I’m a member of every blogging, business and branding Facebook group under the sun and lately I’ve noticed a trend in all of them. Every single day, someone in the group pops up asking for advice, opinions or responses to their Survey Monkey questionnaire. I adore how eager everyone is to lend a helping hand and voice their opinion. That’s why I’m a part of these groups in the first place – the culture is supportive and empowering – but I’m also concerned…
Business owners and entrepreneurs are using these groups as a location for important market research and I’m worried they haven’t thought it through thoroughly. Market research can be great when you’re doing it strategically, but getting it wrong can cost you time, energy and money. So here are three points to consider when you’re implementing your own market research:
In-depth answers from a person who actually purchases from you can be so much more valuable than the responses you receive from twenty people who just want to give their two cents. You’ve all seen those posts in Facebook groups where a person will ask a question and 100 responses will follow. First up, how amazing and generous is that? People are willing to take their time to respond and help a sister out. Lady bosses killing it!
But in terms of conducting market research, this might not be the best approach. Are those responses from people in your target market? Are they too invested in the problem? For example, people generally respond to survey questions that they highly agree or disagree with and this can create skewed results. Survey bias is hard to combat but definitely be aware that it exists and be clever when analysing the responses.
There are a lot of different ways to gather market research and it doesn’t have to involve a survey questionnaire. In fact, it can be far more simple than that. Are you part of a Facebook group that is full of your ideal clients? Why don’t you test out your skills in observation? You don’t have to do anything other than watch what other people are doing and identify common themes. Are people asking similar questions or perhaps they all want help in a certain area? I can assure you that observation often leads to uncovering some important truths about your target audience. Just remember to let go of the idea that you already know everything about your audience and be prepared to dig up some surprising insights.
There needs to be a ‘perceived value’ for someone to fill out your survey, but this doesn’t always have to be a monetary gain. Just show your participants that you appreciate their efforts. For example, a couple of years ago, Collective Hub gave away a copy of their diary to everyone who filled out a survey. Because they showed that they truly valued my responses, I put extra thought and effort into completing the survey (as I’m sure a lot of other women did too!) So how can you show your audience that you value their help?
I don’t believe that market research needs to be a hard and expensive task, but I do believe that if you’re going to give it a go, you should put in an extra bit of effort in order to ensure that the responses are crystal clear and useful to move forward.