Arrange a focus group with little or no cost by using your social networks to conduct discussions online.
If you are interested in starting a business, but don’t yet have a winning product or service to sell, improving an existing product might be the most obvious solution. Soliciting ideas from a focus group of potential customers is a good way to discover how a product could be better.
Many innovative businesses succeed by simply ‘tweaking’ popular products to make them more appealing to customers. In other instances, some companies have either figured out a new way to deliver an existing service, or introduced entirely new ones.
How will you know if your new and improved product will be a hit with customers? An effective way to gain helpful feedback is to form a focus group of potential customers.
Your focus group needn’t be expensive to deliver valuable qualitative information. An affordable and convenient way to moderate a brainstorming session is over a conference line, or it can also be a conducted online.
Rely on your network of LinkedIn contacts, business associates, or Facebook friends by asking them to participate in your focus group. After all, they will eventually become the end users of the product or service that you plan to sell.
Arrange an hour-long virtual group discussion by using services like AnyMeeting, an online meeting platform. AnyMeeting may be an appealing way to conduct your online session because it’s a free, ad-supported software-as-a-service (SaaS), which means there is no cost to you.
“Conduct a focus group where you get a group of maybe ten customers or even people who did not purchase your product, and ask questions,” recommends Lisa Rodriguez, founder of Next Level Consulting & Virtual Assistance, a small business consulting and virtual assistance firm based in New York City.
Asking your focus group for suggestions and comments will often prove to be invaluable marketing advice and sometimes can come as a surprise, says Rodriguez, who compiled important questions to ask: What did they like if they purchased, and if they did not purchase, what caused them to hesitate? Is there something that could be done to improve the product in their eyes? Did the copy fully explain what the product does for them and how it will be valuable to their situation?
To learn more valuable tips on how to improve a product and conduct your own product brainstorming session, read Lisa Rodriguez’s article, How Do You Improve Your Existing Product or Service?
- Small Business Marketing Magic: Re-engaging Existing Customers (amsterdamprinting.com)
- Choosing the Right Open Innovation / Crowdsourcing Platform (customerthink.com)