What suggestions do you have for other companies that are considering using primary research to build their brand’s authority?
Understand that creating high-quality primary research takes a great deal of time and effort. As with any major project, strategy and planning is critical. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start collecting data:
- What do I want to find out?
- How can I collect this type of information? Ask yourself if the best way to collect the data is to create a shareable survey, or to interview a small group of experts, or if you can gather the data by making your own observations.
- How will the findings of this project be useful to my customers or audience? You can go through all the motions and hard work of gathering quality data, but if it is not useful, interesting and easily shared, how will it help build your authority?
If you address these questions you are already ahead of many of your competitors.
Have you ever used primary research to elevate your brand's authority? Please share your story or comments below.