Market research tools are an integral part of any startup business. Knowing how to collect, analyze, and use the right information at the right time is an incredible competitive advantage. This resource provides examples of free market research tools needed for startups.
A fast-growing business needs up-to-date information about the market it operates in. You can conduct free or low-cost research online, via email, telephone, social media, print advertising and so on. Find out everything you need to know about conducting market research with our top tips for market research tools.
If you want to get a sense of the level of interest in a particular product or service — as well as how that interest fluctuates over time and across regions — Google Trends is an excellent tool.
All you need to do is enter a search query and toggle with the filters. As an example, take a look at the level of interest in “office supplies” in the U.S. over the past five years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, interest peaked in February 2020 — at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Plus, you can explore variations in interest across the 50 states, as well as related topics and queries that are surging in popularity:
The “interest by subregion” data is powerful. In Wyoming, searches for “office supplies” account for a greater percentage of all search queries than in any other state. Your average resident of Wyoming, in other words, is more interested in searching for office supplies than is your average resident of, say, Louisiana — a valuable insight for anyone who sells office supplies online.
Equally valuable is the insight that searches for “where to buy office supplies in bulk” are on the rise — potentially indicative of an emerging pain point.
As some of you already know, one of the best ways to conduct market research is to ask your customers a handful of open-ended questions. You can do this for free with SurveyMonkey.
Specifically, with a free SurveyMonkey account, you can ask up to 10 questions and field up to 40 responses with each of your surveys.
Open-ended questions you may ask your customers include (but are not limited to):
- Why did you buy our product?
- What has our product helped you accomplish?
- How does our product compare to others that you’ve used in the past?
With just three questions — well under the limit of a free survey — you can learn quite a bit about your target market. If, for example, the majority of respondents say they bought your product because they were struggling to do their jobs in a cost-effective manner, that gives you a clearer picture of your prospects’ pain points and your competitors’ shortcomings.
Make My Persona
As you collect and analyze customer-related information, it’s a good idea to create or tweak your buyer personas: detailed profiles of the semi-fictional people for whom your product or service is designed. In the context of market research, personas are useful because they help you synthesize and comprehend the information you’re gathering.
Thanks to our friends at HubSpot, you can use a wonderful free tool called Make My Persona.
Intuitive and fun, Make My Persona is a seven-step process that walks you through the essential components of your target customer: demographic information, firmographic information, job title, pain points, and so on. And if you want to go beyond the bare essentials, you can add as many extra sections of information as you like.
Important note: Your personas should be dynamic. As you conduct further market research and learn more about your target customers, your personas should evolve accordingly.
Make My Persona is appealing, in part, because it enables you to make sense of raw data — to separate the signal from the noise. The same can be said about WordSift, the final free tool we’ll be discussing today.
Built to help teachers with the instruction of vocabulary and reading comprehension, WordSift allows you to generate word clouds: images that represent the frequency with which certain words are used in a given body of text. Look what happens when I copy the introduction to this blog post and paste it into WordSift:
Instantaneously — and unsurprisingly — I can conclude that “business,” “market,” and “research” are among the most frequently used words in the introduction to this post.
What does this have to do with market research? Well, let’s say you’ve been using SurveyMonkey to ask your customers about their reasons for buying your product. One by one, if you were to copy their responses and paste them into WordSift, you’d be able to see which words your customers use most often. That’s a market research gold mine!
SiteProfiler is the tool for anyone who wants to know about their competitors’ websites in one place. By just entering a URL and clicking on “Go,” SiteProfiler will show you all of your competitor’s website statistics, including traffic information, keyword analysis data, social media demographics, and popularity ranking.
- Overview – shows all aggregated data about a certain domain from Domain Authority, Page Authority, Citation Flow, Trust Flow, Alexa Rank and more.
- Backlinks – shows you all backlinks directed to a site with top referring domains and anchor texts.
- Top Trending Content – shows you all of the top content the site have generated with a breakdown of where is their traffic coming from
- Audience – this tool breaks down this website audience by age, gender, location, interests and more.
- Competitors – shows you the competitive landscape of this website, with relevant keywords or subjects that might be competing with this website.
Tableau provides you with the tools and data to make your business run more smoothly. With a collaborative environment in which people can explore their own discoveries, Tableau offers insightful analytics that are powerful enough for both individuals and big organizations alike.
Connectivity: TDE, Access, Excel, Text File (you can not connect Tableau Public to any of the databases)
• Distribution: Cloud (you can not save Tableau Public workbooks locally)
• Account Space: Each account holder will be able to save up to 10 gigabytes (GB) of content to Tableau Public
Statista is a site that provides accurate statistics on the state of various businesses and industries. With easy access to data from around the world, Statista is an invaluable resource for anyone looking into their options before making any decisions about where they want to go in life!
Statisticians have long been looked at as people with numbers running through their veins but thanks to online sites like Statista, there’s no need to look back anymore because you can stay connected all day every day if you wanted!
Think with Google Research is a collection of tools that will help you understand your market, uncover new trends, and gain valuable insights to give you an advantage.
This group of tools offers high-level insights into your market, useful statistics, and other marketing tools to put your insights to work.
For example, there’s a Market Insights tool that can help you find new regional and global markets.
You’ll also find a Rising Retail Categories tool that will show you trending eCommerce categories, like Google Trends for eCommerce.
You can filter this data by different countries and view it on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
For those who edit videos, or have a YouTube channel, you can use the Find My Audience Tool to uncover new audiences on YouTube and learn how you can easily reach them.
You can use the keyword research features to see how many people search for a given keyword and if it’s growing in popularity or becoming less popular.
If you’re using Google Analytics, then you can also use that to get additional insights about your website visitors.
It also provides in-depth data on other relevant and popular search terms, your competitor’s search engine ranking positions, and a lot more.
To get a big picture view of your market and competitors, you can use the competitive research toolkit to see your competitor’s traffic, authority sites, up and coming websites, and more.
If you want access to detailed content and keyword research data, then the pricing for premium plans starts at $119.95 per month and gives you full access to keyword, SEO, and traffic data.
Deal: our readers can get an extended 30-day free trial by using our Semrush coupon code.
Buzzsumo is a great content research and market insight tool used by brands like Hubspot, Buzzfeed, and more. It lets marketers take a deep dive into what content is the most popular in certain niches.
When you’re creating a new article for your WordPress blog you want it to be successful. A great way to do this is to see what content your audience already loves and create something similar.
Buzzsumo lets you dig deep into the top performing articles across the web, so you can see what gets the most social shares and the types of content that are the most popular.
You also get access to data from the past 5 years, so you can see which topics are trending.
It can also help you find influencers in your space and uncover keyword opportunities you might have missed.
Buzzsumo has a free forever plan that gives you 10 free searches per month. If you want access to unlimited searches and more tools, then pro plans start at $99 per month.
The US Census Bureau has a free resource that lets you search all US census data.
This can provide you with a lot of useful demographic information. You can filter your searches by income, age, year, and location.
There are also built-in data visualization tools so that you can see the size of potential markets across the US.
If you’re looking to expand your business into different areas across the US, then you can see where your industry is already oversaturated and where there are still gaps in the market.
NielsenIQ offers retail and consumer insights to help grow your business. If you’re considering launching a new product line, then the data and insights here will help you launch more effectively.
You get access to product forecast metrics which will help to predict how well your products will sell when you launch. It will also help you determine the right channels to distribute your products.
If you don’t have a lot of customer data to work with, then you can run a market research survey to NeilsenIQ’s list of partners.
However, NielsenIQ is a more expensive solution, so businesses with a smaller budget will want to try different business intelligence solutions on this list first.
With the range of choices at your prospects’ fingertips growing by the day, the need for a thorough market research strategy only intensifies.
Take your time to test and evaluate each one of them before you start your market research.
To succeed in business, you need to know all of the details. But with so many resources online and offline that supply information on potential customers, your company can become overwhelmed by the number of casual opinions and often unreliable statistics that exist out there.