Part 2: Research methodologies
So you’ve identified that yes, there are myriad benefits to be gained from factoring market research into your app’s business plan [link to part 1 of Blog]. Let’s also assume you’re at a point where you’ve identified your target market based on an initial discovery exercise and have a handle on who will most benefit from your app. It’s now time to research!
There are a number of online tools and strategies to get you started, some involving cost and others free of charge. Let’s explore a few of the options:
- Competitor reviews
If aiming for success, you should have undertaken a thorough competitor analysis and have a clear idea of who you’re up against. Thanks to Google, social media platforms, App Store and Google Play, it shouldn’t be a challenge to find user reviews and apply key insights to your own product planning. What do they like or dislike about your competitor’s app – and do you include or exclude these? What do they want to see – and can you factor these requests into your development? Reviews can contain nuggets of gold!
- Utilize Google Keyword Planner
Free to use, Google’s keyword planning tool is incredibly powerful for market research. There are plenty of online blogs that go into detail about how to successfully utilize it, but broadly speaking you can find search volumes based on specific terms to help understand market demand for your app, and even forecast future keyword performance. Keyword research can also identify the best terms to include in your app descriptions and SEO strategy, helping with organic search.
- Run an online campaign
If budget permits consider a short, online advertising campaign with a responsive landing page your call to action. Ensure your landing page content clearly communicates your app’s features and benefits and includes links for iOS and Android. When a user clicks on either option a ‘Coming Soon’ message then appears, with an option to register their interest to be one of the first to download the app (perhaps for free, as an added incentive!). This strategy allows you to test how interested your target may be in your app, while providing an opportunity to grow your database for future marketing.
- Listen in to what people are saying
Mention.com is a sophisticated subscription tool that enables businesses to analyze conversation involving specific products and brands across a plethora of online sources including social media platforms, blogs, online forums and news sites. For $83 a month, users can track up to 5,000 online mentions and 10 social media accounts – a worthy investment considering the potential insights that may be discovered by tracking competitors’ social pages and their communities.
- Beta testing
Running your app past a real audience prior to launch is a great indicator of how it will be received – and what you still need to do to make it market viable. From a technical perspective beta testing is critical, e.g. identifying bugs that need fixing and other back-end issues. It’s also incredibly helpful in market research, as real user insights can inform a number of pre-launch decisions – such as messaging and channel planning.
The research method(s) you choose to adopt will depend on many factors, with budget the biggest driver of what you can and can’t do. Some research methodologies are intensive and may require the skills of a professional market research company, making them cost-prohibitive to many entrepreneurs – particularly startups. But thanks to the digital era the online tools we have at our disposal can be incredibly powerful and insightful, and inexpensive, and are a great place to start. Best of luck!