Market research is a critical activity that many home-based entrepreneurs fail to do for their businesses. Some simply do not know how to do it; others feel that they already have a good sense of their market; while some do not have the time or resources to do it.
One misconception is that market research is a time-consuming activity that requires a tremendous amount of resources. My standard response is that the cost will depend on how you want to go about it. You can hire a market research company and pay them $20,000 for a survey including analysis, or you can do it yourself and spend only $19.95 using an online survey company.
I recently helped a company conduct a survey among their newsletter subscribers. They wanted to know their subscriber’s level of satisfaction with their product and the newsletter itself, get to know more about their subscribers (profiles and demographics), as well as receive user feedback on their product. As the company runs on a tight budget, I used the online survey company SurveyMonkey.com to run the survey (PowerHomeBiz.com is not affiliated with this company in any way).
I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to do an online market survey using SurveyMonkey.com. For only $19.95 per month, the whole process was a breeze with no headaches at all. The process of creating the survey questions and testing them as to their length and level of complication for the respondent was easy. They also provide the option of sending the survey question through email, as a text link on your website, or as a pop up on your site. Best of all, results were in real time: you can immediately see the responses in chart format immediately! If you want fast turnaround and speedy delivery of data results, online surveys are the way to go.
The only downside (if you can call it that) is that the price of $19.95 per month is only good for 1,000 respondents. If you get 1000+ respondents, then the price increases to an additional 5 cents per respondents. Still a great deal, overall. One other thing: it only automatically calculates the results of closed-ended queries. You still have to do the grouping and tabulation for open-ended queries (e.g. questions such as “Any additional comments about the site?”).
Below are some of my learnings in conducting an online market research using tools like SurveyMonkey.com:
1. Prepare all your survey questions before you sign up. Once you sign up, your meter is already ticking and you’d want to use that to send out the survey and wait for the responses.
2. Start the survey at the first of the month. Afterall, the monthly fees are defined by the month. So if you signup, for example, on June 20 — your account is active only from June 20-30 (the month of June) and not June 20-July 19.
3. Majority of responses will come within the first 3 days of sending the survey. They say that if the recipient has not responded within 15 days, there is very little chance of getting a response from the person.
4. Response rate can vary depending on the target audience. It can be as low as 1.5% or as high as 25%. With my client, we got 12% response rate because our target audience was their loyal customers (newsletter subscribers) and we sweetened the deal with an Amazon gift certificate!
Of course, it’s one thing to send a survey and another to analyze it!