9 Tools for Better Market Research Jonathan Herrick With the growing demand for personalization, it’s never been more important to leverage market research in your marketing efforts. Uncovering key insights into your ideal buyer and your customers can be the difference between growing your business or steering a sinking ship. But where do you start with your research process? With so many tools and data out, there it can be overwhelming. The good news is that the harrowing process of conducting market research is about to get way easier for you. But before we share the top tools for improving your research game, let’s give a quick rundown of what market research entails. Types of Market Research There are a ton of ways to get the intel you need for your marketing. Before you can pick the best tool for the job, it’s wise to identify what you’re hoping to achieve – and whether you need primary or secondary research. When it comes to marketing, primary research includes activities like: Surveys Gathering and analyzing data A/B Testing Observing users/customers in the field Focus groups Conducting interviews Secondary research is anything you didn’t gather or develop on your own, like: Statistics Reports Studies Reading online articles Now, whether you’re launching a product, preparing an ad campaign, exploring new markets for your service, or collecting feedback on one of your offerings, here are nine tools to strengthen your market research process. #1: Google Surveys Google Surveys is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a tool for market researchers to create surveys and deliver them to highly targeted demographic groups. You can further target specific audiences by adding screening questions to your survey, like, “are you an online advertising professional?” or, “are you an iPhone user?” You pay on a per-completed-survey basis, and the actual cost varies depending on your target market, length of survey, number of screening questions, and other key data. According to the Google Surveys pricing page, if you’ve created a survey that contains 5 questions, you might pay anywhere between $1 and $10 per completed survey. What we like: Google incentivizes internet users from all over the world to answer these surveys by giving them access to high-quality content in exchange. As a marketer, utilizing this service gives you access to highly-targeted respondents from all over the world. Image courtesy of SurveyMonkey #2: SurveyMonkey SurveyMonkey has been around since the nineties, and it’s used by businesses from enterprise to SMB. It allows users to create branded surveys with various types of questions, from thousands of tested templates. Beyond collecting data, Survey Monkey has a suite of tools to help you analyze data, predict the success of different types of surveys, collaborate with teams, and more. What we like: It’s more than just a survey generator, it’s a whole slew of data gathering and analysis tools. Image courtesy of FocusGroupIt #3: FocusGroupIt If you already have a solid mailing list and online social network, FocusGroupIt makes it easy to put together online focus groups. Just devise a few questions, send a secure link to your lists, and watch the feedback trickle in. The downside is that you’ll need to provide your own focus group members, since the tool doesn’t aggregate these for you. What we like: This tool is free, and you can have your groups open as long as you’d like — which can be great for getting long-term, deep feedback about a product or service. Image courtesy of Social Media Examiner #4: Social Mention Need to know what people are saying or doing, in relation to a specific product, company, or idea? Social Mention scours the internet — looking through Twitter, YouTube, Google, Facebook, and more– to capture the “buzz” about any particular topic. It shares the overall sentiment that users have about your topic, along with top related keywords. This tool is great for researching how your potential customers feel about a specific topic, or if you’re a big company, it’s good for measuring the overall sentiment toward your brand. What we like: In addition to being free, this tool is great for its ease of use. Just visit the site, type your keywords, and get a nice, detailed report on that subject. #5: U.S. Census Website Though it may take a bit of digging to find exactly what you’re looking for, the U.S. Census website is the go-to resource for key data about market conditions, buyer behavior, and the general economic pulse of the U.S. If you visit the “Business” section of the site, you can browse data by sector, geography, or special topic (for example, small business, e-commerce, or minority-owned businesses). What we like: It’s free, and the data is more reliable than you might find on some third-party research sites. #6: SEMrush SEMrush is a search engine marketing tool that analyzes what people are searching for in relation to any given topic. It’s great for discovering what people what to know about different topics, and is bound to lead to content creation and product development breakthroughs when used to its full potential. It’s also especially fantastic for competitive research in the digital space, revealing what draws users to your competitors’ sites, how they rank for certain keywords, and where they’re getting backlinks from. What we like: It’s a killer tool for content marketing, and an especially powerful tool if SEO is a big part of your strategy. It also comes with a ton of other benefits and add-ons to make every stage of your marketing process easier – from research to content production, to measurement and refining of campaigns. Image courtesy of Questback #7: Questback Questback is an end-to-end market research tool that leverages information from your employees, customers, and the market at large to give you a 360 view of your business. It supports survey making, focus group management, and provides both qualitative and quantitative analysis. What we like: It’s an all-in-one solution, so if you want to do all of your research with one tool, this might be the one. #8: Pew Research Center The go-to for secondary research, Pew provides data on just about everything you can imagine. From global and demographic trends to religion, science, and technology, Pew provides reports, statistics, and articles to inform your marketing strategy and strengthen your marketing content — all sourced from reliable writers, social scientists, and other professionals. What we like: In addition to providing a wealth of interesting stats and facts, Pew’s “Experts” section gives you access to experts in various industries. Image courtesy of AYTM #9: AYTM (Ask Your Target Market) AYTM is a survey creation and market research tool that boasts responses to your surveys within minutes of submitting them. It offers detailed survey targeting, and gives you access to over 40 million potential survey respondents across the world. It also features easy-to-use survey building with an extremely user-friendly design. What we like: It offers both free and paid models, serving as a solution for businesses of all sizes.