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A Market Research Survey on a Shoestring Budget: How I Did It

by Ash Moosa  |  
March 14, 2013
  |  3,622 views

I'm a solo-preneur and a guy, and I run a women's jewelry and accessories store. I needed data to understand women's jewelry-buying habits. So I designed a survey, ran a contest, and marketed it via lifestyle bloggers.

My effort generated 718 completed responses (639 from women) for less than $350—way more economical than survey response solutions out there that charge $3 or more per responder from their panels.

Here's how I did it.

Survey Design and Hosting

Design


To keep the survey short, I had only 11 questions, but more than one-third were open-ended questions (text-box response) that resulted in a lot of detailed responses.

Four questions were on demographics, and three check-box questions were about price points, how often respondents wore jewelry, and their style aesthetic.

The remaining four questions were open-ended, such as "What are your favorite fashion jewelry stores and why?" and "Are there certain types of jewelry that you want but can't easily find?" I sifted through the responses to those to gain insight.


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Ash Moosa runs Outfit Additions, a jewelry and accessories store. He is based in Berkeley, California. Reach him via amoosa@outfitadditions.com.

LinkedIn: Ash Moosa

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Comments

  • by Scott Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    An enticing Facebook ad would have gotten similar & more highly-targeted response for a lot less effort and no more money

  • by Bill Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    Ash, really liked your article and the ideas you used to execute this. Your article came at a perfect time for me as I am getting ready to launch a coaching service (career and job hunting mastery), and am concerned about how to market my service and price it.

    Thanks for sharing

  • by Lynna Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    And as long as you realize that your sample frame is biased and your results reflect only those who have the spare time to read those 10 fashion blogs, or are so money conscious that they follow sweepstakes sites, you'll be fine. However, if you want your results to reflect your actual target market, you're screwed. I beg you, please do not base important, risky decisions on this type of "market research."

  • by Bill Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    Lynna, yes you are right. What I am looking for is qualitative insight. For my business launch I am looking for the "point of the spear" in message and price point to start to get some traction, and refine from there. Thanks for the comment

  • by Ash Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    @Scott: Great idea. Didn't think of it at the time. Will try it out when we do similar projects. The blogger approach was time consuming but it helped build relationships and led to other marketing we did via bloggers.

    @Lynna: I agree that there is some response bias. But don't all surveys? Can you suggest how you would have approached it?

  • by Marc Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    Ash, thanks for sharing these valuable tips!

  • by محمودسيد Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    هااااااااااااااااااااااااااى

  • by Rushikesh Fri Mar 15, 2013 via web

    Even SBM Works..

  • by MitchG Sun Mar 17, 2013 via web

    Ash, if writing good survey questions was as easy as you imply, there wouldn't have been dozens of books written on the subject. There is not always a straight line between the information you need and the questions you ask; many times you have to get it indirectly. And if you ask the wrong questions, donít word your questions correctly or ask questions people can't really answer accurately, you'll wind up charging ahead based on bad information.

    Having the mechanical capability to write a questionnaire and field it via tools like SurveyMonkey does not make someone a researcher. When experienced professionals write questions it often takes a real focus to assure there are no build-in biases. I strongly suggest getting the help of a professional researcher to at least write your questionnaires. It's too easy to create bad data if you don't really know what you're doing.

  • by Ash Mon Mar 18, 2013 via web

    @MitchG All valid points. I didn't intend to imply it was easy. Takes time and due diligence.

  • by James Wirth Mon May 6, 2013 via web

    Ash, thanks for posting - great to hear a DIY success story even though as you indicated it takes time and effort. Your cost-to-response ratio seemed reasonable and I'm sure other solopreneurs appreciate the detailed account.

    A lot of great info in the comments as well.

    Shameless plug: next go-around, please consider QuestionPro. We have a ton of survey samples, unlimited surveys and responses and great analytics on the free account. Premium features start at $15/month with no long-term commitment.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  • by Sonia Schimke Fri May 16, 2014 via web

    Thank you Ash for sharing!

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