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How to Conduct a Market Research Survey for Your Startup Idea

Imagine asking 300 random strangers what they think of your product idea.

Nick Freiling
Oct 16, 2017 · 6 min read

OUTLINE

A basic market research survey should answer the following three questions. These are key. Your survey should answer all of them.

  1. Is my product idea in DEMAND?
  2. How much are people WILLING TO PAY for my product?

TARGET MARKET

You have ideas about your target market. Millenials, doctors, college students, app afficionadoes, craft beer drinkers, etc.

DEMAND

Gauging demand for your product idea is a two-step process. First, ask about competing or similar products. Do people use competing products? What don’t they like about them? How long have they used them? Where did they first learn about them?

Imagine an app that monitors your home’s energy use, saving you money and helping preserve the environment. Simply plug a small device into your wall, download the app, and watch as it updates you in real-time about your home’s energy use. You can set daily, weekly, or monthly app notifications so it will update you on energy use in your home. You can also tell the app to alert you when energy use is unexpectedly high (maybe you left your oven on after dinner).

This is short and sweet, and gets the point across fast. Yes, there are details left out, but that’s OK. The goal here is simply to validate your idea, not refine the specific features of your product. Just be concise and assume your audience believes the product will actually work as intended.

Assuming the price was reasonable, how likely would you be to consider buying this product?

Answer options include a five-point scale — 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (extremely likely).

WILLINGNESS TO PAY

Finally, gauge respondents’ willingness to pay for your product. Use a Van Westendorp — a set of four specific, open-ended questions that will give you a holistic perspective on how much your audience is willing to pay. The questions are:

1. At what price would you consider the product to be too expensive?
2. At what price would you consider the product to be priced so low that you’d question it’s quality?
3. At what price would you consider the product starting to get expensive, but you’d still consider buying it?
4. At what price would you consider the product to be a bargain — a great buy for the money?

That’s it!

How likely would you be to consider buying ___ for $___?

…five times, one for each price listed below:

  1. 10% below break-even cost.
  2. Break-even cost.
  3. 10% above break-even cost.
  4. 25% above break-even cost.

NOTES

  1. To program your survey, use a major platform. SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo are both great and very low-cost. You’ll use these tools often, so they’re worth the investment.
  2. To launch your survey, use a panel provider (like people.fish). These companies will send web traffic to your survey. It’s cheap.
  3. To analyze your survey, use your platform’s built-in tools. Both SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo have great reporting tools that make analysis fast and easy.
  4. Make a PowerPoint of your best graphs. Show it to friends, colleagues and potential investors. This looks impressive, and sets your idea apart from others — it’s no longer just an idea, but a validated product concept.
  5. Finally, if you’re serious about your survey, run it by a professional. I’d be happy to look at it, both before and after launch.
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Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around…

Nick Freiling

Written by

entrprnr | dad x 2 | beach bum? 🏖️ | founded: @PeopleFishQA, @MailThisCo, @Incntvst

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

Nick Freiling

Written by

entrprnr | dad x 2 | beach bum? 🏖️ | founded: @PeopleFishQA, @MailThisCo, @Incntvst

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

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