The Best Free Market Research Tools: Progress, Not Panic Video Series


It’s always a smart move to stay focused on the marketplace, monitoring shifts in needs and attitudes concerning the products or services your business is offering. Whether it is during an economic boom, or during uncertain and challenging economic times, keeping your eyes and ears tuned to customer problems is a key factor to business success. The best way for a business to accomplish this task is through market research. If you have an existing small business or are just getting started, performing effective market research will help you gain insight into market factors and trends in order to make the best decisions moving forward.

Market research is the action of collecting information about customer needs and habits, against that of direct and indirect competitors in the marketspace. There are several reasons why a small business would want to perform market research. For example, market research can help uncover problems your potential customer is experiencing, and use that insight to show how your product or service is a solution to these problems in strategic and promotion tactics. Market research also guides small businesses to create offerings that either fill a void or deliver an improved value than those currently available.

Another benefit of performing effective market research is to uncover problems and risk factors in your small business. Problems, leading to future risk to the business, can both internal and external, and market research can be utilized to identify both. By looking deeper into the current and potential market for your products and services, market research will serve to help identify problems within the business.

Here is our list of the Best Free Market Research Tools:

Demographics

DataUsa – This tool is made up of several US public databases into a slick, easy to use visual tool.
US Census Data Tools – Provides a wide range of demographic data, with custom mapping.
DemographicsNow (available through Columbus Library) – Great demographic data, custom lists.

Consumer Psychographics

Discover various consumer behavior trends and market segments within communities:
Claritas MyBestSegments
ESRI by ARC-GIS

Research Competition and/or Prospective Customer (b2b) Companies

SimilarWeb – Gain insight into a website’s traffic/stats, finding out what drives consumers to a business’s website.
Corporationwiki – Research specific companies and the key players that operate it.
DemographicsNow (through Columbus Library) – Custom lists of companies data based on multiple variables.

Consumer Trends and Insight

Google Trends – Find that the latest search terms and topics as they occur. ThinkWithGoogle – Data analytics and insight on how people search and seek products and information.

Industry Data and Trends

FirstResearch at Mergent (through Columbus Library) – Industry research reports on wide range of industries.
Spoke – Business news, trends and updates from companies on latest activities.
BizStats – Business and industry statistics and financial ratios.

Helpful Tip: Industry code look-up is based on a NAICS code. You can search and discover them best here.

Free Market Survey Tools (Primary Market Research)

SurveyMonkey
SurveyGizmo
ZohoSurvey
Columbus Library:  www.columbuslibrary.org/research
~ Need library card to access – Research information is fully available online.
~ Libraries in other metro areas outside the Columbus metro-area likely have

  similar tools

Thank you for reading this post. We hope you have success using these market research tools. If you need assistance with your business contact us to meet with an advisor.

Click here for a PDF of the above resources

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