As a small business owner, you may think market research is out of your reach because it takes too much time and money. Good news! Market research can be done efficiently without breaking the bank. The beauty about gathering market research is that it gives you the necessary intelligence you need to market even better – whether it’s writing your ideal client profile or creating a new product. To be truthful, you can’t afford to not do market research.
So, how can you gather market research? Here are three ways that you can do market research efficiently and cost effectively:
Distributing surveys is a fast and easy way to gather market research. Use a free tool such as SurveyMonkey and create a short survey to share. Professional market researchers will tell you there is a certain way to formulate the questions to get the best answers. What should you take away from that? If you distribute a survey and do not get the feedback you want, rewrite the questions and send it out again.
Also, send out the survey as widely as you can. Most people won’t fill it out, so it’s a bit of a numbers’ game.
#2: Phone interview
Sometimes it’s best to have a one-on-one conversation with someone to gather market research. Who can you speak to? While it depends on what information you need, you can interview current or past clients, employees, networking peers and influencers. For example, if you’re launching a new service and want feedback, call a former client to get her opinion. Record the call so you can refer to it in the future (you can easily record calls through free conference call services such as Free Conference Calling).
Make the call as brief as possible (no more than 30 minutes) so you get what you need out of the call. Longer calls tend to go in tangents.
#3: Focus groups
A focus group is “a demographically diverse group of people” who are gathered to give feedback on a product or service before it launches.
Sounds grandiose, right? It doesn’t have to be.
Here’s what you can do instead: Gather a small group of people around a table. Feed them, make sure they have plenty of water and maybe offer a free coaching session to incentive their attendance. Then, present what you need help with. Consider having someone take notes for you (it could be a college intern!). Ask them for their candid feedback, and you’ll get great market research from your focus group at the fraction of the cost.
And if you can’t gather everyone around a table “in real life,” consider a virtual gathering. Google Hangouts are a great way to video chat with several people at once.
Market research is an important part of the whole marketing process. Market research gives you the intelligence you need to improve your business and offerings. Despite the benefits, many small business owners don’t conduct market research because they think it’s too expensive. If you use the ways suggested in this blog post, you can efficiently and effectively gather market research. For maximum marketing research power, do all three ways at once! That way, you can get different types of information in different ways.