When you’re running a small business, you always have more demands on your resources than you have available. Though that leads to creative problem solving in many areas, it can also make it difficult to make sure the solution will give you the results you need. Many experts will tell you that one area you can’t skimp on is market research. But that doesn’t mean you need to dedicate your entire budget to the process. Here are a few ways you can conduct great market research on the cheap:
Recognize that your market research has value
It’s very easy, especially with tight budgets, to copy your competition or a similarly positioned business. The problem with that approach is that it doesn’t recognize that your business is a unique entity that has its own way of doing things, different customer demographics, distinct products and services and any number of other aspects that set’s it apart from your competition. By recognizing that concept, you can focus on adjusting your business to meet your customer’s needs.
Use what you’ve got
Many companies discount the value of information from employees or current customers. This is a valuable resource that should be your first source when you need to learn more about a product, the competition or new markets that you’re getting ready to enter. Try to regularly schedule surveys for your existing clients to get a better idea of where the market is heading. You could even provide intercept surveys at events where you’d expect your clients to gather.
Take advantage of free outside research
This research can come from a wide range of sources and is often used not only by small businesses, but also by larger corporations developing an overall strategy for the business. Government sources tend to provide solid data, but tend to show what has happened in the past rather than projecting what is happening in the future. Industry associations often provide statistics and solid information on both where the industry has been in the past as well as where it may be going in the future, providing you with additional depth of detail you may otherwise have missed.
Learn who’s tuned in on social media
It’s a great resource when you need to ask customers about product issues, potential new features you’re considering adding or any number of other aspects that can affect your business and its place in the market. It also gives depth to your demographics, by going beyond simply what your customers are to the very heart of who they are deep down.
Gather information from wide sources
Even something as simple as a Google search can provide great resources you may not have expected. After you start getting hits on information similar to what you’re looking for, add qualifiers to the search, such as who your competition is, what your demographic’s buying patterns are or even what times they’re most active online. Don’t be afraid to branch out to other search engines.
By keeping these tips and techniques in mind, you can get great market research on your target demographics without having to bankrupt your business. If you need help developing comprehensive market research surveys, our offline survey apps can provide you with exceptional data for a much more budget-friendly cost. Take a look at what our mobile survey app can do for your business today.
Also published on Medium.