In order to stay successful and relevant as a small business owner, you have to “give the people what they want.”
That means never leaving business decisions to chance or guesswork, and always basing your next move on client feedback and market research.
Market research isn’t just for big corporations, and it doesn’t have to be insanely expensive.
If you’re interested in…
- Understanding what problems your ideal clients are struggling with
- Improving your customer experience, your product, or your service
- Assessing customer needs and expectations
- Determining how receptive your audience will be to new products or services
….then conducting market research is crucial to your success and to your bottom line. Without it, you risk wasting precious time, energy, and money guessing what your customers want, what they’re thinking, and how you can help them.
Before you begin…
Market research can be conducted over the phone, during face-to-face interactions, or online with a web-based survey.
If you’re interested in digging into one or more of these areas of market research, the first thing you need to do is determine what you want to gain from the market research.
Do you want to know more about…
- Your audience’s pain points?
- What kind of specific solutions they’re looking for?
- How much they’re willing to pay for a product or service?
- What kind of experience they’re looking for from your brand?
Knowing what you want to gain from your market research will help you craft open-ended questions that elicit candid, unbiased responses from your customers.
5 tips for flawless market research
A survey is a low-cost, effective way to dig deep into the minds of your customers, find out what they really want, and develop innovative ways to give it to them.
When creating a market research survey, be sure to follow these 5 best practices in order to achieve optimal results.
- Keep it short and sweet – Limit your survey to 1, 3 or 5 questions in length. Anything longer will appear intimidating and will lower participation in the survey.
- Use common language – Write your survey questions in a common language – the kind of words and phrases your ideal client actually uses when talking about your business. Stay away from jargon or acronyms that only you and your colleagues would understand.
- Use open-ended questions – Your survey should use leading, targeted, open-ended questions that activates your customers’ thinking.These would include…
- What is your biggest challenge with [INSERT SPECIFIC PROBLEM YOUR BUSINESS TYPICALLY SOLVES]?
- Why is that a challenge for you?
- What kind of solution are you looking for to address that challenge?
- How much would you invest to solve your biggest problem with [INSERT SPECIFIC PROBLEM YOUR BUSINESS TYPICALLY SOLVES]?
- What would you like to learn about how to avoid [INSERT COMPELLING PROBLEM] in the future?
- Test before your send – Before sending your survey to a wider audience (like your entire email list), test it on a smaller group to get their feedback.You might ask them…
- Were any of the survey questions confusing?
- Did the multiple choice questions include relevant answers?
- Did each question address a current concern they’re having?
Use their feedback to tweak your survey before sending it to your entire list.
- Analyze Results – Create a strategic plan to analyze the data collected from your market research, and use it to benefit your audience at a higher level.
- Take some time to assess the results of your survey. What about the research surprises you most?
- Identify 2-3 key takeaways you can use from your survey.
- Are the results in line with your original thinking? Do they confirm your ideas for moving forward?
- Do any of the results suggest major pivots or changes that need to be made in your business plan or operations?
The most important part of conducting market research is to USE what you gathered to serve your target market on a deeper level.
Once you have identified the answer to a specific research question, such as your audience’s biggest challenge when it comes to your particular industry, offer them a specific solution that is simple and easy to follow.
Create a one-sheet, infographic, blog post, or webinar that directly addresses the biggest problem your target market is facing, and offers solution to that problem. This technique rewards their participation in your survey, shows that you’re truly listening to your customer’s concerns, and builds their trust in you to solve those problems through your small business.