21 Market Research Tips

Alyssa Gregory

In my last post, I outlined a few ways small business owners and freelancers can do their own market research. While it’s entirely possible to conduct your own research and collect meaningful data, you need a plan in order to be successful.

This post provides tips for making sure the time, energy and money you’re investing in your market research is well spent.

  1. Be clear about your objectives before beginning your market research.
  2. Identify your target audience, how many respondents you require and what data you are hoping to collect before beginning.
  3. Make sure your target group is relevant to your needs and represents the market you are targeting.
  4. Watch for and incorporate unsolicited feedback you receive on social networks or review sites.
  5. Say thank you to every single person who contributes to your research.
  6. Provide a place for open-ended comments on any survey that you use.
  7. Make it common practice to ask clients for suggestions at every interaction.
  8. Understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and format your questions accordingly.
  9. Review your surveys and questionnaires to ensure you’re not phrasing anything offensively.
  10. Develop a chart or graph from the data collected to make it easier to visually analyze the results.
  11. Record interviews or focus groups whenever possible for review and analysis.
  12. Don’t ignore criticism because you don’t want to hear it; it can be the most valuable feedback you receive.
  13. Ensure your survey is neutral and doesn’t involve leading questions.
  14. Make it quick and easy to complete your survey or questionnaire.
  15. Aim for a large enough sample group to give you meaningful data.
  16. Create your surveys and interviews so the focus is on measurable data.
  17. Follow surveys with a phone call or other personal contact to round out the answers provided, whenever possible.
  18. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients when writing your survey questions.
  19. Ensure that all participants will remain confidential to encourage participation.
  20. Be impartial throughout the whole process, or use an outside person to facilitate.
  21. Keep your mind open to new opportunities and needs that you didn’t consider before conducting your research.

What tips would you add to this list?

For more information on conducting effective market research: