Dig deeper! Qualitative Surveys from an Entrepreneurial Perspective

Small business owners are missing out on a big opportunity – research. Even when businesses venture into the realm of research for a new project for example, they tend toward quantitative surveys, eg. presenting customers and colleagues with multiple-choice questionnaires. Yet, there is a better way: qualitative surveys.

So little time, so much to do

As an entrepreneur you are faced daily with the dilemma of how much more you can do in-house and what tasks should be outsourced. At most small to medium-sized companies research is at the bottom of the priority list – according to research the weakest area of small businesses that separate them from the big players is research and development. R&D includes anything from market research through employee retention research to preliminary research to introduce new products, services, venues, etc. Most small companies think they have no business with R&D, because research is very hard to outsource and it is too lengthy and complicated to be dealing with in-house. But, that’s often a misunderstanding of what research can offer, and for this exact reason the right research tool and in-depth surveys could give you the competitive edge you need for growth.

Quality over Quantity! 

Quantitative research provides you with a numerical value for predetermined factors. For example, it can show you what percentage of customers visit your website more than once a month, or what is the satisfaction rate of a product.  In contrast, qualitative research is a methodology that operates with open questions and focuses on how people feel, what they think and why they make certain choices. For instance, if you are thinking of changing your branding, you would carry out some form of qualitative research to understand the emotional reactions people have to your new identity and what they associate it with. 

It is conventionally thought that qualitative research is lengthy and expensive, so many entrepreneurs with time and/or budget restrictions do not even consider it. 

However, there are ways to make it completely worth your while and not waste any time or resources. 

Surveys in qualitative research

Surveys are usually considered a quantitative tool and that is certainly true for your regular multiple-choice questions. But qualitative methods (like focus groups, in-depth interviews, UX research, etc) also need some standardization to make them eligible for analysis and surveys are the way to go. You will have to use open-ended questions and always keep the customer (or user) in mind when you formulate them. For example, instead of asking “Why did you click on our ad?” ask “Which problem were you trying to solve that our ad offered a solution to?” and so on. Try to think with the customer’s mind and approach questions from their point of view to get the most useful information.

The 1-question hack

Once you have your questions and you know which colleagues, customers, or market segment you would like to interview, it is time to draft your research. If you are in the 99% and you are not a researcher, this could be a daunting task. The hack you need is running a qualitative survey with 5-words.com. With 5-WORDS you can create a 1-question survey that respondents answer with 5 separate words, and is then analysed by AI. It is the lowest effort/value solution out there for this problem. And, it is free.

Research what?

So what could exactly be measured with qualitative surveys? 

  • The perception of your new products or services
  • Impressions about your brand, store, or product
  • The impact of new designs
  • Your audience’s opinion about certain topics
  • The impact of loyalty programs 
  • etc.

At the end of the day, qualitative research is the one that will help you answer all the ‘Why’ questions in your business. Don’t underestimate its power.

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