8 Inexpensive Market Research Techniques for SMEs
Whereas everyone is rushing into conducting market research, SMEs cannot stay out of the stream. You may go search on Google for numerous results like how to make a questionnaire, Focus Group Discussion, personal interview, behavioral tracking etc. All of them sounds wonderful, but you have no budget for them?
After squirming moments, you come to another question “Does such a small company like ours have to do market research?”
Of course, you do. There are many benefits your business can get from market research, such as:
Help you build a more attractive marketing plan
Clearly identify your “niche” market
Improve your products, services based upon customers’ issues
Update new trends of the industry
Cut down unreasonable costs and expenses
That’s how useful and interesting market research is, you also want to do it, it’s just the matter of budget. Don’t let it lag you down, let’s try a couple of inexpensive market research methods here. It may sound “funny”, but keep reading, it would be a big help for you.
- TAKE A TOUR ON QUORA
Are you surprised?
Quora is a social platform that allows to create questions and answers. On Quora, users can post any questions in any topics and get replies from others.
Walking around on Quora, you will surf through thousands of questions, are they thousands of insights for your exploitation?
When signing up for a Quora account, you can choose the topics of your interest. When there are new questions or anwers related to those topics, you’ll get notified. You may likely get to know the biggest headaches of your target customers, as well as what the most valued solutions would be (since Quora ranks replies based on number of votes).
Doing market research on Quora helps you touch on your target customers’ “pains”. Let’s evaluate them and create solutions with a marketing plan, especially when you create a content.
Besides, instead of making blog posts, consider if it could be an answer on Quora. It helps your content become more viral and approachable on a wider scale.
- WANDER ON REDDIT
Reddit is a website with one of the biggest traffic volumes globally, sometimes known as “where weirdos act like elites”.
Taking a tour on Reddit, besides a high number of cute cat videos, you can accidentally meet astoundingly profound discussions. Those discussions can be golden mines for market researchers, instead of conducting in-depth interviews with a group of respondents.
Reddit users are anonymous, which makes them talk freely about any topics they aren’t supposed to discuss in normal conversations. If you can “dig” those discussions, you may be able to deep dive into their true insights.
Reddit consists of subreddits – particular discussion threads, which are favorable for you to search for your desired topics.
For examples, a business selling fitness products and services may want to find subreddits about:
- CHECK OUT WHICH BOOKS PEOPLE ARE READING
Sounds strange again. How is market research related to books?
Take it easy. A best-seller book must be on the top search by people, hitting the insight of the vast majority, right? Let’s check the ranking chart of best-seller books on leading book sites in Vietnam such as Tiki.vn, Fahasha.com, Bookbuy.vn etc.
In addition, do not ignore the review section by readers. You can listen to their opinion, sharing, expectation in their own words.
Positive reviews will help you understand what value readers receive from reading the book. Negative comments are even more helpful, allowing you to realize what is unsolved problems of the book. And who should resolve those problems, no need to ask, right?
- CONDUCT A SURVEY
Speaking of survey conduct, people usually imagine a wide-scale survey with thousands of participants. It’s true that some surveys require a big sample, but not all of them need to do so.
Small companies can consider about doing smaller surveys. For instance, a survey asking consumers after purchasing a product will help you understand their satisfaction level, and what motivation for their purchase. Similarly, you can do a survey among consumers who decide not to buy your products. Find out what prevent them from purchasing.
Even a survey with only 2 small questions can help you collect data to adjust for next times.
- FOLLOW FACEBOOK GROUPS
There any a plenty of groups and communities on Facebook for each particular topic, with exciting disucssions. Once having found a suitable group, you can learn a lot from it in a very short time.
Your enterprise can also create your own groups to “attract” target customers and raise conversations among them. Certainly, it might take time and effort, but it will result in many benefits beside market research.
Otherwise, you can keep following present groups which have a large number of members, observing and participating in their discussions. In those groups, people tend to share openly about their satisfaction or dissappointment in an object. You will gather a substantial amount of data far beyond surface information.
- “SPY” ON COMPETITORS
Market research doesn’t only mean to study industry, customers but also includes studying competitors.
First of all, identify your direct competitors. Utilize tools like Buzzsumo to sort out most shared content regarding a specific topic, or SEMrush to seek content that ranks highest on search engines.
Besides content inspection, pay attention to aspects at which your competitors are performing excellently, for example, what type of messages they are delivering on their website, or how they create cross-sell and upsell etc. So, how to spy on your competitors?
Collect all materials published by your competitors: From website, flyers, saleskit etc.
Participate in their events.
Subscribe to follow their emails, you can check on the email account and content they often use.
Nothing guarantees your competitors are doing things in the best way. You shouldn’t “copycat” everything. Observe their tactics and use them to improve your business initiatives.
- TRACK AND ANALYZE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
If survey can tell you what consumers might want, behavior tracking helps you know what they TRULY want.
Tracking user behavior on website or their interaction with your emails allows you to recognize which marketing attempt is effective and how to adjust in the future.
Google Analytics is a tool showing exactly what actions visitors perform on your website, for example which content is viewed the most, which pages have the highest conversion rates etc. Email marketing sorftware like Mailchimp can support you to track the number of opened mails, clicks on the link, replies/forwards to evaluate which content is most interested by customers.
- CONDUCT DIRECT INTERVIEWS
Although there are a number of “indirect” ways to understand target customers, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting and discussion.
Having a talk or interviewing a customer in 45 minutes may help you realize many things about your own business that you have never noticed before. Direct interaction allows you to look for deeper
insights than reading online discussions or text surveys. It’s important to know how to make valuable questions and keep your interviewee comfortable and willing to answer. You can refer to a few techniques to design a questionnaire so as to extract insights, expectation and dissatisfaction of customers.
Without face-to-face interviews, you can also conduct a phone call interview. Only 10 phone talks may help you learn a lot to improve your products, services or come up with a good marketing plan.
Small enterprises often neglect on market research, thinking “we will do when we have budget, then we will outsource a biggest market research agency” or “it’s not that necessary”. However, you can always find a suitable way with your tiny budget, it’s never too soon to get knowing your customers.
There are many other market research techniques which will be revealed in the course about Market Research. Don’t miss out!
Contact: HOSHA Joint Stock Company Market Research services
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