Real business story

Comprehensive research is the key to creating a hyper-relevant offering

Evolving your business alongside the needs of customers and the development of the market is a must for ensuring its future. If you’re not forging ahead, you’re retreating backwards – there’s no standing still.
Mike Crook, PracticeWeb

Good research has helped Mike Crook and the business go from getting two to five enquiries a month, to 20-30 a week

This means that conducting research is critical. It’s how you’ll find out what your customers want and the problems they have that you can fix and it’s how you can make sure your business is shaping up against the competition.

Collecting data – be it from surveys, interviews or your own internal research – is only the first step, though. Working out how to action what you’ve found and use it to give your business an advantage is the critical second step.

When PracticeWeb, a digital marketing agency for accountants, found sales were stagnating, it repositioned itself using insights from customers and the wider market. The process worked, with the numbers of leads it is generating growing exponentially and sales growth returning.

Define your research goals

Before you kick off your research, it’s important to outline what, precisely, you want it to help you achieve. Be that generating more leads, boosting customer loyalty, informing your rebrand or developing new services.

Setting out your aims will help you target the right customers to seek insights from and develop the questions you use.

“We needed to work out our ideal clients,” said PracticeWeb managing director, Mike Crook. “We have 500 clients ranging from startups to top-tier businesses. So we looked at what we wanted and where the money might be – then we went and found those accountants.”

The team wrote a list of questions designed to ascertain what those clients want from a digital marketing agency and how PracticeWeb could meet those specific needs. Interviews were carried out with more than 20 customers.

Based on that information, the business then put together a proposition – including details of services and price points – and went back to those accountants with it.

“That helped us refine what we should be offering,” added Mike. “Then we started to build it – creating packages, reimagining the brand, developing a new website.”

As a result, the business has gone from getting two to five enquiries a month to 20-30 a week.

“We looked at their social media activity – follower numbers, how regularly they were posting, what type of posts they were using – as well as content on their websites and their range of services.”

Mike Crook, MD, PracticeWeb

Look to your competitors

It’s not just direct competitors that are worth researching when you’re looking to benchmark your business. PracticeWeb looked at a broad spectrum of agencies to glean insights from different sectors of the market, as opposed to restricting it to companies working in the same niche.

As well as the services that other companies were offering, the team were especially interested in the way that successful businesses and industry gurus were promoting themselves and engaging with people.

“We looked at their social media activity – follower numbers, how regularly they were posting, what type of posts they were using – as well as content on their websites and their range of services.”

This helped PracticeWeb to build on its promotional efforts and expand the channels through which they were reaching potential customers.

“We didn’t have a marketing funnel working for us,” explained Mike. “We didn’t have a lot of sales ops and were waiting for trade shows to get leads. So, we set about building visibility in our digital presence.”

What to do next?

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  • location: South West (England)
  • business type: Digital, technology & computer services
  • business size: 10-49

Top takeaways

To bag these customers, you need to find out exactly what they want, so you can tailor your offering to suit.

Think about creating an annual survey for clients so you can stay in the loop with what they need.

To make yourself stand out and offer something that sets you apart from the direct competition, look for inspiration from the wider market.