Progress with my Market Research on how small businesses approach digital strategy

St Margarets highstreet

St Margarets highstreet (from Google)

Last week I spent two days in my local village centre, visiting each shop and presenting them with my market research survey questions, with the aim of finding out what they think about their web presence, what their digital strategy is like, what they have spent and intend to spend, what they know or don’t know about digital marketing etc.

It wasn’t an easy thing for me to pull this off initially, as I’ve not done anything like that since I last took part in a door-to-door donation campaign when i was ten years old. I don’t do called calling!

I had to prepare big time – how to find the right person to speak to, how to ensure my goals are met, what to say in case they say this or that, how to maximise the time I spend there… it took half a day of preparation and some practice, and then I brushed my hair, put on a nice dress (good weather for a change), took a deep breath and did it.

As it turns out, my need to serve the world on my terms is stronger than my fear of talking to strangers… and the amazing result of this experiment, is that I love it now. I’ve discovered that I am actually really interested in meeting these people – other small business owners, with their different views on the world of online, with their quirks, experiences and advice.

Richmond highstreetOnly two out of twenty six businesses I approached¬† last week refused to help me. That’s a tiny percentage. I was shocked at how nice people are. Or maybe it’s just my good looks! just kidding.

One of these business owners, from the pub Aleksander, advised me to take the survey outside of the St Margarets borders into Richmond, because businesses there are likely to be somewhat different, serving more than just the local punters (Richmond is a tourist hotspot).
That was sound advice, so that’s where I’m heading this week.

Sending the survey out by email – good idea?

Another way for me to get more people to fill in the survey is to email businesses rather than go there in person, so I started collecting email addresses from the local community website. However, it occured to me this morning after spending an hour on it and only getting about 15 business addresses, that it would take me weeks to get a database full of contacts through this research method. I don’t have time for this.

So instead I decided to try Linkedin groups – I joined several small business and non-profit groups on Linkedin, and I shall update you next week on how this has gone. Your ideas are most welcome!

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