Good market research is no longer reserved for large corporations or big budgets. If you learn how to harness the power of the internet for research, the right information is well within reach. You can also filter out what isn’t relevant, outdated or comes from unreliable sources. Whether you desire to research the market for fruit, coffee, bed linen, IT outsourcing or anything in-between, if you follow these 5 tips, you can get the most out of your web-based market research.
1. Formulate your research questions
You need to know your goal. So, write down your research question. Then break it down into smaller questions. This is always your first step.
As you do this, keep a list of the best keywords that match your research question. Be sure you’re using the perfect term because, sometimes, there are even synonyms that lead to much better results. By refining your keywords, you can really dig into subjects and find specific, useful sources.
2. Use those extra search engine functions
There are many ways to use search engines. Even though you might think you know your way around your favourite search engine, we do recommend you dig a little deeper to keep your research thorough and the most efficient possible.
Experiment with keywords, filters, quotation marks, a hyphen, an asterisk, wildcard or other options your favourite search engine might offer. There are many ways to enhance your search engine results—you just need to test out what works for your subject.
3. Go wherever the research takes you
Especially if you are researching a familiar topic, it is very likely you already have an idea of the direction your research will go. Be careful, though: This might limit the results you are going to get. The best researchers don’t limit themselves – don’t be afraid to take a chance and follow an unfamiliar lead.
4. Review and evaluate
After doing your preliminary research, it’s time to evaluate. Evaluate your sources, the first outcomes, and formulate the first storyline in your head. Is it nearly complete? Are you missing anything? Are your research questions still valid? Or could you adjust them?
5. Check in with industry experts
Interviewing people without knowing much about the subject isn’t a very good idea. We do most of our interviews after our preliminary research – and then we do them again before finalising our documents. To get expert opinions, you could interview experts one on one, host a focus group, or use the Delphi Method.
Follow these 5 tips for web-based market research, and you will find the answers to all your questions. Looking for a partner to level up? Check out our market intelligence services!