Uncover Key Customer Trends Using Third-Party Resources

Dana Youngren
Dana Youngren
4 mins
industry conference foyer depicts one strategy for monitoring customer trends

Your customers have high expectations when it comes to the content they consume. 84 percent of people now expect brands to produce content that provides solutions, entertainment, and experiences. But at the same time, they rate 60 percent of brand content as poor or irrelevant. And when brand content fails to provide value to potential customers, those customers are more likely to take their business somewhere else.

Marketers must consistently produce relevant, timely content that speaks directly to their customers’ concerns and needs.

And that means monitoring customer trends.

Fortunately, by using a few common third-party resources in creative ways, marketers can quickly and easily gain the insights needed to capture their customers’ attention.

1. Quora

If you’re not familiar with Quora already, do yourself a favor and check it out.

This question-and-answer tool is perfect for monitoring the questions your audience is asking—and what solutions they’re posing to common issues.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of using Quora is identifying long-tail keywords.

If you’re not already aware, long-tail keywords are longer phrases that get less search volume but are easier to rank for.

For example, “exercise” is a short-tail keyword that gets tons of search volume. A few examples of its long-tail variants would include:

  • Safe exercise for the elderly
  • At-home strength exercise
  • Low-impact cardiovascular exercise
  • Exercise routines for teenagers

Each term will get less search volume than the term “exercise,” but the competition will be lower—meaning you’re more likely to rank for it.

Long-tail keywords also express greater intent. When someone searches for “exercise,” it’s difficult to know exactly what they’re looking for. That’s not the case with “at-home strength exercise.”

So, how does Quora help you uncover the long-tail keywords your customers are searching for? By giving you direct access to the questions they’re asking and how they’re phrasing them.

To get started, create a free account. You’ll then have the option to select topics that relate to your industry and your customers’ interests.

When you’re finished, your feed will display questions that center around those topics. If you’re not seeing what you’re looking for, you can use the search bar to find something more specific.  

For example, an organization that offers career consulting services to programmers may want to see what questions people are asking about programming.

Based on the above results, the organization could conduct keyword research on long-tail terms like:

  • Best programming language to learn in 2018
  • Best ways to learn programming
  • Best programming blogs

If you click into a question, you can also see a list of similar questions, giving you an even greater selection of long-tail keywords to research.

2. Industry Conferences

Conferences offer several opportunities to learn about your customers. Keynotes can show you who they look up to, sessions can help you identify the thought leaders they’re following, and networking events will give you an opportunity to speak with them directly.  

Pay careful attention at the end of each session you attend. Generally, presenters will allow time for a question-and-answer portion, where you can learn what’s on your audience’s mind.

Most conferences also have networking events that give you direct access to your customer base. Attend these events to find out exactly what people are talking about. Is there a common pain? Was there a session or speaker that seemed to resonate?

Make sure to visit the sponsorship booths, as well. These will show you what products and services your customers are evaluating and what questions they’re asking about them.

When you attend a conference, consider creating a write-up with your biggest takeaways. Post the write-up to a platform that everyone in your organization can access so that those who weren’t able to attend the conference still get valuable insights about customer trends.

3. Reddit

You’ve probably heard of Reddit, but what you might not know is that it’s now the third most popular website in the United States. That means that depending on the audience you’re targeting, many of your potential customers may be using Reddit to share content, ask questions, and express opinions.

But to get insights on customer trends using Reddit, you must first understand how to navigate it.

Reddit is made up of many categories called subreddits. Each subreddit is its own forum dedicated to a specific topic. Users can upvote or downvote posts, and the more upvotes a post gets, the more likely it is to appear at the top of its subreddit’s feed. You can read the top-ranking threads in each subreddit to see what issues and concerns are trending with those who care about that specific topic.

Going back to our example of an organization offering career consulting services to programmers, a simple reddit search for the term “programming” will uncover relevant subreddits that might be worth following. It will also display individual threads in which programming is mentioned.

4.  Industry Blogs

Industry blogs rely on traffic and clicks, so they’re always looking for new topics and stories that keep readers engaged. Keep an eye on the latest posts to see what subjects your audience is currently reading about.

And don’t forget to follow your competitors’ blogs, as well. If they’re capitalizing on a new trend, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible.

To keep all of the industry blogs you’re following in order, use a news hub that lets you pull content from specific blogs or containing specific keywords into one platform. That way you can centralize content around certain keywords and trends (without having to rely on lots of different RSS feeds and Google Alerts going to your email inbox) and curate relevant content to share with your team.

Make Monitoring Customer Trends a Priority

By following the advice above, you can stay on top of current customer trends. Just remember that trends are constantly changing. If you want to create the most relevant and engaging marketing content, you have to continuously look out for changing preferences and behaviors. By making the effort to keep up with the topics, news, and pain points that affect your target audience, you’ll be able to develop messaging that resonates. And when you deliver messages and solutions that connect with your audience, you’ll build trust and help keep customers coming back to your brand.

December 12, 2018

Harness The Power Of Knowledge Sharing With Digital Transformation

Companies that grasp what the digital workplace is really all about are willing to change the ways people and applications connect across their organizations. By fostering a digitally driven culture of collaboration, they break down silos, share knowledge more effectively and compete more successfully.

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