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20 Useful Tools for Conducting Market Research

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

Entrepreneurs from YEC discuss their favorite market research tools and why you should be using them.

In the modern age, we have a lot of tools that can offer us in-depth insights into what our ideal customers like and dislike. Using this as a basis, we can adapt our marketing attempts to appeal to those customers. The question then becomes: how do we obtain that data? Luckily, there are a variety of marketing research tools to choose from.

Today, a business that doesn't depend on market research to guide its advertising and marketing is at a distinct disadvantage to other companies that do. The companies that make the best use of the available tools will be more successful in reaching out to their ideal customers. Here, 20 associates of YEC discuss their favorite market research tools and explain how those solutions can help any business achieve its marketing goals.

1. The ASK Method

"The ASK Method is my go-to for knowing the right questions to ask my market. It's a full survey system that guides me to make better product decisions and know exactly what words to use when communicating with my audience. Their associated software, Bucket.io, makes the tech side of their system very easy." – Monica Snyder, Birdsong

2. Ahrefs

"I like using Ahrefs for conducting market research. Although it's an SEO keyword research tool, Google doesn't lie about what customers care about. Ahrefs lets you view the search volume for trending keywords in your industry or niche, which can provide an excellent starting point in developing your marketing and product strategy." – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

3. HubSpot Research

"We use HubSpot Research. It's helpful for identifying levels of website traffic across a variety of industries and it can measure the effectiveness of marketing in different areas of the globe. It’s also free and comes with tools to collate data and stats into a handy slide deck." – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. SEMrush

"SEMrush is an amazing tool for conducting research. Their Keyword Magic Tool is wonderful for getting a sense of what people are searching and the types of results that are coming up from that. This is a great way to understand what it is that people want." – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff

5. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

"We are a business-to-business organization and we have found LinkedIn Sales Navigator to be a great tool for market research. It has very good data about companies, employees, their products and/or services, size, revenue, and we can search the data by various filters. We use it to search our potential customers and reach out to them. It’s one of the best tools for market research." – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

6. Tableau

"Tableau is a great tool to understand and analyze market research. This tool is excellent for transcribing the data into visual charts and tables that make the content simple for anyone to understand and digest." – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

7. Customer reviews and forums

"I love leveraging customer reviews and customer forums. If you go to competing products or adjacent product discussions on Instagram, Reddit and review sites like Amazon or G2 or Capterra, you can learn a lot about what customers love and dislike for free. From this, you start to form the basis of what will make a great offer and what can help you differentiate in that space." – Rishi Sharma, Mallama

8. Global shipping data

"The best tool for market research is, without a doubt, global shipping data. Every time an item is imported or exported the companies involved have to report the price, their details and the HS Tariff Code of the item. Getting the data set for a product you are interested in or a competitor you would like to investigate is not only easy and cost-effective but also extremely enlightening." – Alastair Sanderson, LFA Machines DFW LLC

9. SurveyMonkey

"SurveyMonkey is a reliable tool that helps you create and run professional online surveys. It is a very preeminent online application. It assists you in creating in-depth surveys that will help you understand the market and consumer preference." – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

10. Mailchimp

"Some platforms like Mailchimp have powerful survey audience options that can help you get market research from specific demographics. This is particularly useful for young startup brands that don't have a lot of their own customer lists." – Andy Karuza, LitPic

"One of my favorite tools to conduct market research is Google Trends. It is a free tool and it allows you to see what people in a specific location are searching for on Google. It also lets you compare between two keywords to see which one gets more traffic. It's a great tool to plan PPC campaigns and to create successful brand content." – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

12. Google keywords tool

"I like the Google keywords tool. It’s free, it’s accurate and it gives you insight into how your target prospect searches for the products and services they want the most. You can plan your budget, search engine optimization and content strategy all with this one free tool that everyone has access to." – Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions

13. Think with Google

“Think with Google is an excellent market research tool. We've learned so much about our audience and how consumers use Google with their comprehensive reports on consumer behavior. They publish data that you can take back to your business and use for rapid growth.” – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

14. Social Mention

"Social Mention is a great tool for finding out what people are talking about across social media. Simply put your keyword or brand name into the search bar. Then, the tool provides you with a feed of real-time info from across social media. The tool also calculates sentiment, which is useful for finding out how audiences feel about a brand or keyword." – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

15. Quora

"Quora is a great tool to see what people are asking on the internet. Since we are a digital marketing agency, Quora helps content planners find new subjects with compelling headlines. Also, we can check out the feedback on new automation that we are considering for streamlining our own processes. Keeping tabs of what people are looking for has been one of our best hacks." – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

16. Pew Research

"There are many resources, but one of the best is Pew Research. It provides a wealth of free information, such as recent studies and statistics. Pew is a good first stop when you want to learn about public opinions on just about any topic.” – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

17. Statista

"Statista is great for reliable statistics about different industries and their audiences. Our articles require data to back up our claims, and Statista is a website we regularly link back to because of its reliable information." – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

18. Make My Persona

"Make My Persona is a market research tool that business owners can use to develop customer personas. The whole point of this research is to learn about the people that can benefit most from your website, and Make My Persona can help you learn more about these people. You just answer a couple questions, and the application generates a free report that breaks down your audience." – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

19. AnswerThePublic

"I like using AnswerThePublic when I'm researching topic ideas for our blog. This tool helps directly with market research because it creates queries based on the keywords you type in. If you're researching your audience, you know what kind of pain points they are facing. Using Answer the Public, we are able to come up with topic ideas that align with what we've learned about our customers." – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

20. The phone

"My favorite activity for market research is simply just picking up the phone and calling our customers. We can do this at any time on any demographic of customer. Customers appreciate getting a call from someone on the team who wants to improve the product experience, and we can instantaneously learn more about what the customer is thinking." – Cody Candee, Bounce

Image Credit: Jirapong Manustrong/Getty Images
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber,
business.com Writer
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Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.