Market research surveys: all you need to know

You know you should spend more time conducting market research surveys, but keep pushing it to the bottom of your “to-do” list. 

"I don't have time for that." animated GIF.

Don’t worry. You are not the only one. Many get overwhelmed by the thought of market research because it feels like ‘too much work’. 

You don’t need to be a research expert or a data scientist — all you need is to write practical survey questions, reach out to your audience, and analyze their response. If done correctly, surveys offer many insights into how your customers feel about your business and what you can do to improve. 

Let’s break down everything about market research surveys in this article and help you get started quickly. 

Table of Contents

What is a market research survey? 

A market research survey is a method for conducting qualitative research to gather opinions from your target audience. It offers valuable insights to understand your customers better and help in decision-making. 

A market research survey is the most popular and favored tool among researchers, business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

popularity of market research surveys
Source: Statista

A market research survey gives you a hang of the consumer pulse to help you stand out in a competitive ecosystem. 

Why use market research surveys?

If you have been building and growing something, you would have dreamt of ‘getting inside the head’ of your customers, probably more than once. A market research survey is a tool that makes your dream come true.

market research survey benefits

A market research survey is like a portal that allows you to peek into your audience’s mind and use the knowledge to improve your business. They’re quick and easy to create and, when conducted well, give your business enough information to: 

  • Find untapped market opportunities
  • Create and/or improve your product
  • Optimize your value proposition 
  • Improve your marketing effectiveness 
  • Delight your customers

Read More: Why is market research important?

Different types of market research surveys.

  • Online Surveys: Online surveys are the most popular out of the lot and are conducted using a market research tool or platform. You share a survey link with respondents and analyze the results afterward. 
  • Paper Surveys:  Manual surveys are generally conducted when a researcher is in direct contact with the respondent. Such surveys are part of focus groups or a research panel. 
  • Mail Surveys: Sent to respondents by physical mail, these have become obsolete with the penetration of the internet in modern times. They are still used in some industries that need hyper-local insights.
  • Telephonic surveys: Interview-style surveys conducted over a phone call. Online connectivity has now added another element — video to telephonic surveys, which helps analyze the sentiment of the respondent too. 
  • Face-to-face surveys: Conducted in person by a researcher or an entrepreneur, these surveys require a lot of time, money and effort. Useful for market research in high-ticket industries like precious metals, jewelry, or real estate.
  • Panel surveys: Panel surveys are conducted with a sample set of respondents, i.e., a focus group with representations from all the target audience segments for accurate insights.

How to conduct a market research survey.

How to conduct a market research survey line graph.

Okay! Now that you know the fundamentals, let us move on to the process of creating your first survey. Here are the steps you should follow to launch a market research survey: 

Step 1: Write down your survey questions.

Questions are like the soul of your market research survey. The right questions will give you the desired insights to make informed decisions. 

Before you even think of planning market research, spend time crafting your market research survey questions. While you are at it, keep the following things in mind: 

  • A market survey questionnaire should be made with a single goal, like searching for untapped market opportunities or finding pain points with an existing product. 
  • Every question should be straightforward and should not confuse the respondent at any stage. 
  • Do not over-optimize survey questions to lead the respondent into sharing a biased response. Leave room for opinions and preferences by mixing different types of survey questions. 

Writing effective survey questions is an art as well as a science. If you are unsure about the questions you should include in your survey, you can look for survey question examples online to get inspired. 

Also Read: Market Research Questions

Step 2: Choose a survey platform. 

Once you have written relevant questions for your survey, you need a way to share these questions with respondents. If you are conducting an online survey, you should sign up for a market research survey platform to get started. 

A tool like Typeform can help you set up a market research survey, share it with respondents, and gather insights. Remember to try multiple tools before you finalize a survey platform for your market research surveys. 

Read More: Best Market Research Tools in 2022

Step 3: Run a small pilot or test survey.

Now, you have the questions, a way to share your surveys, and a platform to analyze the insights. 

Technically, you should move ahead to launch your survey, but wait, don’t just rush into launching your survey for the public yet. 

Instead, share your survey link with a small batch of ideal respondents. Think of it as a testing phase that will help you improve your chances of gathering valuable insights. 

A small test or pilot will help refine your survey questions and set the right expectations. You will understand how people respond to your questions and get a chance to address red flags such as: 

  • Non-responsive prospects or audience. 
  • Non-serious or one-word responses to your open-ended questions. 
  • Too many ‘none of the above’ answers in your opinion-based questions. 
  • Skewed metrics reflecting the same (or similar) response from the entire audience pool. 

When you conduct a pilot and get into any of the above scenarios, you should spend more time refining your survey questions. Also, consider expanding your respondent pool or factor in for margin of error to ensure you get desired results from your survey.

Step 4: Launch the survey, reach out, and record insights.

After you have got desired response from your pilot, you can launch your market research survey to all the respondents. 

Reach out to respondents, asking them to complete the survey honestly and allow them enough time to complete it. Depending on the market survey type, region, and industry, it can take days to even months to receive all the responses. Sometimes, people are busy, so don’t jump to conclusions early.

The survey tool you pick will automatically record all the responses that you can access at a later stage to start market research analysis. 

Step 5: Analyze the insights.

This is the final step of the process, and think of it like sitting on top of a gold mine. 

Any tool that you pick will have a reporting dashboard that will give you access to basic insights, like individual responses, trend charts, and general statistics about your survey. 

Start analyzing the reporting dashboard and make notes to improve your understanding of the audience. Check for cues to validate your hypothesis, make notes of any new insight that was not evident before, and start preparing a document highlighting key takeaways. 

In case you need more profound insights, you can also export the insights to advanced data analytics tools like Tableau. Though, this depends on your need and goals from a market research survey. You can also use Google for market research to expand your understanding of gathered insights. 

Improve your market research survey insights with customer reviews.

Conducting a market research survey is a lot of work that can sometimes take weeks to months. While it is definitely a good source of valuable insights, sometimes it is not feasible in an era of agility and continuous innovation. 

That might be the reason that has stopped you from starting market research until now. You must be thinking if there is a better way to access insights without wasting time, effort, and money. 

Well, you can use online reviews to speed up market research. In a connected world, your target audience, prospects, and customers already share their thoughts, opinions, and valuable insights on social media, forums, and review platforms. You can use these to conduct market research and drive decision-making regarding your product, marketing, and value proposition. 

GapScout analyzes existing online reviews and collates real-time customer insights on a single dashboard. You can use real customer feedback to identify opportunities, develop new products, optimize pricing strategy, drive marketing and make important decisions while saving time and money. 

So, stop thinking and drive your market research efforts in real-time with customer reviews using GapScout.

Ready to Automate Your Market Research?
Get exclusive access to GapScout prior to release!

Share this:

Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol is an independent content marketing consultant who loves to write actionable pieces on small business growth, marketing automation, market research, and growth as a solopreneur. Reach out on Twitter.

The Best in Market Research

Market research tips & tools sent to your inbox.

By clicking Subscribe, you agree to our Terms and Conditions.

Get Early Access!

Sign up to get early beta access to GapScout before it becomes publicly available!

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website.