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Jan 2, 2016

6 DIY Market Research Methods For The Budget Conscious

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Any business owner worth his salt knows that market research is an important component of achieving long-term success and winning loyal customers.

Regardless of whether you operate a large business spanning across several continents, a small mom and pop store down the road, or an e-commerce website, conducting market research is one of the best ways for you to gain insight into consumer behavior, which in turn will help determine your next strategic business move.

A limited budget is no excuse not to do market research. If you’re unable to hire a team of experts right now, there are a number of ways and methods you can still use to get the benefits of a good market research effort. It doesn't have to make a dent in the bottom line.

Here are a few methods those with tight purse strings can try now.

1. Take a closer look at your competitor’s marketing approach

Evaluate your competitor’s marketing approach and compare it against your own to find out what your customers prefer and what they are attracted to the most.

Make a list of what your competitors do differently. Do they have lower price points? Free shipping? Great customer service? Loyalty cards? Money back guarantees? Quarterly discounts?

Show this list to a handful of your most loyal customers — 10 to 20 should be enough, and ask which specific features they like from competitors or your method.

Ask for feedback. Use this to decide which to change in your current tactic and whether you should stick with it, and then iterate.

2. Use your database

The customer insight you need might be right there on your records, waiting to be discovered. Your database can help you figure out who your ideal customer is, and what makes them different or special.

Start by identifying three common traits among your current customers. Profile them.
To use Seth Godin’s term, this is your “tribe,” and the more you know about their needs and wants, the better you’ll be in solving their most pressing concerns.

3. Send one question surveys to subscribers

Email is a wonderful thing, and if you’re website that has been around long enough to gain some followers, why not send them a quick market research question?

The key here is to keep it simple and easy. No 100-page lengthy essay type questionnaires, just one or two questions they can just as easily send back to you.

Email 20 or more subscribers that you can keep track of, and use it and gather everything to add, revise, or improve your current marketing approach.


4. Examine and test your marketing materials

If you have an ongoing campaign or several marketing collaterals that you’re using, go out there and get feedback from others.

Reach out to customers, colleagues, employees, partners, and collaborators. Ask if the message was clear? What pops out in the collaterals? Does it excite them or not?

5. Set up an online community

Start creating an online platform through your website or use one or several social media accounts to create a community.

Engage with followers and take note of any feedback. Community management is one of the least expensive ways to get a window into what customers think and feel about your brand, and get direct feedback from your most loyal customers.

6. Recruit marketing students

This is a win-win strategy, if there ever was one, you’ll get to test your approach and employ budding marketers on the one hand, while the students get to fulfil their school requirements and can benefit from exploring marketing theories on an actual business.

Social media and modern technology are powerful but inexpensive tools that are readily available and can easily be used to conduct market research on your own.

It might take a bit more effort on your end, but the benefits you can gain are tremendous, and not to mention the amount of money you can save if your business is currently on a tight budget.

If you use the insight you gain from your research to create winning business strategies, chances are, your financial position will change for the better sooner than you’ve imagined.

Author Bio:
Alleli Aspili is a Senior Specialist for Business Development in Infinit Outsourcing, Inc. (Infinit-O), an ISO-certified BPO company that caters inbound call center, finance and accounting and healthcare outsourcing to SMEs. Responsible for maintaining Infinit-O, Infinit Contact, Infinit Healthcare, Infinit Datum and Infinit Accounting online brand and content.

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