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.