The most difficult part of setting up a new business is getting the word about your company out there.
It’s so difficult to make people trust the new guy on the block and failure to achieve this is why most companies never seem to get on their feet and fail in just the first year.
If you’re a brand new business owner and want to ensure that your company exists to celebrate its silver and golden jubilees, then the only thing you need to keep in peak condition is your market research.
Go ahead, chase success!
Researching the ins and outs of your target market is the one way to keep your business afloat and at the same time, it’s also one of the hardest goals to achieve. So, if you’re struggling to find out how to please your audience, then this article is just for you.
We sat down with our pen and paper and after countless hours of brainstorming, came up with these six things every small business needs to do in order to effectively research their market and get the most out of it.
One thing we can guarantee to every person reading this article is that, by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will know exactly what the next step in your marketing campaign should be. So, let’s get right to it.
1) See What the People Want
The glorious rule of supply and demand works wonders for everyone, regardless of the size of their corporation. You can listen to what the people want and if you provide them with a product that fulfills those requirements, you’re absolutely golden. This is the secret to succeed in today’s market and you shouldn’t hesitate to spend a decent amount of time at this step. Most of the time, there’s already going to be vendor of the services you’re providing (it’s the 21st century, you’re not the first to do anything these days). Consider this, there’s already a cross-country transaction platform we use called PayPal. However, there are third world countries out there that are deprived of this facility. So, if you want to capitalize on the shortcomings of PayPal, give the people of those countries what they want and launch an international transaction platform similar to PayPal. What did you do here? You just gave a large amount of people a facility that they didn’t have previously. You might not be the first to do anything anymore, but that doesn’t mean there’s some small aspect that someone else missed.
The best way to see what the people want is through portals like Quora and Reddit where folks have the ultimate freedom of speech to say what they want. Sites like these are called the front page of the internet because no corporation has the power to control them. So, if you need uncensored and completely unbiased reviews of any manufacturer or service, these forums are the place to be.
2) Research Your Competitors
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a huge conglomerate, researching competitors is a strategy that will follow you to the grave. There’s absolutely no way that this method of researching market will leave you anytime soon. This tip and the one before this are strongly interlinked. However, instead of only focusing on the shortcomings of your competitors, you need to focus on both sides of the road. Look at what they do best and how they do it. Learn from it, improve on it and provide the public with a better alternative. On the same time, see what they’re doing wrong, why that wrong is happening and start making strategies to avoid that wrong. New business owners often skip this step since all of the people they research are companies higher up in the food chain. Their mentality is that the same rules don’t apply to big and small companies. However, the truth is that they do. So, research your rivals, see what they do right and replicate it, look at their mistakes and avoid them. Pretty simple, right?
3) Develop a Relationship with Your Customers
As a new business, your entire future revolves around your ability to develop a relationship with your customers. There are quite a few ways to achieve this goal. We’ll talk about a couple of them briefly.
- Immediate Customer Service: This is a pretty difficult to achieve since you don’t have that much manpower in the early days of your company. However, it’s absolutely crucial. As a new corporation, you need to ensure that your customer service is on point and replies to queries as soon as possible. The main idea is to give the public what bigger companies can’t. Those conglomerates have so many queries that it takes them days to reply to messages. However, if you’re providing the exact same service and you’re there to reply to potential clients, you’re giving people something that the bigger companies can’t; importance.
- Talk to Customers like you’re Best Friends: What’s the first question an agent asks you when you contact a customer service center? It’s “How can I help you?”. Instead of this, the question should be, “How are you?” or “How was your day?”. These questions might seem like a waste of time, but they symbolize that you care about your customers. Once again, this is another thing that bigger companies don’t provide. You’re creating an image for your business and showing people that you’re not just another corporate in it to make money.
4) Prefer Free Research
There are a lot of folks out there that will give you key information in exchange for a lot of money. There’s a huge chance that you don’t have a lot of budget available but you spend the cash nonetheless as “an investment for your future”. However, we’re here to tell you that all of those extra charges are completely unnecessary. You don’t need to pay anyone money for something that is easy to do on your own. Once again, you can use Reddit, Quora, Amazon, Yahoo. There’s just so much stuff out there that you could utilize to make your research top notch. You could even use something as simple as Facebook and take a look in various groups, pages and comments sections to find out more about this niche. If you have a ton of money and don’t want to spend time sifting through web pages, sure go ahead and ‘buy’ the research. But, you’re just spending resources in a place that doesn’t need it.
5) Listen to Your Audience
We talked about giving people what large corporations can’t. And, listening to customers is also something that Google or Amazon fails to do. It’s a truth of life that you can’t possibly make everyone happy. But, if you’re a small company, you have to prove this truth of life wrong. Listen to what your customers have to say about your services, note down their feedbacks and implement strategies to rectify those mistakes. In the early stages of a business, you’re going to have a lot of critics. Everything you do will be judged and people will do their best to knock you down. In the midst of all that negativity, the only way to find constructive criticism is to use customer feedbacks and work to repair those errors.
6) Surveys Do Not Help
This isn’t exactly a tip, but more of a warning. For some reason, surveys are treated as a popular form of marketing even in this century. These surveys are just something that should have been left in the last century. The real reason behind our claim is that people aren’t honest in their responses to surveys. Most of the time, they won’t even pay attention to what answers they’re putting on the survey. This means that you’re liable to faulty information and incorrect research just because people don’t care about your preferred form of marketing. So, pro tip, completely abandon the use of surveys.
However, if you’re still intent on using them, forget about online surveys or even printed ones. Personally go to people and ask them questions about your market. The best spots are probably colleges and universities. Go up to people, politely ask them that you need a few minutes of their time and don’t ask more than three questions per person. You’ll get a completely honest answer from every single individual.
Marketing research for small business is a lot different from large corporations and a lot harder as well. However, it’s not impossible. All you need to do is follow our instructions down to the last word and voila! You’re golden.