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Online Market Research

Online market research makes competitive analysis and marketing plan development a cost-effective reality for online business owners. Here are a selection of online market research tools and tactics:

  1. Search Engines – Search engines (like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN’s Live) are free tools that can help a great deal with online market research efforts. Their first use in online market research is in helping to identify online competitors. Simply search for variations of your business name, niche, industry, or names of products and services to see who is directly competing with your online business.
  2. Keyword Suggestion Tools – are a simple online market research tool for gauging demand for a niche, product, or service with an online audience, by evaluating a keyword phrase’s search frequency.
  3. Survey Sites / Tools – Whether using a free survey site or an integrated survey tool directly on your website, surveys are an important feedback-gathering tool in online market research. Surveys are an excellent way to discover your target market’s thoughts regarding customer service, new products or services, site design changes, policy changes, and more. Surveys are also an effective means of gathering demographical information on your target market.
  4. BETA Testing / Focus Groups – Focus groups aren’t just for offline market research. Before launching a website or online business (or even a specific product or service online) publicly, recruit beta testers to test your products or site to report flaws or bugs, or hire or recruit a more general online focus group to provide feedback on anything from the Web design to site usability. Test and focus groups are a perfect example of how traditional market research methods can be tailored to an online market research model.
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