If you are a small business owner or looking to start your own business, market research is one of the most important things you will do during your lifetime. It is a way to get to know what you need, stay focused on the right things and make a real impact on your bottom lines.

You can start market research any way you feel appropriate, but as a small business owner, budget can be a limiting factor sometimes. If you want to conduct market research without wasting a lot of money, here are five ways to get started: 

1. Use Google and Quora.  

You would have used Google a million times before reading this blog. Most likely, you found this blog on Google, too. But did you know you can use Google to start market research for your business? And the best part — it is totally free! 

Google gives you endless insights across all geographical regions, which you can use to your advantage. Market research tools like Think with Google allow you to unearth trends, find your target audience and get on the right path. 

If you think about it, there are many ways to use Google for market research, like this IndieHacker post about using Google to find competitors. 

Just like Google, Quora is also a goldmine of insights for small business owners. You can practically get all the answers you need — from real people, in real-time. 

You can ask questions to understand more about customers, interact with others in Quora Spaces, or keep track of the most relevant questions (and answers) to make a product, marketing, or design decision. 

For example, if you are building a new product and are scared of the low or no demand, start sharing the benefits and proposition of your product on relevant questions. The responses (or lack thereof) will give you enough data if your ‘great idea’  is really great. Similarly, you can search on Quora for problems in your industry and find out if someone else is solving them.  

2. Conduct Online Surveys. 

Online surveys are nothing new for the market research landscape. Agencies and researchers have been using them for different use cases. In fact, online surveys are the most popular market research tactic out there.

Market research surveys will help you get into your audience’s minds, gauge market demand, find untapped opportunities, and more. If you’ve never conducted an online survey before, a market research tool like Typeform can help you get started quickly. 

You just need the right market research questions and send them to an existing audience or share them on social media or online communities to start gathering insights. 

3. Use Website Or Social Media Analytics. 

It is always better to self-introspect before anything else. You can start market research using your analytics dashboard if you have some traffic or engagement on your website or social media handles.

Go to your web analytics dashboard or open your page/account insights. You will find ample information about your audience — who they are, where they come from, your best-performing content, engagement rates, and more. 

Use this information to create future marketing campaigns and content plans. You can even use the insights to refine your existing products and offer. 

You can even use techniques like social listening to monitor what users say about you, your competitors, or complementary products on social media. Then use this information to validate your hypothesis, identify opportunities, or create a viral marketing campaign. 

4. Look at Competitors’ Online Reviews. 

We all loved spy novels and movies in childhood. 

Spying Ellie Taylor GIF by The Great Pottery Throw Down - Find & Share on GIPHY

Who knew that ‘spying’ tactics could be used for market research, too? 

Reviews are a goldmine for market research and, as a small business, very cost-efficient. In fact, you can start market research in 5 minutes by looking at reviews on popular websites like G2, Amazon, etc. 

Read More: Why focus on Online Reviews? 

Here is a Twitter thread about using Amazon reviews for Market Research: 

Seems like a lot of work? Here is a fun challenge for you to get in the mood for market research this week: 

Once you are done with the steps and get in the flow, start looking at online reviews. You can practically automate the market research process within minutes using a tool like GapScout.

5. Automate Market Research using GapScout. 

Technology is a boon for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business in 2022. Online tools offer the convenience of conducting market research even with a limited budget. 

GapScout is one such tool that helps you speed up the market research process. You can practically put market research on autopilot with GapScout.

GapScout uses AI for market research and will scan all the online reviews and give you real-time insights about most-wanted features, expectations, and your target audience pain points on a single dashboard. 

Basically, GapScout brings order to the ‘market research’ chaos and does all the heavy lifting for you. In the end, you are left with value-rich insights that you can use to identify opportunities, position your business better, and become relatable to your target audience. 

Start Market Research without Breaking the Bank with GapScout 

Market research has been a costly affair traditionally. GapScout aims to democratize market research and help small business owners get closer to their audience without stressing the business finances. 

Get access to GapScout and start using AI for automating market research using online reviews, now. 

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