Market research is imperative to the success of any business. According to studies, some of the top reasons why startups fail include the lack of planning, the absence of supplier knowledge, and issues with pricing. Regardless of your niche, the chances of these occurring can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, with adequate research.
However, conducting market research is a lot harder than it seems. With the overwhelming amount of data obtainable via the internet, it’s more challenging to siphon what’s relevant and beneficial for growing your business.
To ensure your success, below are five of the best market research strategies and resources you can leverage:
Conduct Exploratory Research
When it comes to market research, it’s best to start with wider scopes before investing time, money, and energy on statistically accurate data. With exploratory research, your goal is to find opportunities for business growth and scout research areas that require prioritization.
Due to the broad nature of exploratory research, you can start with free sources such as academic journal entries, government research, and online publications that deal with topics in your niche. You can also start with a simple content research tool like BuzzSumo to find the latest news and the most popular content based on keywords.
Clarify the Problem
Conducting exploratory research will also help you pinpoint problems that need to be solved. It’s basically the same as researching for ideas in content marketing. First, you look for problems that your target market has. If there’s already an existing solution, see if you can improve it. Otherwise, look for another problem by way of primary research, which means to obtain information straight from your potential customers.
An inexpensive way of doing primary research this is to utilize Q&A websites like Quora. By understanding the questions that your target market have, you can determine whether there’s demand for the information, service, or product that you offer. You can also refer to social media websites so you can participate in existing conversations yourself.
Run Online Surveys
Another way to do primary research is to run online surveys using platforms like SurveyMonkey. This will help you setup a campaign, reach millions of users that match your specified demographics, and generate results within minutes.
Running online surveys allows the voice of your target consumers to influence decisions that will affect the direction of your business. It can be done for different purposes such as market segmentation, fine-tuning the features you want for your next release, and generating positive customer feedback for social proof.
Do Keyword Studies
The success of any online marketing campaign boils down to one thing – your keyword strategy. Take note that keywords can determine the visibility of your promotional material, be it for ads or branded content.
One of the go-to tools for this is the Adwords Keyword Planner from Google, which will provide you with a set of usable keywords based on a phrase or term that describes your industry. Knowing the current, on-demand keywords in your niche is the first step to developing a targeted SEO strategy. It also allows you to check out the rates for competitive keywords so you can plan your advertising budget accordingly.
Use Crowdfunding to Validate Your Product Idea
If you’re already invested in a product, an unconventional way of testing demand is to launch a crowdfunding campaign. It’s not exactly a market research strategy, nor is it free, but it lets the judgment of experienced online investors validate the profitability of your product idea.
Simply put, if you hit your crowdfunding goal, it means people find your product intriguing and worth their investment. In which case, you’ll also get the funding to propel your business forward. But if your campaign fails, then you should probably go back to the drawing board and avoid wasting any more resources on your idea.