Being successful isn’t easy. It always involves working hard, being smart, and having a bit of luck. Whatever business you run, researching the market where youoperate as well as the whole industry is vital for its success. There are initially two types of research:

  • Primary research.
    It involves analyzing the effectiveness of sales, the methodsof increasing the quality of products or services, the feedback from the customers, the competitors’ business plans, etc.
  • Secondary research.
    It’s a thorough investigation of different kinds of the available data with the goalof further analysis of this information and its usage for improving your business strategy.

So, any company needs more than a good business research plan. Implementing a comprehensive external marketing research study is another significant step to successful enterprise.

If you’rean owner of a small business, now you might be thinking that it’s overly costly to hire a pro and pay them for collecting different sorts of information about your market. Indeed, it’s not necessarily so. There are literary hundreds of easy-to-use online tools that can be used even by a person without a degree in marketing. What’s more – many of them are in open access.

On the contrary, if your companybelongs tosome of the largest businesses in your country or even on the continent, if you already have a team of professionals that conduct an analysis of market research for you, and if you have enough money for a high-budget research plan, it’s still would be a good idea to get familiar with these tools. It may appear to be very useful.

Online Market Research Tools for Everyone

All the resources and tools in each category described below will be equally effective both for local start-uppers and for owners of global companies. Be sure to free up some gap in your schedule to study them carefully.

Keyword Search

This category involves researching and analyzing what people type as their search queries. When you know what they look for, you’ll be able to improve your product in a way that it will meet the needs of a potential consumer better. Let’s take a look at some example.

EduBirdie is an academic writing agency. The services they provide are in high demand on today’s market, which can be seen by studying the keywords related to this field. If their market research specialists investigate this issue, they might see what kinds of academic papers are needed more. Basing on this information, the company can make changes in the list of services it offers. Besides, the keyword search can also help improve the SEO strategy, which is crucial for any business in order to boost sales.

Wordtracker is one of the best services for keyword search. It works great for any purpose related to optimizing content and driving more traffic with a focus on a target audience. After a free trial, you choose one of the three pricing plans that differ in terms of the options available. Your business will grow if you use this tool wisely.

Ubersuggest is another helpful toolin this category. It will definitely come in handy when you lack the inspiration and can’t think of more keywords ideas. After you enter any keyword, you’ll see a rather big list of new phrases and words in alphabetical order absolutely free, and you can use them in your SEO strategy.

Online Surveys

Let’s move on to the next category. Knowing how to do a market research with the help of survey questionnaires is a goodway to learn more about the needs of your potential and existing customers. According to one survey, people don’t like to be interviewed about a service or a product on the street or by phone. However, online surveysappeared to be more effective. Besides, there are many ways to make them more targeted and get higher results, while person-to-person and phone surveys mostly involve interviewing a random sampling of a population.

There are some websites that act as full-service platforms for surveying people online. They help researchers get direct feedback from potential consumers at rather cheap prices. One of them is Ask Your Target Market, or AYTM. It’s a platform with about 25 million of respondents from 24 countries. The company’s services are really affordable and vary from creating questionnaires for your audience to receiving professional consultation and help with a final report.

SurveyMonkey can also help you identify what people like, what they need, how they find your services and products, etc. Moreover, you can use the tools not only for external researches but alsofor internal ones. You can send a survey to your employees and find out how they feel about working in your company.

Social Sharing Study

This category becomes more important with the social media popularity that keeps on growing every day. There’s hardly a person today that uses the Web but doesn’t have any profiles on social networking platforms. People enjoy sharing. Besides, they share what they like as much as what they dislike, so the information a researcher can get from studying these shares may be of a great value.

With the help of social sharing study tools, you’ll be able to monitor the activity of your audience and analyze people’s behavior and opinions concerning either your industry in general or your company in particular. Basing on this data, you’ll make more informed business decisions.

There’s a tool worthy of being mentioned – Social Analytics Chrome Extension. Adding it to your browser gives you a chance to see all the stats and numbers that show how and where your content was shared. Actually, you can visit any website and analyze its online presence this way. This extension gives the metrics for comments, likes, and shares on Facebook, posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, and pins on Pinterest. With Social Analytics, it will be easier to track not only your own contents but also the posts on your competitors’ websites.

If you want to track the shares of your content in real time, you should use Mention. This toolmonitors the millions of websites, blogs, social media, and forums, and allows you to receive notifications every time you’re mentioned. A great thing about this is that you’ll be able to reply to all the mentions quickly.

Traffic Analysis

Monitoring the traffic and conducting its analysis is highly important to every company. This information can be helpful not only for improving your website’s SEO-strategy. You can also use it to understand what people do when they’re online. Are they interested in the products or services your company provides, or are they rather looking for something in related industries? How much does their visit last and what exactly are thevisited pages? The bounce rate is also important, as it allows you to monitor the number of visitors who haven’t gone further than the home page.

As for the tools in this category, your choice isn’t limited since there are too many of them and most are equally effective. SimilarWeb is a very diverse one. They have widgets, a browser plugin, and several online tools that allow you to see different kinds of metrics for an app, a website, or an entire industry.Besides, the service offers educational possibilities. You can attend their events and webinars to receive some valuable information on extremely important issues.

If you want to possess more information than just the sources of the traffic, which is like what your website’s visitors are doing, what pages are visited more often, and where people actually click more – use Crazy Egg. What this tool can do is create a heat map. It will help you understand how much people do scroll down when a page has much of content and other useful information that most traffic analyzing tools don’t show.

Other Ways to Research the Market

  1. Blog and news hub reading.

Unfortunately, this activity is something what even professional market researchers often skip doing, while it can be a great method of receiving information about what is in trend. Which industry is the leading one? What’s happening in the field your company operates in? It’s important to keep pace with the today’s trends not only in your sphere but also in the whole world as well. This information will be very helpful for your company’s website because having an engaging, up-to-date, and interesting content will draw more visitors and thus increase sales.

Blogs and news hubs give you a possibility to study public opinion. Besides, they post the most recent data and post it regularly, which is a great plus to your market research. There are separate blog search engines like Alltop. Theyprovide you with a list of blogs that cover the topics you’re interested in. The best news portals with relevant content can be easily found via traditional search.

NewsHub is awebsite that posts trending data on a daily basis. Following the latest updatesthere will help you keep up with the news in many popular categories. It includes politics, money, sports, health, and so on.

BuzzFeed Trending is a cross-platform network with about 7 billion views and 200 million visitors every month. It provides content in various categories from books and music to business and science; they also have some tags there that will make your search easier.

  1. General statistical data.

Statistics is a science of studying, measuring, organizing, assessing, and analyzing different sorts of data. Its results are widely used as the base for researches in other sciences.Some Web sources, such as FedStats, contain a lot of statistical information from federal agencies. The advantage of addressing a website like this is that you can be hundred percent sure that all the results of the investigations are relevant.

There’s a great statistical tool, called MyBestSegments. It allows a researcher to get to know the target audience better in order to ensure their needs can be met. The service conducts researches of the US market. Therefore, it will be helpful for American companies and those who are planning to expand their businesses there. With this tool, you can analyze what area is better for launching a company, campaign, or a product as well as whom your competitors will be.

HubSpot Research is a source of various types of data. If you want to know the rate of advertising effectiveness, basing on the continent, country, or any other region, consider this tool. You’ll find it useful for many purposes. The website contains results of the conducted researches that you can get familiar with for free. For example, there are stats for the surveys on how people like to receive information online, which content types they pay more attention at, what devices they use more to access the Web, and much more. You can build your own presentation with this tool too.

Final Thoughts

The high importance of market research is undeniable in a modern business world. You’ll need to research the target market in general, study the behavior and lifestyle habits of potential customers, and, of course, analyze the competing companies. There are quite a lot of reasons to do all of it. Below are some of the key ones:

  • It will help you create a better marketing strategy.
    Market research assumes analyzing current situation and discovering new possibilities. If you want to launch a product, start a project, or open a market, you’ll need to know what’s going on in the mind of a consumer. Is your target audience ready for this product? Will it actually be useful and interesting for them? Knowing the answers to these and all the similar questions, you’ll be able to develop a marketing campaign that will bring you success.
  • It will help you keep an eye on your competitors.
    Monitoring your competitors’ growth is something you must do in case you don’t want to lag behind and lose your positions on the market. The information you get during the research may also beused to compare the progress of your enterprise with the situation on your competitors’ side.
  • It will prepare you for success and save you from failure.
    Again, conducting a research with the purpose of understanding whether your products or services can successfully take the market share is required if you want to avoid failure. Make sure you use the aforementioned tools,as itwill help you succeed in your business.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.

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