You know that as a small business owner, start-up or entrepreneur you need to conduct market research, but where do you start and how much is it going to cost?
If you don’t have a lot of money don’t worry, there are a number of ways you can conduct research into your chosen industry while sitting in front of your computer, at very little cost.
This post will show you where to find useful information about your industry and your business on the internet.
Online Research Tools
Here are four online research tools you can start using today to find trends.
Keyword Search – If you have an online presence or you conduct business online you want to find out what keywords people are using to find products and services such as yours. There are several keywords tools that you can use to see how many people are searching for certain keywords each month, and you can see how many businesses similar to yours are competing for each keyword.
Longtail Pro is a keyword tool can be used to find keywords that get a high number of searches, but have very little competition. If you are in business already you can find keywords to use to optimise your site and attract search engine traffic. Or as an entrepreneur you can find profitable product niches you may not have considered. Longtail Pros developer Spencer Haws provides very thorough training videos where he explains exactly how to use the tool.
Competitor Links – We have all heard of back linking as an SEO tool. It still works. A great way to compete with your competitors is to check out which sites are linking to them, and monitor your competitors PR Campaigns. An easy and free way to find out who is linking your competitors is to visit backlinkwatch.com and type in your competitors email address and it will produce a list of websites that link to your customer’s website.
Read Blogs – Blogs are a great way to find out what people are discussing the most, and thus potentially uncovering emerging trends that you can tap into early. It is a great way to find out about a new product, or an unfulfilled need for which you could provide a solution.
There are several places you can go to find out what is being discussed on blogs and other social platforms some examples are Technorati and Social Mentions.
Conduct your own online survey – A great way to gauge public opinion on a certain topic is to ask them. There are a number of online survey platforms available that you can use to survey customers such as SuveyGizmo or Fluid Surveys. You can easily email your customers or list with a link to your survey or have a pop up survey on your website set the timing so that visitors are there for at least one minute before the survey pops up). If you are yet to find customers you can place your links in forums or chat groups where your audience hangs out.
These four tools will help you find what people are searching for and how, and what is trending at the moment.