As a business, you know that research is important to your success. After all, if you don’t know who your customers are or what they think about your products and/or services, you likely won’t be successful.
Every company dabbles in market research at some point or another, but some companies have the large budget to conduct massive research that other companies simply cannot afford.
If you’re limited to a smaller budget, don’t think that market research is out of the question. The following are four market research tips for the business on a budget.
1. Conduct Customer Surveys
A customer survey is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to perform market research. You can create an online survey and email the link to your customers. You can place the survey on the back of your receipts. You could print out a physical survey and ask your customers to fill it out in house. Or you could even conduct an in-person interview of customers that visit your store.
Once you have all of the data, it’s important that you take the time to go through it all and track it. This way, you will learn more about your customers (such as age, gender, and income) as well as how they feel about your company, products or services.
2. Have a Round Table Discussion
A round table discussion is another great market research tool that’s relatively cheap to perform. Find a handful of customers that are willing to participate by asking customers who visit your store, sending out emails or even making phone calls. Once you have enough, generally between 5 and 10, you can hold your round table. Be aware that while some customers may be willing to participate just to help, others may expect some type of compensation, so you may find it easier to retrieve enough people for your discussion with an incentive.
You will need a moderator in the group to lead the discussion and take notes. This way, the discussion will stay on track, and you’ll have a recording of what your customers said about your company, products or services.
3. Spy on your Competition
Sometimes the best market research is knowing what you’re up against. If you want to perform market research with a limited budget, consider spying on your competition. First, take a look at their website to see how it’s designed, what they feature and how much they charge. Then take a look at their social media presence or other online marketing tools to get a feel for what they’re doing that you’re not or vice versa.
Once you’ve checked them out online, do some secret shopping. Visit their store to see how it’s set up and what their prices are. Check out how their staff interacts with you, and take note of anything they offer that you don’t. Once you have a handle on the competition, you’ll be able to adjust your efforts effectively.
4. Record your Data
You obviously need to use the data you collect to learn more about your customers and business, so make sure you record it. Not only should you write it down somewhere, but you should also consider using an audio recorder. This way, you don’t have to worry about deciphering notes at a later date and instead have a hard copy of the verbatim discussions, surveys, etc.
Plus, since data entry and transcription are time consuming, you can have the audio files professionally transcribed to save you valuable time. Transcription services have the expertise to accurately transcribe your audio for a very low cost, so you can focus on your job while allowing another professional to do the busy work.
Guest Author: Lizzie Lau is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant with SEOMap.com. Lizzie combines personal opinions and research to create appealing and informative articles on various topics.