As a business owner, your natural instinct may be to expand your operations and scale your business. However, not all business owners put in the required efforts and dedication to attain this goal, making a difference. Regardless of the business size or the industry you operate in, you must invest adequate time and resources in the essential processes, market research being one of them.
Market research is a significant process that can make or break your small business. If done right, you may experience success like never before; otherwise, things can go downhill. The importance of market research is no mystery! Therefore, conducting productive market research can accelerate the growth of your small business.
Importance of Market Research for Your Small Business
Market research helps identify and analyze essential information that can guide your future business operations. You get an understanding of the target audience's needs, untapped markets, competitors and strategies, and the ideas that work and produce desired results.
Some reasons to conduct market research include:
- Understand the Consumers’ Preferences and the Market
- Explore New Markets and Target Audiences
- Have a Thorough Understanding of the Competitors and Their Actions
- Identify New Opportunities to Increase Revenue
- Determine What Works and What Does Not
- Uncover Trends
- Brainstorm Ways to Generate Traffic
- Develop Effective Strategies
- Identify Prospects
- Develop an Effective and Efficient Business Model
Steps to Conduct Market Research for Your Small Business
Conducting small business market research using the secondary research method is ideal, as it is cost-effective, productive, and less time-consuming. Follow the below-mentioned steps when conducting market research for your business:
- Determine the primary objective of research and the ultimate goal.
- Shortlist all the resources you want to use, like industry data, reports, competitors’ information, etc.
- Gather the data
- Combine and mold all the data in the most useable format
- Analyze all the data and look for the solutions to the questions you defined at the beginning. If you cannot find them, look for other resources and restart the process.
The secondary research method is a pretty straightforward process that is most likely to bring success to your table. All you have to do is set questions and employ different techniques to find the answers to those questions. If you follow this process, you will uncover all the growth opportunities.
How Frequently Should You Conduct Market Research?
Ideally, due to the dynamic market forces and frequent fluctuation in consumer behavior, conducting market research every two weeks is a feasible plan to get a competitive edge and for stable growth. Otherwise, you will be vulnerable to threats and not likely to stay abreast with the trends. Regular market research will help you explore new opportunities faster than competitors.
Small Business Market Research Tools You Can Use
Here's a list of some invaluable market research tools for your small business:
1. Online Surveys
Businesses can utilize various online survey tools that are easy to use, affordable, and help understand the customers and their preferences. You can share these online surveys through tools like Survey Monkey,Ā Typeform, and DashClicks' Forms app, customer mailing lists, websites, or social media channels.
It is an online library of academic research papers and publications. Through Dimensions.ai, You get access to various authoritative publications to help you make better decisions.
3. Answer the Public
It is a free website that helps you determine the most commonly asked questions about a specific topic online. Answer the public can help you develop your content strategy, introduce new offerings, and modify your website content.
Most content marketers use this tool for conducting market research for small businesses. BuzzSumo helps you understand the consumer needs and content they like the most and engage with. You can set up alerts for industry-relevant keywords, comments, or social mentions.
5. Digital Intelligence Software
You can use tools like the DashClicks' Analytics app to conduct market research for your small business. It can analyze any website's or app's performance and help you understand its performance in terms of traffic source, reach, and size.
6. Think With Google
It helps uncover and analyze the target audience's insights and characteristics.
Tips for Small Business Market Research
Below are some easy tips for doing small business market research!
1. Consider Your Direct and Indirect Competitors
You should know what your competitors are doing and act accordingly. While conducting market research for your small business, you might miss out on indirect competitors and overlook them. However, the fact that their target audience is similar to yours makes it imperative to perform their competitive analysis to avoid missing out on potential audiences.
2. Develop a Framework
While conducting market research for your small business, you gather a lot of information and data, which can be cumbersome to process. Therefore, develop a framework with a specific outline that will help you keep your information structured and organized in an easy-to-understand visual model.
3. Formulate the Right Strategy
Post-pandemic, the number of small businesses has been rapidly increasing, making the entire business space competitive. However, formulating the right strategy for your small business enables you to invest your time and efforts in processes that will help you generate greater revenue. Choose strategies that will boost the traffic of your website and online shops. You can compare your traffic vs. your competitors in the industry.
4. Connect With the Audience
With so many small businesses, consumers have numerous options to choose from. Customer is the king, and you should treat them likewise only. You should mold your offerings to address their needs and offer value to them. It will help you connect and build a sustainable relationship with them.
5. Study Your Audience
Do a comprehensive analysis of your target audience to understand their needs, wants, shopping behavior, demographics, and other characteristics. You can use Similarweb to gain these valuable insights about your audience. Then, study the data you get and accordingly alter all your activities. For instance, if you find out that your audience prefers seamless customer service, invest in that. Make sure you deliver the best customer service to them. It will boost your small business's growth and success. You should have all the essential knowledge about your target audience in order to develop effective strategies.
6. Study Your Market
Market trends and forces are highly dynamic in nature and keep changing constantly. Therefore, it is imperative to look out for these changes and trends to help you overcome the threats and grab valuable opportunities. Always analyze the trends in your industry and keep a tab on all the top players. Determine where they get their maximum traffic from and keep track of the changes.
Market research will help you understand the impact of changes and act accordingly. For instance, lately, users want to engage with businesses through their apps. Therefore, you should also develop apps with an excellent user experience to succeed.
Note: You can also work with a white label company to make things easier and allow yourself the time to focus on other core competencies.
Market research is essential for the growth and success of every small business. It offers uncountable benefits in the short-run and small-run. Research produces a lot of reliable data, which can help you make informed decisions for the business to sustain. You can build your own data library and grow your business. Therefore, you should understand the importance of market research and invest your time and efforts into it.