How to do Market Research for Online Business

Are you a newbie entrepreneur looking to grow your company’s sales faster? How do you get to know more about your market and other competitors? Where can you find more potential customers and yield out ways to attract them to your website or other online streams? Many online businesses face these dilemmas every day to adapt their marketing strategy to complement the way millennial customers research, shop and buy online. The only way to answer all these questions is through profound ongoing Market Research. There are plenty of commonly used tools available to gather information regarding your market, your customers, and your future business prospects located right at our fingertips like – web searches, online questionnaires, customer feedback, forms etc. With the advent of the Internet, there are a wealth of additional resources introduced to conduct cheap or low-cost market research. With a little bit of help online, anyone can create, launch, and analyse market research surveys and enable you to define your ideal customer responses.



E-commerce market research might seem like a daunting task. However, the execution of market research is zeroed in on just two methods:

1.   Primary Research

This research supplies you with first-hand information through direct interaction with the target group. The target group completes interviews and surveys as part of the research using which you can summarise an understanding of the market. Here, you directly conduct the data collection and then analyse the data to bring out actionable business insights.

2.   Secondary Research

This kind of research leverages publicly available data to define your understanding of the target market. The data collection is done through various reports and studies conducted by other businesses, government agencies, media and research organisations or other sources such as keyword listing. These sources have already conducted primary research and make available the quantifiable data obtained. One risk related to secondary research is that since it usually is not conducted against the research parameter or target audience that applies to your business, it may not always carry the applicable data to your business. Many businesses, here forth, choose to direct the responsibility of online market research to specialised marketing firms specialising in the field.


How to Conduct Market Research

1.   Define the Target Group

Your target group or buyer persona is the person who is your potential or prospective customer and who you are targeting your marketing campaigns at. They help in drawing out a fictional, generalised representation of your customer. Some of the generalised information that you may need to have to define your buyer persona are the target group’s age, geography, location, profession, income, challenges, industry etc. This information helps you streamline your communication and design your strategy by visualising your audience’s preferences and personalities. If your business aims to reach out to more than one persona, you will need to optimise your content and strategy to reach out to each/every persona type.

2.   Prepare Research Questions

Once you’ve identified your target group, you will have to prepare questions relevant to the group defined. For example, if your target group consists of buyers from different sectors, then you have made sure you customise the questions accordingly to address each group. Your questions should not be loose ended and should carry appropriate options. A discussion guide can be created to make sure you cover all the top-of-the-mind queries and use your time wisely.

3.   Conduct Keyword Search

This technique helps you understand the demand rate for the product you want to sell online. Please note that high search volumes do not directly imply the product idea is profitable. However, they indeed indicate genuine interest among customers. Keyword search, additionally, allows you to generate organic traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  A few of the free keyword tools are 1. Google Keyword Planner 2. Keyword Tool 3. Ubersuggest. Your aim should be to find potential keywords that your target group is searching for, create educational content around these keywords, and then soft pitch what your business offers.

4.   Engage the audience

Decide on the channels that you would use to reach out to your relevant target audiences. You may choose from marketing channels like social media campaigns, email campaigns, direct customer outreach, or through online research portals to distribute the survey to relevant target groups for the online business. The objective of the online market research here is to ensure you reach out to the pertinent maximum audiences possible.

5.   Digging into Social Media

Social media holds a treasure trove of customer insights for online business market research. People tend to broadcast their preferences, complaints, wishes and aspirations through social media platforms. If you dive deep enough, you are sure to find some valuable nuggets of information that might accelerate market research for your online business. Some of the action items that might help you gain valuable data are 1, following influencers directly related to your target group 2—monitoring a list of relevant hashtags 3. Analyse competitors’ tactics and sentiments. The insights gained from social media can drive you to personalise your marketing campaigns to align with the voice and aspirations of your target customers.

We are likely to get kicked off by biases if we just assume what our customers need and want. That’s why it is imperative we get into the field and dig deeper to draw realistic insights or prove our assumptions. Time to take action.

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