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Marketing | Jul 29
Masooma Memon on March 25, 2021 • 11 minute read
Market research tools are a dime a dozen. While this is exciting news, it’s also confusing since the variety of options can leave you wondering which research tool is best for your business.
So, we decided to make things easy for you by asking the experts which marketing research tools they use.
At the end of this day, we’ve put together a list of 12 trustworthy tools including some free market research tools too. However, this piece is more than just a list as we dive into the following details as well:
Ready to use new tools to polish your marketing efforts? Let’s roll:
Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data on your target users to understand who they are, their preferences, and expectations from your product.
How you conduct market research and how it benefits you depends on your purpose behind the research. For instance, if you are starting to create a new product in industry X, market research will help you unearth your target users’ demand. By having this information, you can create a product that has demand in the market and makes users say “aha! This is the product I’ve been looking for!”
Similarly, if your product is already out there, market research can help you dig deeper into your audience – who they are, their preferences, how do they find products like yours, and more.
Having this information helps you create product messaging that promises to solve their business challenges. You can also create an audience-relevant marketing strategy and run marketing campaigns that resonate with them, helping attract your target audience.
In short, market research gives you a clear understanding of your target market’s demographics, needs, and interests.
According to our survey of 60 marketers, 31% of companies typically spent less than $500 on market research. A close majority, 28%, spends between $1000 to $5000.
What’s more, around 18% shell out $500 to $1000 for market research with under 10% investing over $5000.
While the exact cost of market research depends on how in-depth you want to go into your target market and your industry, the results from this survey give a solid benchmark for how much market research typically costs.
And, in case you’re wondering who our respondents are, know that the majority of them are professional service providers, around 35% are in the tech/software business, and the rest are Ecommerce owners and media businesses among others.
Now, for the list of marketing research tools that the experts use:
Outstanding feature(s): Noteworthy reporting features and great questionnaire design. A1 customer service team.
First on our list of market research tools is a suggestion by Jay Qureshi from Chicago Food Policy Action Council. Qureshi shares, “For primary market research, I’d have to go with Qualtrics. The questionnaire design features are much more advanced compared to other survey tools out there and the reporting features allow you to set elaborate rules to filter and customize the results the way you want.”
To top this up, the team behind Qualtrics also offers excellent customer service. “Their team handles the incentivization process of the respondents (whenever necessary) for us and are quick to respond to specific requests,” Qureshi writes.
Outstanding feature(s): Records real-time audience insights.
A handful of experts recommend Google Analytics for market research, particularly, for understanding where your visitors come from and how they interact with your business (your site visitors’ on-site behavior).
Truck Driver Institute’s Keyoka Kinzy applauds the Audience section feature. Kinzy explains, “It allows you to adjust the demographics, behaviors, and interests of your specific audience to ensure that you’re optimizing the content that appeals to your consumer base.”
“As such,” Paul Franklin of SideGains summarizes, “GA helps me understand the direction my content should take long-term and informs my short-terms strategy to serve people more of the content they find interesting.”
Editor’s note: See all your Google Analytics metrics such as sessions, sessions by channel, bounce rate, and more on one screen using this free Google Analytics Website Engagement Dashboard Template.
Outstanding feature(s): In-depth look at market trends.
“Google Trends has been most insightful for me,” Dollar Creed’s Lily Ugbaja highlights. “This is because it is a great tool for researching trends.”
In particular, Ugbaja writes that this tool:
Outstanding feature(s): Easy to use and great data visualization.
An important aspect of marketing research is getting to know your audience and their problem. To this end, talking to them helps, which brings us to the survey tool, Typeform.
Ashley Cummings from Searchlight Content notes it’s great for all businesses irrespective of their size. Talking about her work, Cummings elaborates, “My business is smaller, but I still conduct primary research regularly.
I recently used Typeform to send out a survey to freelance writers that helps other writers benchmark rates. Typeform was perfect for my needs. It was easy to create and distribute a survey.”
Best of all, Cummings shares, “my participants were familiar with the platform, so it wasn’t difficult for them to complete the survey.:
“Typeform also visualizes the data, making it easy to interpret,” Cummings adds. “Typeform also allows open-ended responses for qualitative data, which was helpful for me on questions where I wanted deeper answers.”
Outstanding feature(s): Quick overview of competitors’ position and marketing spend.
This one’s another popular market research tool among the 60 marketers we talked to.
The team at All Phase Media, for example, uses SEMrush to identify marketing trends based on how keywords are used in their market. In Mike Errico’s words, “Our team uses SEMRush which allows us to identify trends in keyword usage across any vertical or niche market.
If we see a trend for a keyword relative to our company, or our clients, we can quickly create content and compete for that keyword.”
Similarly, Beth Cooper of KNB Communications shares, “SEMRush has been super helpful in gaining insight for our business. Everyone is online, so pulling market data by analyzing web traffic around domains and keywords makes a lot of sense.
We are also able to see digital ads domains are running and how much people are spending on marketing. It helps us benchmark our own success, set goals, and refine our marketing tactics and messaging.”
Outstanding feature(s): Insights on competitor ranking.
“Ahrefs is a compulsory tool if you want to research any market,” insists One Doctor’s Omiete Charles-Davies. So what exactly does Ahrefs offer? Charles-Davies answers:
And here’s how the team at One Doctor uses this data: “For instance, their data shows that more people are looking for dermatologists online than primary care physicians. This useful information helped us to target dermatologists for our health-tech products before targeting primary care physicians,” Charles-Davies outlines.
What’s more, Ahrefs helps monitor backlinks. Consequently, you can get an overview of where your competitors’ link profile.
Vital Feedz’ Rohan Kadam adds to this: “Filters like ‘Keyword Difficulty’ and ‘Volume’ help me narrow my overall keyword bucket and helps me choose right keywords for my content.”
Plus, the “Content Gap tool of Ahrefs allows me to identify key organic keywords for which my competitors are ranking. This helps me plan for future content pieces that I can publish in order to outrank my competitors,” Kadam shares.
Editor’s note: Keep tabs on your link profile by tracking your visits by source, incoming internal links, and more on this free Link Analysis Dashboard template.
Outstanding feature(s): Quick overview of competitors’ online presence.
Next up, we’ve SimilarWeb among the best market research tools to try. Essentially, it gives you details on your competitors’ website traffic, referral sources, demographics, and more.
No wonder, SoftwarePundit’s Bruce Hogan goes on to say, “SimilarWeb is the most insightful market research tool that we’ve used.”
Hogan suggests, “It has the most complete data on internet browsing patterns for all websites. This includes traffic from all channels, by geography & device, and useful metrics like visit duration.”
Outstanding feature(s): Great data visualization.
“Using quizzes and highly visual surveys allows us to segment audiences into different customer groups based on the responses they give,” comments Alexandra Zelenko from DDI Development.
“Based on the data obtained, our team managed to create a particular marketing strategy and reach each of the groups based on their personal characteristics and preferences.”
Outstanding feature(s): Multiple filters and in-depth keyword research.
Andriy Bogdanov from OnlineDivorce shares. “One of the marketing tools that we have been actively using during the previous year was Google Keywords Tool. This is an excellent app for identifying those queries that potential customers enter on the Internet to search for certain goods and services.
We used it for our SEO strategy, specifically writing blog articles. This brought good results, and, our traffic more than doubled during a year. This also led to significant growth of the company and profit.”
Outstanding feature(s): Insights direct from customers.
“A tool that’s been of help tremendously is Yelp,” comments Colony Roofers’ Zach Reece. “As it is more of a review site,” Reece admits, “it allows us to not only review our customer’s insights but also helps in researching our competitors, which is essential in improving products and services, as well as avoid what customers don’t like, which is really useful.”
Outstanding feature(s): In-depth, thorough insights.
Shaun Price of MitoQ applauds Living Facts as one of the best free market research tools available. “Living Facts is a great free research tool that covers customer demographics, community trends, and other human-focused data that helps companies better target their ideal consumer base.”
Moreover, Price points out: “It’s created by the Pew Charitable Trusts, meaning it has the same level of thorough, quality reporting as its sister site, Pew Research Center, with a narrower focus on which insights are most useful to my company.”
Outstanding feature(s): User-friendly and accessible.
“The software we regularly use would be Questback, one of the best and most effective tools we’ve used for market research,” notes Ringspo’s Candace Helton
Here’s why Helton commends Questback: “With the most convenient display I have ever worked with, it allows us to undertake in-depth research, manage social networks easily, provide efficient feedback, and track information quickly, which shows how user-friendly and accessible it is even for beginners, compared to other complicated software.”
Moreover, “the information presented is easy to understand, and Questback’s ability to fill the gap between our company and our target market, and how it handles our company accounts, and how we are able to search for related data for additional information makes it my favorite. It works like how all marketing research software should, and it even works far better, faster, and more stable than other overrated tools.”
Summarizing, Helton shares, “With Questback, we have been able to monitor the analytics about what our audience likes and dislikes, we are also able to compare our site with others, learn the things to pursue and improve, and adjust our contents to meet our audience’s expectations, which led to better interactions with them.”
In short, market research tools make it easy for you to understand your audience, what they’re searching for, and their preferences. You also get a good overview of your competitors’ marketing strategy. So what are you waiting for? Start with any of these 15 tools today.
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