Three Steps to Market Research Your Idea

You probably picture real market research as an exorbitantly expensive luxury that big companies like Proctor & Gamble do when they want to test a new scent in their liquid detergent. For regular people, market research generally means asking a couple of buddies what they think of that great business idea that hit you in the shower. But with some social media tools, a couple hundred dollars, and a little bit of creativity, you can get actual, usable data directly from your target market.

Step 1 – The Landing Page

If you’re not familiar with landing pages, you should be. Simply put, they are the pages we want web traffic to go to, usually with a single purpose. For this example, we are going to set up a Facebook page to work as our landing page. Facebook pages are simple to set up, and only require a banner image across the top, and some descriptive information about your idea.

You’ll want to add a single post to the page, thanking the people who come to your page for their interest, and let them know that more information will be available soon. You might also consider adding a contact form post, so that if you do move forward with your idea, you have the beginning of your email list.

It should take you less than 10 minutes to set up the landing page, because for the most part we’re not really interested in what happens here.

Step 2 – The Campaign

The market research magic happens with your Facebook advertising campaign. This can be done through your Facebook Business Manager, your Facebook Ad Manager, or by clicking Promote on your business page. There are variances within each of these channels, so we won’t go step by step, but the main elements we are discussing are all the same (Promote may not give you as much targeting or analytics information, so I’d recommend using Facebook Business or Ad Manager).

Create 2 or 3 different ads, highlighting different elements of your idea, each with a call to action. Facebook ads do not like text on an image, so you are best off finding a relevant image and writing some descriptive text about your service.

Once the creative ad is finished, choose your audience. This is the most important part of your market research. Think about your target market, who they are, where they live, and what their interests are, and select those groups to see your ads.

Next you’ll set your budget and duration for the campaign. Every target market is priced based on supply and demand, but you should be able to reach several thousand people over the course of a few days for less than $200.

Step 3 – Analytics

Let your campaign run its course. Remember, the purpose here is market research, not marketing optimization. We want to see a few things.

1) How many people clicked on the ads – this will show you if people are interested in your idea

2) Which ad messages were clicked on the most – this will show you what resonates best with your customers

3) Cost per click – This will help you determine, down the road, how much a lead will cost, and whether or not your idea is cost effective

Taking all the information together, you’ll have some insight as to whether or not the market is ready for your idea…and if you collected email addresses through your Facebook Landing Page, you also have a mailing list once your idea is productized.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Arye turns complex corporate-speak into creative, understandable content. He’s a digital marketing expert who enjoys BBQing and watching baseball to unwind. You can reach him at aryezacks@gmail.com

5 reasons your service business must offer online booking

By taking your business’s scheduling online, you open your business up to a new world of potential work. So many businesses continue to do their booking process via the phone or in person. Unfortunately this just doesn’t fit with the realities of what customers want today.


Americans now spend 23 hours per week communicating on the internet using social media, emailing, texting, and other forms of online communication. With the movement towards doing business on online platforms rapidly increasing, it’s time to think about moving your company’s scheduling to the digital realm. Not only can online scheduling save time and money, it can completely change the way you run your business too.

Let’s look at 5 reasons you should move towards online scheduling and see how it can transform your business.

1. Save yourself time

Moving your scheduling online means way less hours spent on the phone or in person booking appointments. It may not be realistic for some businesses to move their scheduling online 100 percent, because in many industries clients still want to call or book appointments in person. But, the amount of time you can save by providing online booking is huge.

2. Earn more money

Online booking is a great way to help your business create more revenue. There are several ways you can use online booking to your advantage, such as allowing customers to pay for their appointment via credit card or PayPal when they book you. This not only gives you instant revenue, but allows you to hold the customer accountable for late fees, rescheduling fees or cancellation fees. You can also give your customers the option to purchase gift cards or special promotion packages if you let them book online – opening up additional revenue streams that just wouldn’t be possible before. This way your customers feel like they are in control of the scheduling process and are more willing to spend money on their appointments.

3. More contented customers

If there’s one thing that all customers want, it’s convenience. Not only do today’s customers want convenience, they want it on their own terms. With online scheduling, you give your customers the convenience to book an appointment whenever and wherever they want. They no longer only have the option to book an appointment during business hours, or whenever the phone line is free. With online scheduling you essentially eliminate phone tag between you and your customers and, giving them the freedom they crave. With more freedom and control over how they book their appointments, your customers are going to be happier overall with their experience right from the very beginning.

4. Reduce the number of no-shows

Businesses that implement online scheduling can see up to 50 percent fewer no-shows on their calendar. No-shows cost companies billions of dollars every year. Online scheduling reduces your number of no-shows by helping you enforce a no-show policy. Charging fees or only allowing a partial refund for no-shows will give your customers an incentive to stick to their appointment time, saving you valuable resources.

5. Integrate with your schedule

Scheduling becomes ever more confusing when you’re using multiple different tools like your email, the calendar on your phone, and your website. With online scheduling, you can easily integrate the software into other tools that you use on a daily basis such as Google, Outlook, Office 365 and even iCloud. This way there is no overlap between business and personal use when it comes to your online calendars. Online scheduling tools let you see appointments as they are booked in real time, and get notifications when an appointment is coming up or cancelled.

By moving your business’s scheduling online, you can save your business time, money and valuable resources, leading to happier customers and more revenue. Online booking tools like Book Like A Boss allow you to keep all of your calendars and appointments organized in one space. If you’re a company with a need to make appointments, online scheduling is the perfect way to boost your business.

Should your small business worry about SEO?

If you’ve got a website and are running a small business online, chances are you know at least a little about search engine optimization (SEO). By implementing the following SEO activities, you boost your chances of appearing on the first page of Google or Bing:

  • A keyword strategy
  • Correct header and image tags
  • Internal and external links
  • New content
  • (to name just the essentials)

However, while SEO certainly creates results, it is definitely a long game. Even with all the best practice in place, it can still take, on average, 4-6 months for SEO to start paying off. That involves a lot of hard work either optimizing your pages yourself, or paying for an external agency to do it for you. And in certain sectors, where you’re competing against giants or millions of other small businesses, it can be even harder to stand out.

So, should your small business worry about SEO? The answer: it depends.

What’s your ambition?

First off, before investing time and money into SEO, you need to be clear what your ambition is. SEO is a vital tactic for companies that are aiming to expand and grow their presence online. These companies need to produce lots of content, win backlinks and boost their reputation, and also make it easy for potential customers to find them.

On the other hand, if you aim to treat your company as a ‘lifestyle business’ or simply aim to work as a solopreneur long term, there are likely a number of cheaper, more effective ways to market your brand.

For more growth hacking tips, read our blog on lead gen for small businesses.

Is it the best marketing strategy for what you do?

There’s any number of SEO agencies out there who will promise that SEO is the answer to all your problems and will make you a millionaire. And, this can be true. However, SEO isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. Many companies have successfully marketed themselves without using SEO at all and won countless new customers with anything from paid ads to networking to social media marketing.

In some sectors, more ‘traditional’ marketing tactics will make more sense. Say you’re a masseuse who offers your services to office workers in Seattle. Printing out fliers and dropping them off at the receptions of office buildings in the city will likely pay off way more than trying to get on page one for a search term like ‘Seattle office massage’. The point is, don’t buy into the SEO hype – instead, think about what marketing activities will have an impact on your customers.

Whether you feel SEO is right for your business or not, it’s still worth following basic best practices – these are free and not very time consuming. And, if you decide SEO is right for you later on, you’ll have the foundations in place already. Moz’s beginners guide to SEO is a good starter.