Your favorite brand sends out a quick quiz after you’ve bought something from their online shop. It’s a short survey asking for your feedback on the newest product you’ve just bought and they want to know what you think!
You may not know this, but they’re conducting market research for their brand!
Market research can be done in various ways for different goals. You can use market research to validate a business idea, service, or offer. It can also be used to see what type of content your audience is looking for. Or you can use it to understand what is trending within your industry.
The common misconception with market research is that it is hard to get people to respond to your questions. This can be the case depending on how you approach market research for your content or services.
40% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. (HubSpot, 2018)
In this post, we’ll walk you through a 5-step process for market research that can be applied to anything! It won’t be daunting or boring (we kinda, promise), as long as you adapt it to work for your brand!
Market Research Process for Small Businesses
We believe that the market research process for small businesses can be simplified and streamlined so that you can receive the best answers to verify your idea. Most market research processes start with deciding how you will conduct market research, either through a survey, getting on calls, using social media, or researching keywords.
Instead of deciding first HOW to approach market research, we want to take it a few steps back and understand WHAT your market research will be used for. By deciding the goal of the market research, it is easier to design a campaign that will yield better results.
Step one: Decide what your market research goal is
Like we mentioned before, market research can be applied to various parts of your business:
- Customer satisfaction
- Service validation
- Understanding your target audience or ideal buyer
- Seeing where you can improve your systems
- And more…
But, not all market research efforts will be approached in the same way depending on the goal you have.
The first step to market research, we believe, is to set the goal and intention of the research. Some questions to guide you:
- What will the data be used for?
- What will the data support?
- How will this information impact your business? Will this information be shared internally or externally?
- Will the data be used for your back-end systems or for your front-end marketing?
Step two: Create a layout of where you will conduct your research
Once you’ve decided on the goal of your market research and what you will do with the data, the next step is to create a layout of where (and how) you will conduct your research.
This can be creating a template for:
- Keyword research
- Researching trends
- Market research calls
Based on your goals, you’ll know what type of questions you want to ask your audience to better understand what they’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for market research regarding customer satisfaction, some questions you can include are:
- Where did you find our business? (This connects to your marketing efforts and where you’re being found.)
- What part of our message resonated with you? (This connects to your branding and what’s attracting your ideal clients.)
- What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently facing? (This connects back to the types of services you offer and what they believe can help them.)
We recommend having at least 6-10 questions for market research so that you can cover all aspects. In step two, you can decide how you will reach out to people for market research and what they’ll receive in return for providing their feedback.
PRO TIP: Always reward people for their time and feedback as a way to say thank you! They took their time to help YOUR BUSINESS improve!
Step three: Get creative with how you do research
As digital marketing becomes more and more popular (especially through social media), people are becoming smarter to generic marketing tactics.
What does that mean for market research? People are more particular with who they “help”! Which ultimately, when someone shares their feedback and opinion to you, they’re ultimately helping your business thrive, even if your main goal is to help them in the long run.
Step three of the market research process is to GET CREATIVE with how you do your research! Using different forms of market research for your audiences is one of those ways to get creative.
For example, people will consume your content different on each platform. Your audience who’s subscribed to your email newsletter has a different relationship with you than your audience in your Facebook group. If you’re able to create multiple ways to collect your research, the better!
PRO TIP: Use polls, questions, and the DM feature on Instagram to do your market research! Then take those same questions and create it in a survey to send out to your newsletter!
Step four: Analyze the data
After collecting the data, it’s time for the fun part… ANALYZING WHAT YOU’VE COLLECTED!
In this step, you’ll want to keep track of things that were repeatedly shared, what people prefer or dislike, and what people are looking from you. Create a separate document to house your data and make your own assumptions based on the information you collected.
For us, these are a few details we keep track of when we do market research:
- Any repetitions in short or long-form answers from our audience
- Specific words that were said multiple times
- How people interact with our brand
- Where they like to consume our content
- What they’re looking for from us (either content, services, or products)
Step five: Update and tweak your strategy
Finally, once you’ve collected and analyzed your data, it’s time to update and tweak your strategy based on the results! Based on the goal you’ve set in Step One of this market research process, you can update and tweak your strategy accordingly.
This could mean updating your client process, back-end systems, marketing efforts, or even your website copy!
How to put your market research together
Now that we’ve reviewed the 5-step process for market research for your small business, let’s recap them one more time!
- Decide what your market research goal is
- Create a layout of where you will conduct your research
- Get creative with how you do your research
- Analyze the data
- Update and tweak your strategy
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Once you have the process written out and gone through, you can keep this within your marketing department, so your team knows exactly how to approach market research in a not boring or daunting way! This also shows your audience that you’re open to their feedback, you want to include them in your process, and your impact is enhanced by their help.
Do you have a market research process you use? What’s part of yours?
Want to work together on your content marketing? Ready to hand off your market research to a content marketing strategy who believes in your impact and mission as much as you do? We can help!
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