Market research is a great way to get information that will help you test the viability of a new product, improve your existing products, or find out more about your customers past, present and future.
But how do you actually get people to take part in the research in the first place? Think about how you feel when you're asked to fill in a survey – chances are you're not exactly chomping at the bit to get started.
We've rounded up 12 tips that will help you get more people taking part in your market research. Here are the first six:
1) Make sure you know who your target audience is
If you want to get people filling in your surveys, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you're approaching the right people. Your research will have no value if you end up collecting the opinions of people who don't matter to you, so think carefully before you start promoting it.
2) Think about where you can find your respondents
Once you know who your audience is, you should be able to make some assumptions about their lifestyle that tell you where they are (this may require some secondary research). If they're online, think about whether you should take out social media ads or paid search ads (PPC), or collect email addresses on your website. If they're abroad, think about time, language and culture differences. If they're existing customers, you might already have channels, such as email lists or social media pages, where you can reach out to them.
3) Give yourself time to find enough participants
This might seem obvious, but getting sufficient respondents to form a meaningful sample for your research could take much longer that you'd expect, so if you have a deadline, always leave ample time to make sure that you get enough people filling in your survey.
4) Offer a reward for participation
Depending on what you have to offer and who your participants are, this could be cash, a gift voucher, or free products – but make sure the reward is attractive to the people you want to be taking part. Also, beware of how your incentive could affect your sample – i.e. will it attract the kinds of people who will give certain responses and therefore skew the results? Remember too, that the fact that you're trying to improve your customers' experience of your product or service is often incentive enough, so be sure to remind them of this!
5) Make sure your survey is attractive for people to fill in
Your survey needs to be understandable, quick and easy to complete while looking attractive and professional. Video surveys are also growing in popularity and can be a great way to get people taking part in what could otherwise be considered a boring study. It's a good idea to start with an easy-to-answer question, say a simple yes or no, to get them started with minimal resistance. Reassure respondents that their privacy will be respected, and keep demographic questions to the end as they can bore your respondents before they even get to the important stuff. Also, don't use the word 'survey' when asking people to take part. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it can put people off – instead, tell them that you're asking for their opinions or feedback, or that you'd like them to answer a few questions.
6) Use a market research partner
This will obviously cost money. However, the benefit is that market research companies have access to a large existing network of willing respondents who have already been categorised demographically, so they'll be certain to find plenty of people who fit your target audience. If you can't afford a professional company, you might like to tap into the talent available at your local university for free. Business and marketing programmes are often looking for real-world projects for their students to get their teeth into, and students are often more up to date with the latest trends and techniques in their field.
Have you got any more tips to share?
If you've got any comments on the above or tips and tricks that you've used to get more participants for your market research surveys, please comment below!