Many small businesses, both small and large, make usually introduce new products or services without gaining any feedback from their audience. This is similar to shooting in the dark, as an entrepreneur can waste a lot of time and money building a product that nobody wants. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or have a small team of individuals looking to make your stamp on the world – the first step before any sales are conducted is to perform some market research. We are also going to give you some incredible tips on how you can validate your idea to make sure that it is profitable before you even spend a dime!
#1 – Cold E-mailing & Follow-Up Calls
This is one of the most powerful market research strategies and one that has personally worked wonders for many solo entrepreneurs and teams all around the world. The concept is more for people who are selling business to business goods, as it is quite difficult to obtain the e-mails of individual consumers.
- Choose your demographic or industry that you are targeting
- Find the e-mails of the decision makers
- Send these decision makers a short and sweet e-mail saying that you are “performing research to make their industry better”.
- Once they reply, try to schedule a phone call to do a one-on-one interview.
The same thing can be done with LinkedIn. You may think that this method is not very acceptable, however, if you come off as a person who is trying to serve their industry (which you are), then they will be more obliged to help. You may want to assure the business owner that the goal of the call isn’t to be a “sneaky salesman”, and that it is purely for research purposes.
Hint: There are many apps on the Android and iPhone marketplace that allow you to record the calls. Just use one of these tools and record the call for future purposes! This can pay big dividends as you will be able to review calls, take notes, and to discover common problems in the business.
#2 – Social Media Market Research
Social media is the king of performing market research as one will be able to target specific demographics and know whether or not their idea is valid. Do you have an idea or product that you think may work? Here’s something that you can do in order to see some quick results:
- Create a product idea
- Select a demographic in which you think the product idea will appeal to.
- Create a quick landing page by going to Unbounce.com. Hint: On this landing page, it is wise to put your unique value position in the headline of the landing page.
- Sign-up with Aweber, and attach it to Unbounce.com; you want to give your users a chance to sign up.
- Use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter Advertising to run an ad campaign and to have a sign-up list
- Message this list to see if they would be interested in purchasing your product, or you can run surveys to find out how much they would be willing to pay for this specific product
If you do not get many sign-ups with the first ad, just keep tweaking the ad by running different hypothesis. These can be things such as changing the color of the advertisement, using different fonts, deleting one word, etc. One small change can have a profound effect on your advertising. After performing many tests, if users still aren’t signing up, then it may not be a great product. If you still believe in the product, keep tweaking the unique value proposition or find a new problem related to the target market.
#3 – Get Out the Building!
Going out into the streets and surveying people is something that takes a lot of guts, however, if you get over your fear of approaching random people in crowded areas (and getting over the risk getting kicked out), this can be one of the most fruitful things that any business can do. You will know exactly how people deem your product. Some of the questions to ask these people are:
- Is this a problem?
- On a scale from 1 to 10 how painful is this problem?
- Have you tried searching for a solution with this issue?
- What would happen if you weren’t able to solve this concern?
- How would it help if you were able not worry about this issue?
#4 – Going to Communities and Asking Them About Their Problems
So you’re not ready to go out and perform this type of research. Maybe it’s just you, and you don’t want to be a “creep” asking people about their personal lives. Although getting out of the building is by far the best way to conduct market research in a short amount of time, you can still do the same thing by going to online communities and asking people about their problems. It’s simple concept, which is why this section is the shortest on here. Simply go to the community, and post a topic asking business owners or consumers what they want in a new product.
#5 – Conducting Surveys
Have you ever seen those paid survey opportunities online? “Get paid for your opinion!” Newsflash, some of these opportunities are actually legitimate. Companies spend billions of dollars every single year attempting to perform a great deal of market research to get ahead of their competition. Now, instead of being the consumer that does the surveys, you get to be the head honcho that conducts them. Surveys aren’t so much great for validating a product or testing whether to launch a new product. Surveys are great for things such as testing pricing, viewing the perception of your product market, testing brand awareness, etc. These surveys can give the business owner excellent insight on hypothesis to experiment with!
Bonus – Tools You Can Use to Help You Out
Of course, we weren’t just going to let you leave without giving you some awesome market research tools to use!
Survey Monkey – This is by far the most popular survey platform online today. It is possible for users to access your surveys via link, Facebook, website embed, e-mail, or even on your blog. Furthermore, you will get instant feedback on the results of each survey. If you want to motivate people to take these surveys, sweeten the deal by giving them a $5-$10 gift card to Starbuck’s. Most people would appreciate some compensation for their time.
Aytm – This is by far one of the most useful tools online as you will be able to reach out to a database of over 20 million people. One of the best aspects about this solution is that one will have the ability to target specific demographics by age, gender, relationship, income, etc. Furthermore, you will be able to get results in a quick turnaround. This is most useful for businesses who target consumers, as opposed to business to business.
Join.Me – This screen sharing tool can work wonders for a person who is attempting to share their ideas with others. This tool is very useful if you’ve already performed a fair share of market research, and simply want to confirm the problem with others through charts and illustrations to better communicate the problem. Furthermore, this tool can also be used to perform price research via showing the potential customer a product and asking how much they perceive the value (price) to be. This is a form of value based pricing – which offers the highest potential margin of profit.
Landing page optimization is one of the biggest strategies concerning market research. Even better, hiring a firm to tweak landing page design for your business whether you are performing market research, or simply looking to increase sales – can actually save you a lot of money and hardship in the long-term. Use the above advice when learning how to do market research, and you’ll make your business profitable, faster.