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5 Cheap Market Research Tools for Startups

Startups are usually operating on relatively small budgets and need their money to cover more areas of business than thought possible. This leads to long hours, increases in your Starbucks budget, and constantly worrying about how to make your money work for you. Market research is a huge part of adapting to your market as you develop and keeping an eye on the competition. The problem for startups is that most of the available information is for brand new businesses that might not even have a model yet. This article aims to help the other guys: the startups that have been around a little while, have some users, but still don’t have enough money for dedicated business development and marketing teams. These 5 tools will conserve money while making sure you keep improving your business model.

Poll To Pay

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This newly-launched tool is a new way to survey your audience in a really interesting way. Startups that have online apps can survey their own audiences with a built-in incentive that actually works and is free for developers. Poll To Pay allows developers to integrate a “Poll” button onto their app next to the “Buy” option for in app purchases, upgraded trial accounts, or any other content that your users might want. Instead of paying cash for the content, they can simply take your poll.

PollToPay:

-provides developers with everything they need to create polls on its site
-allows users to create and launch polls for free
-provides analytics for the results of polls
-has a monetization feature that will pay you for the free content given to your users in exchange for poll results, once your audience has been segmented

This is a great tool to help you to understand your customers and your market. Depending on the questions, you can learn about how your users view you, your competitors, what is most important to them, and a lot of other data that will help you plan for the future and let you know what to change. The other great thing is that you get the answers to your questions for free, if you have an app..

Google Tools

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Google offers a lot of easy-to-use tools to research your market before you decide to make changes, or to branch out. Each tool works a little differently, depending on what segment of the market is most important for your research.

Google Trends- Use keywords to see what the most popular trends are. You can compare different keywords that relate to your business to see what is on the rise and what is declining.

Google Adword- With a small budget, you can make some test advertisements. Try to make them similar, but change a few key words, interests, and topics and see what your customers are searching for and what market they are a part of.

Consumer Surveys- A relatively new paid tool that offers users the ability to target a huge audience for custom surveys. This paid option is great if you need a huge respondent base.

Meetup

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This may sound strange, but Meetup is actually a great place to start a focus group or meet with enthusiastic members of your market. Every market has a Meetup group. Do a simple search and you are just about guaranteed to find a Meetup in your area that is related to your product. Meetup is great because most meetings are free or ask for a small fee and provides you contact with many people who are happy to share their ideas and insights. It is also a great place to start networking. You might even meet a prospective partner or investor.

Owler

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If you need to research on your competition, which you do, then Owler is an effective choice. Owler allows you to follow, track, and research competitors. It feeds you real time updates on news about your competitors, clients, and investments so that you can track the trends and react before it is too late. They are still in the early stages, but are accepting new users to give it a try, at a very low cost or free. This is a company to look out for in the near future.

Facebook Ads

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The social giant’s ad service is a great way to get a grasp on your market size. You complete very detailed searches by using demographics and psychographics that allow you to hone in on a specific market. This provides you with a rough but surprisingly accurate estimate of your market size. The great thing is that it is free, since you don’t have to purchase any ads in order to get the information. This is a handy tool if you are thinking of branching out into another market, or if you feel that your current market is changing.

These 5 cheap tools will save you money and give you fairly accurate indicators of what smart business decisions you need to make – at prices that won’t leave you smarting.

About the author: Elliott Morrow

Elliott recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in International Relations and a concentration on Russia and Security/Intelligence. After graduating, he left to St. Petersburg, Russia and works in a business incubator as a copywriter, editor, and marketer for multiple startup companies and a venture capital firm. He enjoys helping fellow bloggers and participating in the growing Russian tech scene.

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