Market research can be a chore for content marketers. But developing quality market research questions will keep you from getting lost in a sea of research information and data.

It doesn’t matter how well-written your blog post or video is if it’s irrelevant to your target market.

Question-based market research gives insight into your target audience’s hopes and pain points so you can write content that resonates and keeps them coming back for more.

Effective research can be time-consuming. There’s far more data available than you’ll be able to sift through any time soon. However, if you know the questions to ask, you’ll be able to define the boundaries of your research and prevent project creep.

Starting with questions is a fast, straightforward way to gather enough information. You don’t need mountains of market research survey data. After all, the point of the research is to start producing content.

We’ve rounded up three tips that will have you creating helpful content in no time.

Content writers shouldn’t wonder what to write about

Quality questions are to the writer what lines are to the actor. He may be able to ad lib or improvise, but without his lines, he’ll eventually stray from the script and lose the audience.

Similarly, the writer may be able to bang out spontaneous content, but if her words are not responsive to the interests of her audience, they’ll fall flat.

The problem is not that you don’t know what to write; you simply haven’t asked the right questions. And here’s the question behind every other question you should ask:

What does your potential customer most want to know about your service or product?

Let that question and the steps below serve as the guide for all the research that follows.

1️⃣ Use Answer the Public

This excellent tool is an online compendium of the “People also ask” section on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Almost instantly, you’ll have a massive list of market research questions to consider.

To begin with, simply type in your topic. For example, here’s the result for the term “market research”:

answer the publit screenshot

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Click on any of the ‘spider legs, and you’ll see the corresponding SERP list.

2️⃣ Product reviews

The best reviews are answers to questions reviewers had before buying.

Find Amazon book reviews on topics related to your product or service. The reviews contain answers to questions your customer base may have.

For example, here are excerpts from Amazon reviews on a market research book that incorporates consumer behavior design:

…[the author] has taken a complicated theoretical topic and provided a clear applicable approach to influence consumer behavior. It’s well written with great case studies…

… [the author’s] deep expertise and years of experience testing, succeeding, failing and learning comes together in an easy to read, practical guide…

I was pleasantly surprised that from the beginning I was able to understand the concept as well as the progression of ideas in this book.

As you read, are you able to discern the questions? There are at least two:

  1. First, will I be able to understand the conceptual theme of this book?
  2. If so, will I be able to apply it?

The reviews above were culled from the 5-star reviews. If you want to take your research to the next level, check out the 1-star reviews. You’ll then know which questions reflect the reader’s hopes and fears.

3️⃣ Become an expert at the art of asking

It’s the secret to high-fidelity customer insight.

Virtually every area of your life is impacted by the questions you ask others (and yourself). So whether you’re a software developer or a sales professional, your success depends on your questioning skills.

Here are some ways to start asking more helpful market research questions.

🔘 𝗦𝗵𝗶𝗳𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗻-𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝗯𝘃𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗱, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗱.

Asking, “Can I help you?” is a nice gesture, but “How can I be more helpful to you?” is much more helpful.

🔘 𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝗮 𝘁𝘄𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲𝘀.

“Who do you want your customers to become?” (the title of a great book, btw) is a much more elegant question than “What does the customer want?”

🔘 Use belief-based questions to uncover deep motivations

What did you believe about our product or service before you engaged with us? What did you learn, and what do you think now?

🔘 Set an upbeat tone with positive precursors before you ask challenging questions.

Ask what’s going well first. This approach will create the best environment for you to ask needle-moving questions, like “What needs to change?”

As you might imagine, this becoming an expert questioner won’t just improve your professional life.

Know when to stop researching and start creating

As you gather questions and information, you can start dropping them into an outline for your content. As you sort those questions into various categories, you’ll see a pattern begin to emerge, and at some point, you’re going to be restless and ready to start writing.

If you’ve done enough research, and your structure makes sense, the writing will flow.

Use Answer the Public for a search-based perspective.

Book reviews will reveal to you the emotional concerns that are key to successful customer experiences.

Finally, your expert asking skills will draw out the before-and-after beliefs your existing customers have had about doing business with you.

Get the market research questions right, and you’ll be well on your way to finding and winning the right customers!