For those working in an office, there aren’t many parts of the job that doesn’t involve the internet, these days. It would be interesting to count how many times we have to use the Google search engine in one day, to analyze the importance of becoming better at online research. It is obviously important enough to write an article to help you improve that skill, so you can become more efficient and get better results out of it.
Using a VPN on your browser
Nowadays, you can have a VPN attached directly to your browser. According to cyberghostvpn.com, it is the only way not to compromise on your security. It is also the solution to access content in geo-restricted locations and to circumvent censorship in certain countries or avoid school and workplace limitations. When you use a VPN, websites can no longer recognize your IP address, making it impossible to identify you and to log your movements. It also protects you from any cybercriminal who would like to hack or snoop on you. In other words: Don’t use the internet without installing one before.
Always second-guess your findings
Looking for information online is tricky. Why? Because you can most probably find two completely opposite answers to any search you do. In truth, there is a lot of misinformation online. Sometimes, people writing the articles, coming up in your search results, don’t have any knowledge on the subject at hand, but are being paid to write them. Therefore, the information found inside these articles is completely wrong.
But it goes deeper than that. Some people voluntarily mislead you to get you to believe in certain ideas and compromise your knowledge. That is particularly true when it comes to political groups, but it can also exist in business. It is easy to write that a company is the largest in its field, or that their quality is the best. Through SEO, they also get others to say it for them, which makes discovering the truth even more difficult. Therefore, when you find important information for you and your company, compare it on other websites, so that you can verify if it is true or not.
Use recognized databases
There are ways to get neutral information. In business, you will often have to find out data about your competitors or potential clients. The best way to acquire knowledge that is proven to be true is by going on recognized databases that can provide it for you. The first one should always be the Ministry of Labour, from the country where the company is located. There, you should find a link to the database regarding all companies inside their territory. It provides basic important information, which will vary from one country to another, such as annual revenues, number of employees, address and phone number, name of managers, etc.
Every industry also has its own database specialists. For example, if you work in the film industry, you’ll visit IMDB to find out what a company has previously produced, in which film an actor played and what were the financial results for each of their productions. If you need statistics in any industry sectors, Statista is the place to look, as it holds a complete range of numbers, for any given work sector you can think of. These databases will also facilitate your work, as you won’t have to search “at large,” before finding the information you need.
Follow links from associations
If you are looking to develop your sales into a particular industry, then the first step for you, should be to find the various associations that represent their members. There is usually a central one that gathers all the others, under one roof. Find it and start your search from there. They usually offer information per country or per specialization. You will find a members list, which should lead you (if you are lucky) to all the information you require to do your job: owner’s name, phone number and email. From that moment on, it is up to you to decide on the strategy you want to adopt, in approaching the companies listed.
Looking through associations will bring you ideas you would not have thought of otherwise. That’s because they usually partner with companies or associations from other fields, that normally have some kind of relation to their work (it is possible that they only advertise with them as well). It opens-up a new field of research for you, of potential clients you would not have thought of contacting otherwise. Chances are, simply by looking through these associations, it will keep you busy forever, regarding the search for new clients.
Learn to be precise in the words you use
Becoming a professional at online research is an art. The better capacity you have to put an idea into a sequence of words, the more chances you’ll get the search results you were looking for, on your first try. Just writing down the name of the industry, you are searching for, will bring you a large number of useless results. You have to identify precisely what you aim for, by providing Google with as many details as possible. For example, if you work in advertising and you are looking for new clients to publish in your magazine. You have to indicate the field that they work in, their location, their specialty and add a qualification. In this case, it could be: Seafood restaurants in London, with more than 100-seat capacity.
Then, you should also aim at the type of document which can bring you the most information. Online, you can visit websites, but you also have access to pdf, Word or Excel documents (to name only the most popular ones). If your goal is to find a list of companies and their contact information, the best format for you might be an Excel file. Therefore, you should add to your search: .xlsx. It will bring up all the Excel files having to do with your search request, on the first result page.
Keep in mind that finding information is only the first step. You will need to keep that information organized, in the most efficient way possible. You may want to look into CRM software. But that’s a whole new article in itself…