4 ways to conduct online market research

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re familiar with the core principle of market research: that to be successful, a business must cultivate a deep understanding of its audience and its competition. No matter the industry or size of your business, market research can help you gain in-depth knowledge of who you serve, what your customers want, and what your competition is doing.

The good news is that you can now perform a great deal of market research online. In this article, we share why online market research is invaluable to businesses and organizations of every stripe and how Jotform can help you gather the information you need to make informed business decisions.

What is online market research, and why is it important?

Defined as the discipline of gathering and analyzing information about an organization’s market(s), competition, and overall industry, market research encompasses not only knowledge about customers and competitors but also about marketplace trends and big-picture market intelligence.

Online market research lets you conduct research virtually instead of in person. When done right, it can help organizations gather substantive and wide-ranging data.

“Market research is an important part of marketing because the information that is gathered can be leveraged in almost all stages of marketing, be it product development, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, etc.,” says Amir Jabbari, chief marketing officer for Omid Financial Group and certified professional marketer. “Before the advent of the internet and online tools, it used to be a very costly and time-consuming endeavor, but now it is very different.”

Conducting online market research is not a one-time activity — it’s something a business must do on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually. In fact, some businesses do it continuously. Markets can change quickly; emerging technologies and trends influence consumer sentiments and a business’s ability to respond to them, sometimes radically.

That’s why staying informed is so critical to maintaining a competitive edge and why online market research can be crucial to making sound business decisions.

4 ways to conduct online market research with Jotform

Jotform can help you accomplish a number of market research tasks. Here are a few.

1. Online surveys

Through online surveys, an organization can learn how its target audience makes buying decisions, how it behaves with key user interfaces and experiences, and how it perceives other players in the industry — to name just three vital facets of market research.

Jotform can help organizations streamline the process of gathering information from a target audience. It offers hundreds of useful form templates for market research, including templates for demographic surveys, pre-sales questionnaires, and many other research tools. All of Jotform’s form templates are fully customizable, and you can embed them into websites, share them through email or social media, and view them on any device.

“One benefit of survey tools is that they offer you help when designing your questionnaire by giving you hints about question and layout best practices,” says Jabbari. “They can also help you in delivering and sending the questionnaire to your target sample. But the most helpful part is in the reporting and analysis stage of your survey.”

Once you’ve collected your survey responses, you can organize and analyze the results in Jotform Tables.

2. Online focus groups

Focus groups are a great way to get in-depth information from a small group of participants who represent a sampling of a larger target market. Typically, organizations conduct focus groups in person, but they can also conduct them virtually through video calls.

The goal of a focus group is to ask strategic questions regarding key aspects of your marketing, such as brand loyalty, name recognition, and reputation; product packaging and performance; customer satisfaction; customer behavior; and more. Through these inquiries, organizations can learn valuable lessons about how customers perceive them, as well as gain ideas for continuous improvement and new growth opportunities.

To help you conduct effective focus groups, Jotform offers a focus group screener form, which you can use to identify the most promising candidates for sharing knowledge, experiences, and insights.

3. Online interviews

Organizations sometimes conduct market research in one-on-one interviews, which, like focus groups, they can conduct in person or online via a video or phone call. Interviewees are typically valuable customers who can provide detailed, insightful feedback on specific performance benchmarks, such as product design, marketing strategies, and pricing practices.

Jotform offers an online interview form that you can customize to record background information prior to an interview so interviewers tailor questions to the interviewee and add context if needed.

4. Online feedback sessions

Businesses typically hold feedback sessions after a specific event has taken place, such as a product launch, product installation, live event or webinar, or social gathering. The goal of the sessions is to learn how members of an event’s target audience felt about the experience and whether they have any suggestions for how to improve or enhance it.

For this type of research, Jotform provides several feedback form templates that organizations can customize to get a deeper understanding of an audience’s opinions.

Some final advice

User analytics from websites, apps, or social media accounts are another great source of market research information.

“Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Crazy Egg, and [similar products] are web analytics platforms that help you gather insights about your online customers’ behavior, their engagement with your content, and the most cost-effective channels,” says Jabbari. “The benefits of these platforms is that they are easy to set up, some (like Google Analytics) are free to use, and they provide you with real-time tracking of your user behavior.”

Social media analytics platforms can also provide useful data. “Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc., all provide businesses and marketers with native analytics dashboards that can show you details of your audience, their demographic characteristics, their behavior and the like,” says Jabbari.

So there you have it: The benefits of online market research are too good to pass up. And Jotform can help you get the insights you need to enjoy those benefits.

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