Have you asked your customers what they want?

There is nothing like a good bit of research. Now is a good time to find out how you can help your customers.

If you are setting up a business, scaling up, or looking to secure investment you need to know as much as you can about your target audience, so market research is key.

You can use a survey to ask your customers lots of things such as:

  • What do they want?
  • Pricing
  • What do they need?
  • What is missing in the market?
  • How likely they would be to recommend your product or service?
  • What they like/dislike about your offering?
  • What other brands do they buy?
  • And what content do they want to read/see from you?

Why is market research important for your business?

You need to know what your customers want from you. Market research allows you to find out how you can better serve your customers.

Surveying your audience with Emmie Faust

Speak to your existing customers and prospective ones.

Get as much information as you can about their demographics, their behaviours, what they want and need, what is missing from the market, and their attitudes towards existing products or services, etc.

What is the difference between primary and secondary research?

Primary research involves getting in touch with your existing or target customers.

You can do this through interviews, surveys and focus groups.

Secondary research allows you to get information about your ideal customers via places where that information already exists. For example, you could use Google, social media (like existing Facebook groups), or books on Amazon. The aim is to understand what people are talking about and what their problems are.

Competitor research is another form of secondary research.

You can get a lot of useful (often free) information from secondary research. But primary research can give you the insight you’d otherwise be missing out on.

There can be a cost associated with market research, especially with primary research, where you could also pay for respondents if you are running a survey with a representative sample of the population and using a research company/ agency to do the work.

What is the purpose of a survey?

You want to better understand your customers and find out whether the product/service you’re about to launch may be lacking some features that your customers are actually interested in. Surveys are there to help you understand what your customers want and need.

A survey also allows to explore price points and gauge how much your customers are willing to pay for a particular product or service.

And last but not least, running a survey allows you to become familiar with your customers’ language. By using their own words and phrases, you’ll be able to connect with them on a deeper level. You can get amazing insights from surveying your audience.

How do you do a survey?

You can survey people online or offline.

If you go down the online route, you can use services like Typeform or Survey Monkey if you are going to do it yourself. If you have the budget then you can outsource this to an agency who can do it for you (take away the hassle and ensure that you get a representative sample).

You can survey offline by calling people, doing mini-interviews, or going to networking events.

Surveying your audience with Emmie Faust

Whichever way you decide to do it, keep your survey short and sweet. Remember that unless you’re paying your respondents (e.g doing the research via an agency) then they’re choosing to give away their time for free. So always be respectful and mindful of that.

Include both quantitative and qualitative questions in your survey.

Quantitative questions tend to start with ‘how long’, ‘how much’, ‘how likely’, etc. Provide a specific set of answers for your audience to choose from.

Qualitative questions are more open and may give you different answers. For example, ask your respondents to elaborate on the reasons for a previous answer. Or ask them to tell you what they think is missing from the market.

I’ve been working with one of my new clients, a fitness app start-up, and we have just conducted some primary research with customers that are testing out our offering.

We interviewed each of them for around 30 minutes asking them lots of questions around fitness, what they liked about our service, what was missing in the market, and what other services and apps they were using. Even that small amount of research has uncovered some very interesting points for discussion that we will take forward into the beta test.

Representative sample

If you’re doing this research as part of your business plan, or you want to ensure that you have a representative sample then you need to understand exactly how many respondents you’ll need for your survey.

Representative samples are important as they ensure that you interview the right number/mix of people so that the sample is representative of the overall population and there isn’t a bias. Obviously not all business owners (especially those starting up) have budgets to outsource this work to agencies etc. However, getting the best research you can is really important in the start-up process.

Google can help you find the size of the sample you need by typing in ‘sample size calculator’ and it will tell you how many consumers to recruit.

Have you surveyed your customers or prospective customers?

You can connect with me here: Emmie on LinkedIn. Come and join the conversation on topics like entrepreneurship, digital marketing, business growth, securing investment, podcasting, human connection and businesses that make a difference.

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