If you want to succeed as a small business, you need to understand the importance of conducting market research and gathering primary source data. The difference between primary and secondary research is that you get primary information directly from your audience, and you get secondary information from other people who have surveyed an audience or conducted some type of research.
What Is Primary Data?
This is data that you’ve collected on your own without relying on someone else to collect it. You basically go directly to the source for the information. Collect it and gather it on your own. In this way you can organize the data in the best way for your business.
Ways to Collect Your Own Data
The very best ways to collect your own data is to conduct surveys, do interviews, host focus groups, and send out questionnaires. Before you start, learn all that you can about your audience so you are sure that you’re collecting the information directly from the right source.
Conduct surveys – Using software like SurveyMonkey.com to send out a survey to your audience that you can analyze using a spreadsheet, pie charts and other methods that help you to understand the data better.
Do interviews – You can also interview people one-on-one that you know are in your audience. Use Skype, Blab.im, Google Hangout or the old-fashioned telephone to help you conduct interviews of your audience.
Host focus groups – A focus group is a diverse group of people within your target audience with whom you’ll host a discussion answering a particular question. For example, let’s say you’ve created a sales page; you can host a focus group who will try to use your sales page, and then report back how it worked.
Send out questionnaires – These measure various variables of the group taking the questionnaire. They can consist of open-ended as well as closed-ended questions. A questionnaire should only be formulated using positive statements, and should never make any assumptions about the respondent.
Observations – Sometimes interviews can end up biased due to how questions are formed or the perceived judgement of the interviewer, but with observing your audience you can gather a lot of unbiased information fast.
The Benefits of Primary Research
Anytime you want to create a product or service, or write an article or blog post about or to a specific audience, conducting primary research can be a good way to know how to address your audience. You won’t make mistakes with assumptions if you know the truth about your topic and market.
First ask yourself what you really want to know. Which method will you use to make the discovery? Which participants will you use, and where will you find your subjects? Plus, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll access the groups that you need to access. You also need to figure out what your own biases are so that you can avoid having them show up in your research.
There are a lot of things to consider when conducting primary research that will make your work ethical. Always ensure that you have your subject’s permission to gather and use the information, assuring them that you’ll keep their personal information private. Don’t take advantage of people, and report your findings accurately.