5 Market Research Tips for Small Business Owners

Market research plays a vital role in the development of businesses of all sizes, but it’s also one of the most overwhelming endeavours to take on. That’s why finding ways of simplifying the process is such a powerful tool. Here are 5 tips designed specifically for small business owners looking to simplify their marketing research efforts.

1. Define your Objectives

Before you start on your journey to better understanding your audience, you need to define your overall goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve with your business? Some businesses are looking to boost sales by converting one-time customers into regulars. Others might be looking to boost traffic to their website.

Whatever the case, defining your objectives allows you to tailor your research to that specific purpose. You can ask the right questions and produce the right marketing materials. Using the example above, information required to convert one-time customers would be much different than that required to boost traffic to a website.

2. Research Your Target Customers

Your products and services are going to cater to a very specific type of customer so you must gather as much information about that customer as possible. Once you have defined your target customer, you are able to use very specific language in all of your marketing materials and build a relationship with them. You will also be able to develop better products and services for those people.

Age, income, career, education level, and even political alignment are all important observations to make about potential customers. Your products and services are designed to help a specific type of person so that person will be your target customer.

3. Know Who You Serve

Learning to recognise who you serve allows you to define those you don’t serve. For example, if you are opening up a Steakhouse that focuses on decadent food, then you know that vegetarians are not going to be on your list of potential customers. You have no reason to include them in your marketing research. This allows you to create marketing that focuses on those you do serve. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cater to everyone because you can’t. You should focus solely on those who are interested in your business.

Contrary to what many people might think, it’s perfectly okay to leave out people who do not fall under your target customer base. In fact, small businesses must be able to refine their message in a way that forges relationships with a much smaller, focused segment. To be perfectly blunt, a Steakhouse would not try marketing to vegetarians because it would be a complete waste of time.

4. Learn from the Competition

Gaining perspective from your competition is another powerful marketing tool. Using the above example, if you own a Steakhouse then you might try visiting a local Steakhouse to see it from the customer’s perspective. You could also visit their website to see how they have it set up. Remember, that even brick and mortar businesses benefit from having a website.

Looking at your competition from the inside reveals important details like how they set up their environment, how they deal with customers, and their customer service dedication. You can then set up a unique selling position for your business.

5. Build Trust

Customer surveys are a powerful market research tool because it lets you see what’s inside of a customer’s head. However, you have to build trust with your customers so they will be honest with you. Don’t get defensive when you hear harsh criticism.

Trust takes a lot of time to build but only a moment to lose. If you listen to your customers, they will tell you what they need.

One of the most important aspects of market research is learning how to listen to negative feedback. Don’t fall prey to hearing only what you want to hear.

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About the Author

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Jacob Haney is a content marketer presently working with Research Optimus, a business research outsourcing company. A writer by day and a reader by night, he loathes to discuss himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.