How to use online market research tools, including search techniques, tips, and tools for using the Internet for researching your competition and market.
Your may already be conducting online market research for your business—but you may not know it. Some of the easiest to use and most common tools are located right at your fingertips. Web searches, online questionnaires, customer feedback forms—they all help you gather information about your market, your customers, and your future business prospects.
The advent of the Internet has presented small businesses with a wealth of additional resources to use in conducting free or low-cost market research. The following pages will describe the different types of tools to conduct online market research, go over the general categories of market research, and advise you how to create the best online questionnaires.
Online Market Research Tools
The following techniques can be used to gather market information with the help of a few mouse clicks and keystrokes:
Research Tools and Techniques
There are a variety of types of market research tools -- both offline and online -- that are used by many large businesses and can be available to small and mid-sized businesses. When these techniques involve people, researchers use questionnaires administered in written form or person-to-person, either by personal or telephone interview, or increasingly online. Questionnaires may be closed-end or open-ended. The first type provides users choices to a question ("excellent," "good," "fair") whereas open-ended surveys solicit spontaneous reactions and capture these as given. Focus groups are a kind of opinion-solicitation but without a questionnaire; people interact with products, messages, or images and discuss them. Observers evaluate what they hear.
Major categories are as follows:
Writing Online Questionnaires
When it comes to using Web-based surveys, small businesses should stick to a few simple but important rules:
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