Market research is an essential component of product development and enhancement that every startup should conduct at regular intervals in order to stay ahead of the curve. In simple terms, it is the process of gathering facts and figures about a particular market and the people in it. Nowadays, there are an array of tools and resources available at free as well as premium options, that can help you get some truly strategy-changing insights. It helps you to not only get customer-related information that would help you in forming your buyer personas but also stand out from the competition with a first-mover advantage.
Here is a list of the top 13 tools curated by Flyboat that startups and small businesses can get their hands on to assist their SEO, SMM, and the whole market research process.
1. Google Keyword Planner - This keyword research tool helps you find out what people are mostly searching for related to the entered keyword. The research could be in general as well targeted on a particular competitors’ or segment’s website. If you are an e-commerce platform, you can get insights on what people search on Google when looking for a product/service. You need to create an account with Google Adwords in order to access it.
Cost - FREE
2. SEMrush - SEMrush makes online competition between companies seem transparent and fair-play as users can get insights into their competitors’ strategies like link building, ad strategies, paid and organic search, geolocation, and so on with traffic analytics. It assists keyword research in 16 different languages and across 142 geo databases. There is also a market explorer feature which allows you to establish the market positions with Semrush Growth Quadrant and uncover some of the key players, their market share, overall market size, and so on.
Cost - Ranging from $119.95 to $229.95 per month.
3. Survey Monkey -
It is a cloud-based platform which aids in conducting primary research through surveys. Be it a Fortune 500 company or a startup, every type of business needs consumer feedback at some point in order to improve their product/service or craft the right marketing strategy. SurveyMonkey’s Analyze tools can be very useful for conducting data analysis and spot valuable insights and trends with ease, after you have gathered responses from targeted audiences.
Cost - FREE - Basic Plan; premium plans ranging from Rs. 1550 to 3800 per month
4. Google Trends - Google offers another constructive tool for market research called Google Trends. You can search for a keyword or term here and analyze its popularity over time, and then compare with other similar keywords to find out the most ‘trending’ of all. This can be used by researchers to find popular topics in a particular industry, seasonal patterns depending upon the months they are searched the most during, discover patterns for marketing campaigns, and research competitors’ positioning.
Read more on how to use this tool here!
Cost - FREE
5. Make My Persona - This tool by HubSpot lets you make detailed buyer personas for your product, that is semi-functional people profiles for whom your product/service is specifically designed, with the help of collected customer data. First you need to conduct surveys and interviews of your database to uncover key trends and perspectives. Now, you will have enough raw data to identify common patterns, purchase motivations, and demographics and put in a primary persona, which will help you and especially your sales team to target the right customers with the right messages based on what they might be looking for.
Cost - FREE
6. Qualtrics - Qualtrics is another platform for building and analyzing feedback surveys, ad testing, assessing market trends, and conducting academic research with data available on their site. Surveys, polls, feedback forms can be created and generated results can be analyzed easily on this platform without any programming knowledge requirement.
Users can make the most of it by conducting customer satisfaction, employee engagement, a/b experimentation and testing, product feedback, 360 degree reviews, and so on.
Cost - Both FREE and subscription-based @9.95 per month available
7. Hootsuite - As we all are aware, social media is becoming one of the most influential platforms for consumer decision making these days and thus, a gold mine for market research opportunity. Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets users build better connections and track conversations with people over social media platforms. You can conduct instant analysis of real-time insights to make critical business decisions—all from one intuitive dashboard. The social scheduling tool of Hootsuite allows users to track social mentions across different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It can help researchers learn what customers are doing, feeling, and thinking when it comes to your brand.
Cost - Ranging from $17 to $89 approx per month with free trial options
8. Facebook Audience Insights - It is one of the best tools for marketing purposes among the free ones as it can be used for a number of useful features like content engagement, trends and demographics of followers and viewers on Facebook page with detailed insights on post reach, call-to-actions taken, and so on. Similarly, there are different analytics for platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn as well. Combinedly, these can prove to be a powerful tool for social media audience research. The 6 main insights you can gain from this are: lifestyle of people, page likes, location of selected audience, frequency of activities and device users of the audience, household section, and their purchase behaviour.
Learn how to make the most of Facebook Audience Insights for market research here.
Cost - FREE
9. Social Mention - Social Mention is a powerful tool for monitoring real-time performance and reach metrics online, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter with features like Application Programming Interface (API), daily alerts, 24/7 brand monitoring, and so on. It tells you when and where your company has been mentioned, post reach, and the number of shares. You can also perform sentiment analysis for your customer group depending on their negative and positive social mentions, which then helps in forming better marketing strategies for influencing consumer behavior in the right way.
Cost - $99 to $249 per month with a free trial option available
10. Consumer barometer - This tool by Google helps researchers discover country-specific data on consumers' device preferences and insights, with which they can learn how people use the internet, covering over 45 countries and 10 product categories. With the evolution of internet penetration and device usage, it is more important than ever to conduct actionable research on online trends and activities of consumers. This platform is best for e-commerce and shopping startups, who would like to know what drives consumers' intentions and motivations for making purchase decisions.
Cost - FREE
11. Statista - Statista is a leading provider of market and consumer data, more of a resource than a tool, from where you can learn important statistics about your market segment, which might help you find out market gaps and opportunities effectively. There are numerous peer-reviewed insights on market sizing, over 170+ industry overview, performance metrics of key competing companies, and market forecasts available. Constant monitoring of these can help researchers capitalize on key metrics effectively.
12. Growthbar - It is a quick and easy tool to find out features like organic and paid keywords, suggested keywords, backlinks, search volume, and organic traffic for any website. You can search for the website features of top players in your segment and try competing with their content with right SEO optimization and marketing channels now that you have relevant data at your fingertips.
Cost - $29 to $199 per month
13. Beta List -
This a very useful platform for early-stage startups, who want to get valuable feedback on their idea and product pre-launch. Using Beta List, you can advertise your startup launch to an audience of early adopters who are ready to provide them with feedback. Founders can thus gain traction when launching their product/service after such qualitative and quantitative research.
Cost - $99 to $299 with a flexible refund policy
From buyer personas and product planning all the way to social media monitoring and customer service, knowing what happens beyond the company’s internal space is fundamental to success. In fact, lack of market fit and ineffective marketing strategies arise due to inadequate market research, which are one of the top reasons for startup failure. There are a gazillion of tools and resources available today for market research. In order to use and apply such research effectively, you need to stay up-to-date and keep modifying your marketing and product development and delivery strategies on a regular basis. Consistency is key here! The more you know your target consumers and your market, the less likely you are to waste money on campaigns which do not reach the right audience.