5 Free Ways to Do Market Research
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by | Oct 16, 2020 | Uncategorized

When you start a new business, it’s easy to get excited about setting up your website and selling your product/service, but running before you begin to walk is going to impact your future success. In this post, we’re going to discuss why market research is important and reveal five free ways to do market research. 

 

Why Market Research is Important 

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Every business, no matter how small it is, needs to do market research. Without it, you won’t know who your audience is and how to sell your service/product. Here are some reasons why market research is important. 

 

It Uncovers Business Opportunities 

 

Market research can help you to find out what other businesses are doing and how you can do it better. When you begin to look at other companies, you can see what areas they lack in and develop a strong USP around that. 

 

Your competitors are the best way to discover opportunities because they’ve been there and done it all before. Think about how many SEO platforms offer competitor analysis, and you’ll see how important it is. 

 

Once you know how your competitors obtain backlinks, the kind of content they produce and how they communicate with their audience, you can look for gaps in their branding strategy and capitalise on it. 

 

Discover Where to Sell 

 

Is your audience primarily on social media, or would you be better off focusing on your website marketing? Once you know the platforms your target demographic use, you can make a point of reaching them. 

 

Some businesses also find that Google Ads is too competitive for their budget, but they can use Bing to generate some leads. Knowing where it is best to advertise is an essential step in marketing your business. 

 

You might also find your audience is active on other platforms that your competitors aren’t aware of. Finding out this information gives you a higher chance of selling more, and it will also save you money. 

 

Improve Your Chances of Survival 

 

Did you know that less than half of UK businesses survive past five years? The only way to survive is by retaining a consistent stream of customers and making sure your products stay relevant to consumer trends. 

 

It’s vital that you focus on creating a website that works for your company, and you make sure you test each design and product before rolling it out to your audience. 

 

Know How to Use Your Budget Wisely

 

Small businesses struggle to advertise on such a small budget, so they have to make every penny count. If you don’t have the option of testing out multiple advertising platforms, you need to find the best one for your needs. 

 

One marketing research example is a company that sells clothing to young women. If they looked at where their audience is, they would see Instagram is the most effective platform to advertise on. But if the same company provided services to other businesses, then they would benefit from LinkedIn. 

 

We have a list of social media platforms and which ones are best for your business here

 

How to Do Market Research

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So, now we’ve talked about why market research is important; it’s time to discover five free ways to do market research. These methods are perfect for small businesses because they can save you a lot of time and money. 

 

Speak to People 

 

With so much technology around, small businesses often forget that talking to people is one of the most effective forms of market research. Your business will depend on customers to survive, so asking people questions can help you make sure your company adapts to the ever-changing consumer wants and needs. 

 

The most challenging part about this tactic is knowing how to find people and what questions to ask them. So, ask yourself these questions first: 

 

  • Where are your customers? Do they use a specific social media platform? What demographic are they? 
  • Where do they shop? Is your product/service available from another provider?
  • What do they look for when they’re purchasing your product/service? What puts them off making a purchase? 
  • Do they have any complaints about your competitors? 

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to put a plan together that covers where to market your product, and how to make it appeal to consumers. Gaining valuable information gives you a head start, and it can save you a lot of time and money. 

 

Don’t Forget About Yourself 

 

You set up this business for a reason, so that tends to suggest you have a lot of knowledge about the industry. A lot of companies forget about themselves during the market research process, but if you ask yourself some critical questions, you’ll be surprised by what you already know. 

 

Think about what you’ve learned about the industry and list the reasons why you decided to start your business. Did you see a gap in the market? Were other providers failing to meet the needs of their consumers? What are you going to do differently? 

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to put together a marketing plan that communicates the value of your product/service to your audience. It’s also beneficial to have an idea of your projected earnings and keep a detailed list of your goals. 

 

OnPlanners has some great templates, including this SMART template. 

 

Online Market Research Questionnaires 

 

Social Media makes it so easy for small businesses to reach their audience and gain valuable insights. One of the most effective ways of conducting research is to use market research questionnaires. Luckily, platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are free to set up polls on. 

 

Facebook has a targeting feature which allows you to send surveys to your chosen demographics, so you don’t have to focus on just asking your friends. One thing we should note is that people won’t respond to your survey unless it looks professional. Make sure you read it thoroughly before sending it and check your questionnaire for spelling mistakes. 

 

Online Forums 

 

Another free way to gain valuable insights from your audience is the use of online forums. Most people forget about forums because they’re “old school”, but there are plenty of active communities where people share advice, tips and will happily answer your questions if you offer value in return. 

 

Find an online forum that suits your business needs, and focus on becoming an active member before you ask people to participate in your survey. Comment on other peoples posts and answer questions for a few weeks before you introduce people to your business. 

 

Being successful in an online forum can take time. Still, once you become an active member, you’ll have an unlimited amount of opportunities to connect with other people, learn about your audience and maybe even gain some new customers. 

 

Ask Your University 

 

Universities are an excellent source for small businesses that are limited by their budget. Students need to gain valuable experience, and when you contact your local University, you might find you gain free marketing support. 

 

Most students will be happy to help, as long as you provide them with a reference. Another benefit of working with Universities is most students will receive support from their tutor, so you can guarantee that their work will be of a high calibre. 

 

The Bottom Line 

 

Hopefully, you’ve learned why market research is important and can use our five free methods to build your business. Running before you can walk is the fastest way to go out of business, so take the time to learn about your audience, competitors and give yourself the best chance of succeeding. 

 

Need some help organising your market research? Here are the best project management apps for small businesses.