Market research is vital to the survival of a business. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to break the bank and likely you are already conducting it without knowing you are. Here are some easy market research methods that won’t break the bank though for many of them I do recommend bringing in a marketer or coach to run them for you. If you do it yourself beware of Confirmation Bias (you really need to look this up) as it can be very costly and make your hard work useless or even damaging to your business. Here are 6 ways to conduct some easy market research.
See what your customers are already saying. This is an easy way to see what is being said in the open market about your product or service. Use reputable sites to get a feel for the mood around your brand but go with an open mind, reviews can be harsh.
ASK CUSTOMERS FOR FEEDBACK
Just ask. Find some loyal customers and some new customers and ask them directly what you are doing well and what you can work on. Use that feedback to ask better questions next time as well.
FORM YOUR OWN FOCUS GROUP
Focus groups can give you great insight especially into new possible product launches or new services you want to offer. Be careful they don’t turn into echo chambers as that can be costly and of no use to you.
SURVEY YOUR CONTACTS
Talk to people you know but not necessarily do business with. They can be a great outside eye for your business. Networking groups and alumni groups are perfect for getting a second opinion.
There are sites where you can get random strangers to weigh in on your product or service. If you don’t want to spend the money on guaranteed responses you can always go it alone using social media or just stand on a busy corner working the crowd with surveys.
Many platforms allow polls and you can boost many posts to reach outside your typical audience. You can also just do keyword searches to see what people are complaining about related to the industry you work in. It’s a treasure trove of data to be found.
One way to boost your sales is to provide free samples to potential customers. We have all see the people in the store handing out free tastes of various products but the sampling game can go much further than that. If you are in the food industry it is the perfect way to get customers to try your product and typically sees a 23-30% conversion rate, well worth the expense. Tastings can turn a “satisfied customer” into a “highly satisfied customer.” The difference here, according to a wine tasting study is “she (or he) is likely to spend an additional $10 buying an extra bottle of wine (with a probability of 93 percent), and to re-purchase wine in the future (92 percent probability).”
It’s not just for food. A yoga mat company sent out small examples of its economic and environmentally friendly Yoga Mats and in response to a mail-out of 500 samples, the company received a whopping 300 phone calls.
Here are some tips to help you get your sample game going.
1. Produce small samples of your products. – If you are in the restaurant business, they could be bite-size portions of a new product. Retail shops can purchase sample-size products from distributors to hand out to potential customers.
2. Attach a coupon, business card, or flier to your samples to further advertise your business. -This will provide an incentive for consumers to come back and purchase a full-size version of your product. This also increases the longevity of your marketing effort. When they see your card or flyer they will remember the goodwill created by giving them the sample.
3. Hire employees with good customer service skills to stand by the entrance of the business to pass out the samples. – Be sure they are friendly and can answer questions about the product. Having someone who doesn’t know the product as they give out samples can be disastrous so don’t skimp on the training.
4. Make note of what consumers say about your products or business as you’re handing out samples. – This is an opportunity to find out if you need to make any adjustments in price, appearance, taste, or effectiveness. Converting customers plus market research, it’s a win-win.
The numbers are in and traditional online marketing is out. There still may be a place for it in your marketing repertoire but if you aren’t looking at mobile marketing you are already behind the curve. A study by Pew Research center found that 45% of young adults do most of their internet browsing on their smartphones and ComScore found that 70% of digital media time is on mobile devices. Of course, these numbers get bigger every quarter so the trend is crystal clear, get mobile or go home.
Mobile marketing isn’t just about making websites mobile friendly anymore. Of course a mobile friendly site is the baseline and shouldn’t be overlooked but mobile marketing is so much more.
Why use email when texting is more effective? Research has shown that 98% of SMS messages are opened and they have a response rate of 45%. Email marketing has an open rate of 28-33% with a response rate of 6%. Some more people look at your message and more people respond, it’s a win win for marketers.
Mobile First Design
Most marketers are still stuck on clicking ads to get responses but phones can do so much more. Swipe to save, tilt to see more, pinch to respond, take a picture to see out filter. These are just a few of the options. What about camera enabled features in real time? People can literally find savings in your location. When you think about the phones functions over the web functionality the possibilities that open up are vast.
In App Advertising
Apps are already becoming a bit cliché but there is still potential here. In a survey of app game players, it was found that 67% of them said that they believed they should be offered a reward in return for watching or engaging with a mobile ads and videos. They also feel more positive about companies that provide these awards and the click through rate for such ads improves by 300%.
Location Based Ads
Deliver a coupon as a customer walks by your store. Direct customers to your store when they approach a competitor that had closed. Deliver an online offer when a customer walks into a competing store! Location based advertising is picking up steam. It’s been around since 2002 but marketers are just starting to get the hang of it. Make sure you aren’t left behind and are losing customers to marketing techniques you didn’t even know about.
To be honest, online marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. All of the online marketing systems I discount as inferior have their place in a properly run marketing campaign but you need to be aware the landscape is changing. Make sure you keep up with the trends.
Some of you found my site through a link on your phone. How did I do that? There is a new marketing tool out there called Asirvia which uses proximity advertising to deliver messages to people near me. It’s easy to stop such messages and isn’t intrusive but can be a huge benefit to those who network a lot (like me) or have a location they are trying to generate engagement at. Imagine if your customers got a coupon for just walking by your storefront or 30% of the people at a networking event got a link to your website even if they haven’t met you yet. It is a powerful tool and is getting results for me (and I’m not even an ideal case). Check it out for yourself. Warning, they used an MLM model for their distribution but I am not signed up for that part, I just wanted the device. The compensation looks sketchy and they have unrealistic numbers for how to get paid. My advice is to use the gadget and leave the “unlimited earning potential” alone.
We talked about power words so here are some words you want to leave out of your next marketing project. Using cliche phrases or language that doesn’t fit your brand should also be avoided. Remeber to think in your brand voice as you write your marketing campaigns.
Marketing is an ever-changing game. Old methods still work in most cases but you should always look for opportunities to work smarter and get your message across more effectively. Here are some of the current trends to watch.