If you're like most small business owners, you probably created your own ad-hock market research study which entailed asking your friends and family what they thought about your business concept. If you conducted advanced market research, you may have included a sampling of people who weren't family or friends. Not only is a small (and biased) sampling statistically non-significant, it can lead you and your business down a road to potential failure.
So what's a small business owner to do? Hiring a research firm to conduct a market research study can be cost prohibitive, and depending on their tactics, totally ineffective. You're not a big brand with deep pockets, but you also realize that testing your idea is an important step that most people skip, which can have dire consequences when your a small business with shallow pockets.
As an online marketer, one of the tactics I often use is Google Adwords. Before any time and money is invested in a project, I may opt to run some test Pay Per Click campaigns to gauge interest for a product or service. I can test product offers, pricing, geographic locations and ad copy. For a few hundred dollars you can get a surprising amount of data to help you make sound business decisions for your business.
Google has recently introduced a new survey platform for marketers and businesses to gather loads of consumer data, fast and cheap.
Google Consumer Surveys
Google Consumer Surveys puts gathering market research data within reach of just about everyone. It's a self serve platform and creating and launching a survey only takes a few minutes. You can quickly gather a good sampling of market data in a short amount of time, helping you to make smarter business decisions.
How Google Surveys Work
After creating your survey, Google will place the survey on one of their partner websites (they have relationships with thousands of websites through their Adsense program) and people will answer one of your survey questions before being able to take the action they wanted on that website. Examples would be answering a survey question before viewing a video or before downloading something from the website. It's set up so that it only takes a consumer a few seconds to respond to the survey and move on to whatever they were doing. It works in the same fashion as the way Google servse ads on partner websites through Adsense, except this time it's with a short, one question survey.
What Do The Google Survey Ads Look Like?
You can create up to 20 questions in a single survey, though only one question will be served to a given consumer at a time as not to overwhelm them. As people answer your survey questions, you'll be able to see the data accumulate.
How Much Does It Cost
For conducting a survey for the general population, a one survey answer will run you $0.10. To target your survey to a specific demographic, one survey answer will run you $0.50. To gather a statistically significant pool of responses, Google recommends that you gather 15,000 responses for a general population survey ($150) and 500 responses for a demographically targeted survey ($150).
How Can I Use It
There are a variety of ways to use this survey tool. From the way people will be viewing and responding to the survey questions, simple and straightforward questions seem like they would work best. Some examples of what you could gather data on:
- Product packaging
- Feature preferences
- Brand awareness
- Terminology (what words do ordinary people identify with when describing your product)
- Any type of A/B split testing
Are you ready to conduct some market research?
I admit, i'm a Google fan. I'm a long time Google Apps user (still using Hotmail for your business email?), an Adwords Agency Partner as well as a host of other programs they offer. While they may have their faults, there isn't another company I know of that has given so many business tools to small businesses either for free, or at a price point they can participate in. If you're a soon to be business owner, or thinking a launching a new product, consider giving Google Consumer Surveys a try.