Whether you are thrifty or extravagant by nature, you’re probably looking to save on your next online research project. And not only money but also things like time and stress when it comes to executing the project. Online market research tools make it easier than ever to get the statistically valid results you need without the traditionally high costs associated with extensive research projects.
Before you scratch the idea of conducting market research, check out these five ways to save on your next one. It may become evident that the high-quality information you discover is truly worth the less-than-anticipated investment.
How to save money when conducting online research
Certain market research components, such as lengthy personal interviews or in-person focus groups, can quickly eat-up a marketing budget. To achieve high statistical significance levels or accuracy, some questionnaires may require high participation rates, which can also be costly. If you’re seeking a very specialized audience, you may rack up large bills trying to locate enough survey participants on your own.
In recent years, online market research has fine-tuned its ability to rival traditional research tools with the same or better quality of results at a fraction of the cost. Many online survey tools are available at low costs or even for free; however, it’s important to have some market research expertise to use these effectively.
Organizations that offer access to validated global market research panels can help you pinpoint the exact demographic you’re looking for in just about any country in the world. A wide variety of software tools can crunch results from your surveys, providing you with a lower cost-per-questionnaire and at more than one point during your research project.
How to reduce errors when conducting your next online research project
When research results needed to be collected, categorized, and tallied manually or even semi-manually, there was always significant room for human error. Besides, surveys that were incomplete, illegible, or unqualified participants needed to be removed. Failure to do so effectively added potential errors to results.
When you rely on a vetted online market research firm, much of the technology and expertise available today can significantly reduce errors in a market research effort.
For example, a double opt-in survey participant screening can be conducted effectively today using technology and will more accurately kick out inappropriate participants. Responses recorded online are sent directly to a central system that can immediately process the information without going through a middle stage of entry, interpretation, or editing.
How to avoid headaches on your next online research study
Anytime you have a large, potentially complex project such as quantitative data analysis, you’re bound to run into unanticipated problems, issues, and headaches. Many of these stresses are associated with wading through the incredible number of possibilities and directions you could explore in a research project—and the associated time and costs with each one.
By working with a professional online market research firm, you can piggyback on its extensive knowledge and experience. Professionals can ask the right questions to help you prioritize the number one problem or issue you want your research to solve.
A market research expert will help you offer the right services and technology platforms to help you achieve your mission. This would include key tasks like questionnaire development and audience identification tools to help you reach your goals within your budget and time frame, which is very important when you’re looking to save on your next online research project.
Online research services bring a wealth of flexibility and options to the table at a reasonable cost. They can deliver in a much shorter time period than in the past, which helps reduce headaches and stress for everyone.
How to save time by avoiding recontacting participants or re-fielding the survey
One of the worst experiences in market research is getting partway through your survey and realizing that you’re heading in the wrong direction, having left out an important question, or are not getting the results you need. The only thing worse, perhaps, is getting to the end of a lengthy research effort to find that the target population has changed and made your original objectives obsolete.
Online market research, on the other hand, is much more versatile. Not only can you easily conduct a small sample, run A/B testing, or collect preliminary results before launching your main project, but you can also tweak, add, and edit your project along the way.
Since results are easily compiled through software solutions, you can look at a snapshot at any point in your project and decide about continuing your current line of questioning, the number of respondents, or the focus of your entire project.
Since the entire online market research project from start to finish should be relatively short, your results will be more likely to be relevant to help you solve the initial problem you set out to address at the very beginning.
As you can see, online market research efforts today are just as effective or even more dependable than traditional market research. If you’ve shied away from asking the tough questions to your prospects, customers, suppliers, business partners, or other stakeholders because of a perception of the significant costs, time, and stress involved, it’s time to take a second look.
Jim Whaley is CEO of OvationMR and posts frequently on The Standard Ovation and other Industry Blogs. OvationMR is a global provider of first-party data for those seeking solutions that require data for informed business decisions. OvationMR is a leader in delivering insights and reliable data across a variety of industry sectors around the globe consistently for market research professionals and management consultants.
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