Market research can be a drag. But in the business world, knowing who your consumer is and what they need is of the upmost importance. These five sites provide the necessary tools to help get you through the process quickly, easily, and for FREE.
1. MakeMyPersona (via HubSpot)
If you’re in the marketing industry and don’t live under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of HubSpot. The popular software company and marketing platform has a ton of great resources to choose from, including free CRM, training courses, and an extensive blog.
However, one of the most useful HubSpot resources I’ve come across is a free tool called MakeMyPersona. This interactive tool asks you a series of questions about your ideal customer, and then uses your answers to generate a “buyer persona.” Once this persona is created, you can pick an image to represent the buyer— making it that much easier for others involved in the market research to understand the target audience.
For more information on how to effectively use this tool, check out HubSpot’s blog on Creating A Buyer Persona.
Watch out SurveyMonkey, because this easy-to-use online platform has quickly become a vital part of my market research process. Like most of its competing sites, Typeform offers a free version and an upgraded “Pro” version (for $35/month). And while I do believe the Pro features help generate the best results, there are still so many reasons to use the free 10-question version.
In case you’re wondering, the main difference between a standard survey and a typeform lies within the design. Typeforms are designed to ask one question at a time in a conversational, fun way. In comparison to standard surveys, they produce higher completion rates— giving you the most information to work with when it comes time to analyze your results.
The site produces visually-appealing, mobile-compatible typeforms that your respondents will actually enjoy participating in. Its free version is more customizable, more personal, and provides more results than its biggest competitor, SurveyMonkey. If your market research calls for collecting information easily and efficiently, Typeform is the way to go.
3. Social Mention
During your market research, you’ll most likely need insight into social media trends, usage, or related information. Today’s social-savvy generation pretty much ensures that. Social Mention is a free site that I’ve found useful for this in the past.
Social Mention is a search engine that uses keywords to find user-generated content in real-time. The site is a great tool for sifting through blogs, news, images, videos, comments, and other social resources. In addition, doing a quick search on Social Mention will help keep your research relevant by showing you the news, opinions, and brands that are currently trending in the market.
Note: Be careful to not confuse this with the similar site, Mention. If you do, you’ll find yourself on a site that searches the entire web for market insights versus just social sites, and while that probably sounds more enticing, it’s also unfortunately not free.
4. MyBestSegments (via Nielsen)
Most people recognize Nielsen as a worldwide measurement company for television and radio. What people don’t always realize is just how much the company does beyond that. MyBestSegments uses Nielsen’s segmentation of U.S. consumers to provide people with information about a certain area. More specifically, that area’s consumers.
The site breaks down the demographics and behavioristics of an area’s average consumer, and then arranges the information into tables and graphs for the user’s convenience. Age, income, race, household compilations… it’s all just one quick search away. The site also provides information on local competition, segment groups, and which area(s) will be the most receptive to your campaign or project. With all of this knowledge at the tip of your fingers, you can imagine how much easier the market research process would be.
5. American FactFinder (via The U.S. Census Bureau)
The fifth and final tool on the list is American FactFinder. You can access this tool by going to the U.S. Census Bureau, clicking on the “Data” tab, and selecting “Data Tools & Apps.”
American FactFinder is on this list for one simple reason: it serves as a market researcher’s one-stop shop for information regarding population, demographics, geographics, economics, and housing. Without even one of these missing pieces of information, the entire research process can slow down or come to a complete standstill altogether.
One of my favorite things about this self-service tool is it’s guided search. This feature breaks down your search into four simple steps and then displays a detailed list of online results. From there, all search results are arranged in a convenient, downloadable table (which may look scary at first glance, but are usually pretty easy to read). Additionally, I’ve always found that the information on this site is relevant (typically within a few years), reliable, and perfect for simplifying an otherwise lengthy market research process.
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—Amanda Myers, Copywriter at BoydTech Design, Inc.