It is easy to lose sight of your customers when doing keyword research by relying on tools. These tools are not going to spend money with your company; tools just show you the most popular phrases regardless if your customerís actually use these words or not.

One of the best sources for keyword research is your customerís own words. Here are a few simple ways to conduct research by just examining your customerís information.
Gathering The Data

The first step is to gather the data in a single place so that you can analyze the information. There are generally a few places where you can find your customersí actual words.

Email communications. Every day you receive communications from your customers. These come in the forms of contact emails, support requests, request for services, etc. These communications contain the customerís actual words.

Most companies use either forms or direct email on their website. These form fills or emails are sent to a CRM system or directly to someoneís inbox. Pulling data out of an email inbox is not an easy task. Instead, use a form system that saves the data to a database, and then forwards the information to the appropriate CRM or inbox. By taking this simple step, you can start to collect all of your customerís communications in a single place.

Blog comments. If you have a blog on your site, then you are logging comments to a database. It is a simple process to export the comments from your database. For most blogging platforms, just go to your host control panel and use the phpMyAdmin interface to export the comments.

Product reviews. Many ecommerce sites allow their customers to post reviews about individual products. In general, I find reviews useful to examine; however, the words your customerís use to name the product is often heavily skewed towards the name you gave the product on the product page. Each system has a different method for exporting reviews, so you will want to examine how the reviews are being saved in your system.

Social mentions. Many social sites contain comments from your customers about your products. However, they do not always have an easy way to gather the data. If you are using a social monitoring tool, there may be a simple way to export the data.

If you are not using such a tool, then the low tech approach is to use Google alerts. Set up alerts for your brand names, products, etc. and then save all of those emails in a single place. You can even have those emails auto-forwarded to a database system so they are easily aggregated into a single place.

Of course, you can always just go to Twitter or another social search tool and conduct a search for your brand name and then copy and paste the results into a file.