How to do Market Research for Your Business (for Free)

How to do Market Research for Your Company for Free

“The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others”.  -John Locke

It feels like it’s all coming together, perfectly.

The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) you’ve been working on for months, is finally completed.
Now, do you launch it into the world and keep your fingers crossed that it’s a smash hit, with little to no feedback coming back to you, because it’s perfect from jump street?

We don’t think so.

If you’re going to improve on your product and make sure you are providing the services and features that will turn your customers into super fans, you need to know what they think NOW.

It’s called market, or customer, research.

You’ve asked your friends and family, but you’re a little suspicious of their, “This is cool. Great job”!
They love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. But that’s not going to help you in the short, or long, run.

You need REAL, in-depth, feedback.
Thanks anyway guys…

That’s where market research comes in.
We’re going to go over some quick ways to do market research and find out the exact phrases your customers use to describe their problems.

Don’t worry. No fancy tools needed.

You’re going to be so good at this, that when you finally write your sales page, your customers will say, “It’s like they’re reading my mind”.

Part I: Quora & Twitter

“Twitter is the ‘water cooler’ of the internet. Quora is used to connect with the crowd you wish you knew in college and grad school”.

People love to complain online and people love to give advice (whether you ask for it or not).
Let’s take advantage of both of these scenarios for our market research.

ON THE ADVICE SIDE:

Quora is a great community of people ITCHING to give you detailed instruction on your query. 
You can the pick the brains of people from around the world, from life questions to business decisions.

The community is understanding, intellectual and doesn’t mind looking at a problem from a different perspective”. – Vedaant Arya

Let’s say that you have a store that sells custom designer leggings.

Step 1) Type in the broad term ‘leggings’ and see what pops up.

strikingly customer research
9 times out of 10 your question has been answered by someone, thoroughly, before.
There is nothing new under the sun. And thank goodness for that.

Step 2) Now look through ALL of the responses.

  • What are their complaints? (i.e., the seams came loose after the first wash)
  • What do they praise about certain brands? (i.e., the color hasn’t faded and I’ve had this pair for 3 years)
  • What is their biggest worry about their purchase? (i.e., for the price I’m paying, it better not shrink)
  • What stories did they tell about their experience using a certain brand? (i.e., the pair that I ordered online was too big. I contacted customer support, they were QUICK to answer, and they let me switch them out – no extra charge (!!!). And they were in my mailbox 2 days later. Damn. Awesome-sauce!)

After reading through the comments a bit, you’ll start to notice a pattern.
You’ll notice that each person is using the same terms, for praise or complaint, over and over again.

At this point YOU SHOULD BE TAKING NOTES!

Afterwards, you need to think:
Does your product/service add to these problems or take away from them?

If it adds to these problems, you have work to do – and fast!
If it takes away from these problems – well…well done.

Twitter, The Water Cooler of the Internet:

In a post we did a few months back, one of the 31 entrepreneurs we interviewed used Twitter to do his market research through hashtag strategy.

“…what makes Twitter such a great informational tool is that instant pulse”. -Simon Owens

You can:

Conduct Polls and Surveys
Completing a survey takes time – so some people don’t look forward to filling it out.
With Twitter Polls, with one click, they’re done. And they most likely had a little fun with it too.

strikingly market research
Hashtag Research
Use the free tool RiteTag to find out if the hashtag you’re using is hot right now, if the hashtag is evergreen, overused, or not used at all.

strikingly market research

Type in that hashtag, in Twitter, and read the comments.

Remember what we did before in Quora?
Yup! You’re going to do the same thing and take note of the complaints and praises.

You can even do the same research to check out your competition.

What are people saying about them?
Complaints or Super Fans?
Ripe for a direct message from you or they seem happy with their provider right now?

Part II: Ask Them

A few weeks back, after revamping our blog a few months ago, we were looking at the stats and noticed that barely anyone was opening our emails or engaging with the content.

strikingly customer research

So, we sent them an email with the subject line: Are we pissing you off?
(something to grab their attention and, fingers crossed, respond)

In it we asked them:

What is the most relevant thing you want to learn, right now, in growing your business or brand?”

We honestly wanted to know their pain points so we could better serve up the material that would help them with their endeavors.
We laid out some options for them and asked them to hit ‘reply’ with their responses.

And they answered!
We read and replied to every single response, and guess what? We noticed some commonalities in their answers.

So we wrote them down, scratched our original content calendar, and have started to create a new one around what our users wanted to see more of.

Conclusion

“The world is, after all, indifferent to what we humans “want”.
-Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

So whether it’s:

  • In your automated ‘Thank you for signing up! What’s your biggest painpoint?’ email.
  • Having a sit down with a user who has either used your product or your competitors.
  • Or using the social media spectrum, for market research

There is no reason not to get the perspective from your customers point of view.

And for crying out loud, THANK THEM for giving you such honest feedback! BE GRATEFUL!

They just saved you a lot of guessing work and now you’re getting to the CORE of what their actual problems are and not what you think they are.

After all, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

  • Hi Gigi

    I agree that thorough market research is the foundation of a successful marketing campaign.

    I love the part when you write that you want your customers to say, “It’s like they’re reading my mind.”

    That’s the point I’m aiming for every time I start a project.

    I really like your twitter poll idea. I’ll add it to my tool kit.

    Clement

    • Thanks Clement!

      When you get your audience to say, “Yes. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! You’re solving this ridiculous problem for me – FINALLY! It’s like you’re reading my mind!” – that’s the time to do a short happy dance. Haha! -Gigi