The web has revolutionised the business world. This global communication network is now used by firms to advertise, sell goods and services and interact with consumers. It’s also increasingly being utilised as a research tool. Through cyberspace, companies can reach out to a wider audience to conduct surveys and to get useful feedback on a whole range of issues. When done well, this intelligence gathering is cost effective and it provides valuable insights. However, there is a knack to getting it right. If you’re keen to harness the power of the web for market research purposes, take a look at these top tips.

1. Decide who to target

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide who you want to gather information from. After all, there’s no point in getting feedback from individuals who fall outside your target demographic. There’s a science behind selecting suitable respondents, and reaching out to the right people can seem like a daunting prospect. However, there’s no need to panic.

By turning to expert third parties, you can delegate this seemingly tricky task to those in the know. For example, consumer research specialists like Wirral Sensory Services use special screener questions to ensure they target the right people. Getting responses from suitable individuals is crucial if you’re online research is to prove at all useful.

2. Ask the right questions

Of course, you’ll also need to ensure you ask the right questions. Ideally, your questions should be clear, precise and short. If they are confusing or lengthy, you risk putting respondents off or getting misleading answers.

In addition, your questions should not be in any way leading or biased. In other words, they shouldn’t encourage people to respond in particular ways. If you don’t have experience of creating surveys, this may prove to be more difficult than it sounds. Again though, you have the option of outsourcing the task to firms with the relevant expertise.

3. Follow your leads — even if they don’t feel like leads! 

“When you are searching for things on Google, never stop searching at page one. Not even page two. Follow the results to at least page six or seven as smaller, less popular articles that seemingly have less relevance might hold the key to what you are looking for. Never give up. The Internet, as we know it, holds all the answers!” says a TED Writer.

4. Use the data

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of creating the perfect questionnaire and directing it to the right people, it’s crucial that you actually make use of your findings. A whole series of individual questionnaire responses can be confusing and may not help you much. To extract maximum value from your research, it’s important to pull the information together in an accurate and actionable report. As long as you follow these basic points, you should be able to make the very most of your internet research.

Contributor

This post was submitted by a contributor. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on starting a business, productivity or life hacks with our audience.