Maybe you’ve experienced this pain before. You worked so hard to create an awesome opt-in, or a new digital product, or even a new service package, and when you shared it with your tribe, you didn’t get any takers. It’s certainly an awful feeling, but the good news is that it’s completely avoidable. How? By doing market research, or surveying your target audience (market) before you create your offerings. In this post, we’ll explain the importance of market research, how to do market research correctly, and what to do if you don’t have an audience (or a small audience). So, let’s get right to it!
What’s market research & why you should care
Simply put, market research is the act of researching your market (or target audience) to discover their interests, pain points, struggles, and/or goals. That information can then (and should be) used to guide the development of your content and your offerings. When you take the time to do market research, you save yourself the headache and heartbreak of spending countless hours creating a product or service that no one wants to buy. In order to effectively conduct market research, there are two important factors that must be present: the right people (market) and the right questions.
Finding your market to research
We know that this may sound super obvious, but it bears mentioning. If you are going to do market research, you have to make sure that the people you’re surveying/questioning are actually members of your target market (or target audience). Nearly every week, Kendra and I see online entrepreneurs attempting to do market research in a setting where they don’t have easy access to their target market.
For example, we once saw an entrepreneur in the beauty industry attempt to conduct a survey about skincare in a Facebook group where the focus was business. And while that group had thousands of members, she managed to get two responses. This is the perfect example of what happens when your market research is poorly executed; you end up with too small of a sample size or an inaccurate representation of your market.
If you’re further along in your business and you’ve already managed to grow a small list (500+ subscribers), you could easily poll your subscribers to understand what kind of content they are interested in consuming and you can even test out the ideas of your products and services.
If you’re still working on building your list, no worries! It’s perfectly fine to use social media for market research, and that’s exactly what we did when we wanted to validate our social strategy service. Although we already had a steadily growing list at the time, we decided to conduct our research in a popular Facebook group. The main reason why we chose to use Facebook was because we felt like our list wasn’t a representation of the market we were hoping to reach with our new service packages. However, we were confident that we could find that audience on Facebook. And overwhelmingly so (with 100+ responses to our post), we were able to validate the need for our strategy packages.
Facebook groups are definitely awesome places to conduct market research because there are many groups out there that are extremely specific regarding interests, demographics, etc. In fact, if you can find an active Facebook group for the market that you plan to create content for and sell to, that’s a great indication that you’re in a lucrative field.
PRO TIP: Sometimes when you join Facebook groups that seem like a match made in heaven, you may read the rules of the group and see much to your dismay that surveys/calls for market research aren’t allowed, which can be such a bummer! But, no worries! A way to work around that would be to devote some time to showing up consistently in that group, get a feel for who the active members are (those who like and comment on posts), and you could private message them and ask them if they wouldn’t mind participating in your survey.
If you aren’t sure how to find Facebook groups of your target audience or where you target audience hangs out online in general, we’ve got you covered! Check out our Finding Your Tribe: The Ultimate Guide workbook by clicking the image below so that you can find your target market and do some valuable research!
Surveying your market
Half the battle of doing market research is finding the right people, and the other half is asking the right questions. Most online entrepreneurs tackle market research by creating a survey, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to surveying your target audience. Personally, we love using Typeform for our surveys because it’s very robust, but also simple to use. When you’re surveying your target audience, you’ll want to keep in mind a couple of things:
Make sure that your survey isn’t too long. Keep it between 10-15 questions (maximum), and be forthcoming about how long it will take participants to complete your survey. If you make sure to say upfront that your survey will only take 5 minutes or so, you can get more responses because you’re ensuring your audience that it won’t take a lot of their time.
Include a mix of closed and open-ended questions. You definitely don’t want your survey to be full of “yes or no” or multiple choice questions, just like you wouldn’t want a survey full of questions where your participants are required to give long, detailed answers. There are certainly instances to use both. For example, a paleo health coach may want to ask her target market “Have you ever tried a specialty diet before?” and she might also ask, “Please describe the past and present challenges you’ve faced regarding eating healthy.” Both questions are helpful. The difference is that the open-ended request will allow that coach to possess a greater understanding of the challenges her market has faced with eating healthy, and she can address those challenges in her sales page copy, her email sequences, modules in her e-course, or as part of her focus in her 1:1 coaching package. *Never rob your target market of the chance to tell you their fears, challenges, interest, goals, etc in their own words (it really is priceless to have).
We hope that you see the value in market research and that you have a better understanding of how to implement it within your business. What will you conduct market research for next? Let us know in the comments below!