Market Research for a Small Business?
Even if your business doesn’t have a budget for a market research department or consultancy, you still need to be doing market research. Why? Because it is crucial to know your target audience. Getting very clearly focused on your target market will make everything you do easier and more enjoyable. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, you find your sweet spot where your product is needed, your service appreciated, your marketing efforts are more effective, you waste less time and effort.
What to Learn Through Market Research
You may already have some specific questions in mind. Maybe you have some ideas, but need to validate your hypotheses. Perhaps you know these answers for some of your ideal customers and want to know how many more people out there feel the same. Here’s a list to get you started:
- What percentage of the local population fit into my target market definition?
- What does my ideal client like to do in their free time?
- What social media channels does my target market use most?
- How do people search for products and solutions like mine?
- How many of them are using mobile phones to buy products like mine?
- Would they like my new product in green or blue?
Knowing the answers can save you a lot of energy and money. You won’t have to throw the spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks—you will already know what works before you do it. There are many ways to accomplish your market research ideal. We have investigated a few avenues that we believe can be adapted to your business needs and have outlined them below.
Free or Low Cost Market Research Solutions
Google has many free planning tools you can utilize for your business. Since Google knows a little about market research, they are an invaluable resource when it comes to getting your product noticed by the customers who want to buy it. Google’s free “think with Google” Planning Tools allows you to see what people are searching for on their search engine, check out what is being watched on YouTube, what devices consumers are using to search for the products and services they want and how they are using those devices, as well as many other cool market research options.
The town of Gilbert, AZ offers SizeUp for Local Business Intelligence (SizeUp LBI), which allows business owners to access highly specific data on revenues, salaries, health insurance costs, suppliers, competitor information, and much more. This interactive tool is set up so you can customize data that is specific to your industry. SizeUp LBI offers a Business and Industry Analysis option, Advertising Analysis, a Competitive Intelligence tool, and a Demographic Analysis. These market research tools allow you to compare how you are performing against your competition, how you can best serve your customers, the best ways to target your advertising, and to whom that advertising should be targeted.
InfoUSA helps businesses find new customers by making mailing lists and sales leads available and has options for creating marketing campaigns that work for your schedule and budget. You can customize a mailing list for your business with the dozens of selections the site offers, including by age, income, home value, ethnicity, and geography with InfoUSA’s US Consumer database. We’ve talked before about the importance of both email marketing and direct mail marketing campaigns and how valuable they are for your business. What better way to get started than by using InfoUSA’s free guides?
SurveyMonkey is an online survey software program that makes it easy to take the pulse of consumers. What products and services do they want? In what colors and during what times will they buy them? SurveyMonkey allows you to create surveys and polls that you then send to current and potential customers via mobile, web, social media. There’s even a mobile app for consumers on the go (and who isn’t?).
Whichever tool you choose for your market research, make sure it can be tailored to the needs of your business and that it does what you need it to do. The team at 910 West handles market research on a daily business, so let us know how we can help you target your market and sell your products and services.