Conducting market research is never an easy task – it presents challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
That said, there are advantages for big budgets. When you have access to an endless variety of cutting-edge tools and resources, you can uncover information that changes strategy with relative ease.
Does this mean that businesses with small (or no) budgets are out of luck? Absolutely not.
Free market research tools and resources abound these days, and you’ll be familiar with eight of our favorites by the time you’re done reading this blog post.
What is market research and why is it important?
Market research is the process of collecting and analyzing information about your current and potential customers in order to optimize your business strategy.
The customer information you want to collect includes (but is not limited to):
- The goals they want to achieve
- The pain points they want to relieve
- The income or budget that limits them.
- The products and / or services they use (i.e. your competitors)
- The strengths and weaknesses of the products and / or services they use.
Market research is important because if you are thorough and open-minded, it greatly improves your chances of long-term success. It is only through market research that you will be able to discover the information you need to develop a product or service that
(1) Respond to requests from your potential customers and
(2) Stands out from the competition.
How much does market research cost?
According to our survey of 60 marketers, 31% of businesses typically spend less than $ 500 on market research. A close majority, 28%, spend between $ 1,000 and $ 5,000.
Also, about 18% spend between $ 500 and $ 1,000 on market research and less than 10% invest more than $ 5,000.
While the exact cost of a market research will depend on how deeply you want to delve into your target market and industry, the results of this survey provide a solid benchmark on the typical cost of a market research.
And, in case you were wondering who our respondents are, know that most of them are professional service providers, around 35% are in the tech / software industry, and the rest are e-commerce owners and media companies, among others.
Best Tools for Market Research
For clarity, we’ll define a free market research tool as any tool that:
- It costs nothing and
- Assistance in the collection and / or analysis of customer information
Note that “customer information” covers everything from a weak point to a weakness in one of the competitor’s products.
1. Google Trends
Best for Keyword Research
Google Trends is a keyword research tool offered by Google that you can use to make your content more search engine friendly. The tool gives marketers and marketers an in-depth view of what audiences around the world are looking for.
The only thing that differs from Google Trends compared to other keyword research tools is that it displays relative search volumes. The relative search volume results allow you to understand how a particular search term is performing against other comparable terms.
With Google Trends, you can get detailed information on the most popular research topics. You can segment your results based on region, time, and even type of search network. It is the ideal tool for checking seasonal trends in keywords.
You can use the tool to assess spikes or declines in search volume that triggered specific events, as well as to compare keyword research. This data can be used in a wide variety of marketing campaigns, from SEO and paid search to content marketing.
With Google Trends, you have access to the following features:
- Comparative keyword research
- Coverage across multiple networks and search types, such as image search, YouTube search, and Google Shopping
- Data segmentation based on temporal and geographic parameters
- It allows you to recognize market trends and areas of high customer interest.
- Simple competitive analysis
Google Trends differs from other market research tools in that it is completely free. You don’t need to buy a subscription to use it to its full potential. You can visit the website and start your search without even logging into Google.
Best for Creating In-Depth Online Surveys
As some of you may already know, one of the best ways to conduct market research is to ask your customers a handful of open-ended questions. You can do this for free with SurveyMonkey.
Specifically, with a free SurveyMonkey account, you can ask up to 10 questions and provide up to 40 responses to each of your surveys.
Open-ended questions you can ask your customers include (but are not limited to):
- Why did you buy our product?
- What helped you make our product?
- How does our product compare to others you have used in the past?
With just three questions, well under the limit of a free survey, you can learn a lot about your target market. If, for example, most people say they bought your product because they were struggling to do their job profitably, it gives you a clearer picture of your prospects’ weak spots and your competition’s shortcomings.
When it comes to pricing, SurveyMonkey offers enough flexibility for clients. The basic plan is completely free and you can use it with reasonable limitations. If you are a professional or team leader looking to upgrade, you can always go for one of the paid plans.
Here is a list of the paid plans that SurveyMonkey offers:
- Standard monthly plan at $ 99 / mo
- Advantage plan at $ 32 / month
- Premier plan at $ 99 / month
- Team Advantage plan at $ 39 / user / month
- Team Premier plan at $ 75 / user / month
All packages are billed annually. In addition to the above plans, SurveyMonkey offers discounts for students and teachers. They also offer Enterprise plans at custom rates.
3. Social Mention
Best for Real-time Social Media Research
Social Mention is a dedicated real-time search engine that focuses on mentions on social media. The tool allows you to get information about what your current and potential customers are talking about online.
With Social Mention, you can collect valuable information about social media activities on websites. All you need to do is enter a search term, hashtag, or website URL, and you can see all the mentions on social media for that particular brand or product.
The unique advantage of this tool is that you can use it to get useful information for a brand on various social media sites. This approach makes things easier for marketers and makes engaging in conversations on social media a real-time experience.
Tracking mentions on social media is one of the essential tools for a brand’s success. Social mentions help you do just that by providing a better understanding of how customers interact with your brand.
Here is a list of the main features that make Social Mention useful:
- Real-time brand tracking
- Detailed analysis of the competition
- Online reputation management
- Covers all popular social media platforms
- Help find the right influencers
- Sentiment, keyword and hashtag analysis function
Social Mentions is a free tool and you can use it without a subscription. However, the results you will get will be limited; If you are looking for an in-depth analysis of social media, you can purchase a paid subscription to BrandMentions, their main platform.
Here’s a break from paid plans for BrandMentions:
- Business plan grows to $ 99 / month
- Business plan at $ 299 / month
- Company / agency plan at $ 499 / month
4. Google Analytics
Strengths: Real-time audience information log.
A handful of experts recommend Google Analytics for market research, especially to understand where your visitors are coming from and how they interact with your business (the behavior of your site visitors on the site).
Keyoka Kinzy of the Truck Driver Institute applauds the performance of the Public section. Kinzy explains, “This allows you to refine the demographics, behaviors and interests of your audience to ensure that you are optimizing content that appeals to your consumer base. “
“As such,” summarizes Paul Franklin of SideGains, “GA helps me understand the direction my content needs to take in the long term and informs my short-term strategy to deliver more content to people that they find interesting. “
Best for AI-based Experience Management
Qualtrics is an AI-powered experience management platform that helps more than 11,000 brands around the world manage the customer experience. By using the tool, you can conduct high quality market research at a rapid pace.
Qualtrics takes care of all your customer experience management needs from one place. From market segmentation and competitive benchmarking to collecting customer feedback on new services and products, Qualtrics helps you do all of this and more.
With this platform, you can get detailed information on all aspects of market research. Use advanced statistical methods to uncover details about your target audience. And you get it all in a fraction of the time it takes to do the same thing with traditional methods.
When it comes to features, Qualtrics is at the forefront of the best market research tools. Whether you are looking to develop a marketing strategy or understand buying behaviors, this is the platform to use.
Here is a list of the main features offered by Qualtrics:
- Analysis of market trends
- A joint analysis to optimize the customer experience
- A / B testing for effective change management
- Online dashboard management
- Extensive advertising testing in vital customer segments
- Fully optimized for all screen sizes
- On-demand access to millions of respondents
- Brand tracking in online channels
- University research options
Qualtrics does not publicly display its pricing plans to everyone. However, you can request a demo from the official site.
Best for Statistical Data Analysis
Anyone who has done research online is familiar with Statista. It is an online statistical data analysis portal that gathers market data from more than 600 industries. The service is present in more than 50 countries, which means you get a holistic view of the data.
The user interface of the tool is relatively simple. You visit the site, enter any relevant topic or keyword for which you want to see statistics, and the tool will do the rest. All data is presented in easy-to-understand blue data tables.
Here, you can get market research data to create buyer personas, create online questionnaires, and even for content marketing purposes. In short, if you are a marketer looking for reliable statistics backed by research, Statista is the platform for you.
In terms of functionality, Statista has a straightforward approach. It provides users with a neat interface and the results graphs are easy to understand. You also get a host of reporting tools.
Here is a list of other essential features that Statista offers:
- Detailed statistics on various sectors
- Digital trend reports for major brands and companies
- Downloadable data in various formats
- Statistics and associated data
- Marketing information tools
- Global polls
Statista’s pricing plans are spread over three tiers, the first of which is completely free. With the free plan, you have access to basic statistics and can even download charts in PDF or PNG format.
For unlimited statistics and advanced features, sign up for one of the paid plans:
- Single account plan at $ 39 / mo, billed annually
- Project account for business solutions at $ 150/30 days
- Corporate account at $ 700 / month
- Company account at custom price
- Campus license at a personalized price
Best for Building Feedback Forms
Typeform is a fully cloud-based poll and comment maker. By using it, you can create quick and easy surveys to collect customer data in an engaging, meaningful, and engaging way.
Typeform’s user interface is intuitive and straightforward, and you can use a drag-and-drop system to create custom surveys. It also offers detailed reporting and analysis capabilities, as well as the ability to view survey responses in real time.
One of the things I love about this software is its ability to customize the surveys to suit your brand. And the variety of surveys you can create are appealing as well, from short text-based quizzes to image-based surveys and more.
All the features offered by Typeform are based on a simple principle: the quality of the answers you get depends on how you ask the questions. That’s why this tool makes it easy to create trend surveys that users can’t get enough of.
Here is a list of some important features offered by Typeform:
- Desktop and mobile surveys
- Data analysis tools
- Fully cloud-based operation
- Detailed documentation
- Live online training
- Form development without code
- Easy integration with over 500 business applications
Typeform offers a free plan that allows you to test the platform and its capabilities. If you find that the free plan does not fully meet your needs, you can opt for one of the paid plans.
The paid plans for Typeform are broken down as follows:
- Essential plan at $ 30 / month
- Professional plan at $ 35 / month
- Premium plan starting at $ 59 / month
You can also opt for custom plans that are exactly tailored to your business needs. To do this, you will need to contact the Typeform sales team to get the exact details. I recommend you to go for the annual plans because this way you can save a bit.
If you are a small business or a research firm trying to establish patterns of customer behavior, market research tools may be your best option. This software simplifies the process and allows you to get the job done efficiently.
What are the 5 methods of market research?
While there are many ways to perform market research, most businesses use one or more of five basic methods: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. The type of data you need and how much money you’re willing to spend will determine which techniques you choose for your business.
What is the most valuable marketing research tool?
The U.S. Census is a top market research tool. Census Business Builder is a source for conducting market research targeting a single geography. Explore Census Data is helpful for segmenting customers by demographics.
How do you do market research?
Using market research
1. Make decisions about pricing, promotion, product and location.
2. Understand how your products or services fit your target market.
3. Deliver and expand your products and services.
4. Better understand how your competitors operate.
5. Understand the current environment of your industry.
6. Identify new opportunities.