BIG Hello from new company in a paradise Island! Few Advices?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by SuccessMalta, May 6, 2011.

  1. SuccessMalta

    SuccessMalta
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    Hi everyone! :D

    I am in the process of starting up my one-man business in tiny Malta, Europe, A beautiful island on the merge of becoming bigger and more developed for every year.

    I have realized the potential for having an online marketing company here is huge, competition low... So I am just doing it.

    In the process of the business plan, there is market research – as you might know. I am currently in the process of creating a survey for prospect companies (and non-prospects too) to find out the following – which is the purpose of the survey:
    - What motivates companies to have or not to have a website?
    - What makes companies to take the step to invest in something?
    - How aware and educated are local companies of online marketing

    The most important in the survey is that the results are ACTIONABLE, meaning, that I can get facts and hints which I can simply work against.

    I will pretend (sort of) to be a student, so that I can get way more honest answers – as the locals love to assist people who studies. - I am a university student doing a survey for "Internet development and attitudes in the local business scene" – and I will visit the companies personally.

    This is also a great opportunity to get a company profile of the most likely prospects to use for future selling against them.

    The survey goes:

    ---

    1. Please mark what is your current age?
    18-30 / 30-40 / 40-50 / 50-60 / 60+


    2. Please rate how accurate this statement is: I am experienced using Internet?
    Very accurate
    Accurate
    Average
    Rather inaccurate
    Very inaccurate

    3. Does your company have a website today?
    YES / NO

    IF YES: What type of benefits/values does the website bring?
    IF NO: What is stopping you from having one?

    (FREE TEXT FIELD)

    IF NO: Please mark what would be important in consideration of having a website?
    NOTE: This will be in a check list form – easily overviewed, just to tick off
    Improved credibility/Professional image
    Easy management
    Creating brand awareness
    Bring new customers
    Build loyal customer base
    Improved communication with customers
    Possibility of selling online (shopping)
    The possibility to always “stay open” 27/7
    Cheaper & More flexible than print ads
    Be ahead of competitors
    Test new products and services
    Increased sales performance
    Global exposure & to reach more markets
    Less or No manpower needed
    Easily update information
    Promotion of physical location
    Increase customer service
    Cheap and easy market research
    Training on website maintenance
    Possibility with multiple-languages

    Other (Please specify)

    (FREE TEXT FIELD)

    4. If a basic website package includes all of the above, and you would be aware of all benefits, which price range would you consider reasonable for an investment?
    (FREE TEXT FIELD)


    ///////
    END OF SURVEY
    Many thanks! :D
     
  2. Stephen Ryan

    Stephen Ryan
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    hmmm. I guess you need to consider the profile of your audience, the demographic and psychographic of people you are targeting your market research at.

    all local businesses are not the same eg... you have professionals who are probably a lot more "internet-savvy" and then you have your local newsagent that may never have even heard about doing business online.

    Good luck anyway mate.
    Stephen
     
  3. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to our Business Forum SuccessMalta. The survey looks good and if you approach local businesses in a professional manner you should have not problem getting helpful and informative responses. For businesses that already have websites it would be interesting to ask them to rate how satisfied they are with how it is helping their business and for their opinions on what they would like to see improved on their site.

    If you are looking at business opportunities in this area you might want to consider offering services such as helping small businesses set up a FaceBook page, a Twitter profile and helping them to promote their business locally through Google Places.

    We'd be delighted to help you in any way we can and wish you every success with your business.
     
  4. Stephen Ryan

    Stephen Ryan
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    hmmmm. Judging by Fergal's response, I sounded pretty negative last night. Apologies successmalta.

    I guess my point was that in order to ensure your market research questionnaire engenders the highest quality return on investment, it is best to target your questions at a specific audience.

    If you generalise about small businesses then your market research questions will be general and answers general.
    If you are specific about small businesses then your market research questions will be specific and answers specific.
    eg.
    General
    1. Please mark what is your current age?
    2. Please rate how accurate this statement is: I am experienced using Internet?
    3. Does your company have a website today?
    IF YES: What type of benefits/values does the website bring?
    IF NO: What is stopping you from having one?
    4. If a basic website package includes all of the above, and you would be aware of all benefits, which price range would you consider reasonable for an investment

    Specific - aimed at lawyers, estate agents, insurance brokers, doctors, dentists etc
    1. Age Group
    2. Does your practice have its own website?
    3. What kinds of promotion do you use online?
    4. What kinds of advantages does your website afford you?
    5. Within the next 3 months where would you expect to invest further in online?
    6. How are other professionals benefiting from their investments online?

    Also, being specific relates better with small businesses because they feel more comfortable with market researchers who speak their language.

    My thoughts
    Stephen
     
  5. SuccessMalta

    SuccessMalta
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    Stephen and Admin, I sincerely thank you for your replies - they mean a lot.

    Admin mentioned "For businesses that already have websites it would be interesting to ask them to rate how satisfied they are with how it is helping their business and for their opinions on what they would like to see improved on their site."

    Do you suggest then adding to the survey
    Do you have a website? If YES:
    - How satisfied are you with your website? (1-5)
    - What type of benefits/values does the website bring? (open question - already there)
    - What could be improved on your site (open question)


    I think the survey might be too long then?
    Everything needs to fit on one page for sure.

    Regarding Social marketing, this is a HUGE thing in Malta, and very few companies (as well as my competitors) have realized the potential with it yet.

    This is going to be something I will use indeed...

    Around 55% of the whole island has an active Facebook account! There are great opportunities for marketing in different medias such as
    - Local newspapers (competitors of mine does not use it at all)
    - Yellow pages
    - Online Directories (free) - popular sites with not too many companies registered
    - Local TV (very cheap and reaches many people)
    - Dropping a letter in people's mailboxes' (as opposite to most countries, I would estimate only 1% of Maltese people have "no thanks to commercial" and there are quite a few who drops letters like this in the mailbox - the locals do not mind at all.

    Stephen,
    Could you please elaborate on the uses of the specific survey questions. It sounds interesting, but what kind of actionable useful answers would you believe I could get from
    3. What kinds of promotion do you use online?
    4. What kinds of advantages does your website afford you?
    5. Within the next 3 months where would you expect to invest further in online?
    6. How are other professionals benefiting from their investments online?


    Thanks again! :D
     
  6. Stephen Ryan

    Stephen Ryan
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    Hi maltasuccess,

    My questions were really only to try and explain "generalised questioning" vs. "specific questioning", in which the research is targeted at personas or stereotypes.

    But I guess the following is what i'd be looking to derive

    3. What kinds of promotion do you use online?
    (where are you spending your budget on online campaigns?, what is your budget and where targeted? - do you really know anything about online promotion?)

    4. What kinds of advantages does your website afford you?
    (are you using your website to make money via online sales, collecting leads, or just as a further point of contact for customers - do you want help making money/leads)

    5. Within the next 3 months where would you expect to invest further in online?
    (what are your priorities for investment in online in the short term? Where are you looking to spend money - maybe we could help you spend it?)

    6. How are other professionals benefiting from their investments online?
    (what are your competitors doing online? If they are being successful, do you want help beating them out of sight?)

    To a certain extent the questions are loaded. If they don't do anything online, the questions should hopefully be sufficiently compelling for them to respond in a positive manner and accept further discussion with you.
     
  7. Fergal

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    Sounds good, and I don't think those questions would make the survey too long. How do you plan on carrying out the survey, e.g. face to face interview, over the phone, email or through the post?
     
  8. SuccessMalta

    SuccessMalta
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    Hi again Admin:
    As to answer the question, it was mentioned before :)

    I will pretend (sort of) to be a student, so that I can get way more honest answers – as the locals love to assist people who studies.
    - I am a university student doing a survey for "Internet development and attitudes in the local business scene" – and I will visit the companies personally.

    Do you suggest instead to actually tell them that I am in the process of starting a business - and to see how I can help etc etc with a perky smile? Perhaps is a very good way to start a potential future relationship.

    Cheers!
     
  9. Fergal

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    Other small business owners understand the challenges involved in getting a successful business up and running. Hence, most of them are happy to spend a little time helping someone out, especially when the new business is not competing with them. If I was you I would be upfront and honest with them.

    Tell them that you are planning on starting an online marketing business and ask them if they would mind sparing a few minutes of their time to help you with your market research. I definitely would not try to sell to any of them at this time. However, at the end of the interview I would ask them if they would mind if you sent them a brochure / letter / email, if you actually go ahead and set up the business. The vast majority of respondents should agree to this and they would be excellent leads for your new business. I'd also send a thank you note to everyone who helped you with the research, this will remind them of who you are and the type of business you want to set up.

    I honestly don't see that there is anything to be gained by pretending to be a student, much better to be upfront and honest in my opinion.
     
  10. Stephen Ryan

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    ditto fergal. I have researched blackhat for years and whilst i found many innovative strategies, they use a lot of identity fraud techniques which actually backfire on their own egos. And to be perfectly frank the best market research I ever saw was created by professionals who were playing the long term game.
     
  11. SuccessMalta

    SuccessMalta
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    Great advice guys!
    I will definitely go for that idea, and the tips about asking them about brochure... brilliant.
    This is exactly what my whole company spirit will be about: Not selling, "Helping" :cool:

    I will use this survey and add a few of the questions you mentioned, Admin.

    ps. It is nice to see such involved people who is truly helping and gaining nothing (but karma) back!
    I owe you one!
    moreover - when I look around the forums - one of the best and most USEFUL forums I have ever seen! :$$:

    Cheers
     
  12. Fergal

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    Thanks for the very positive feedback SuccessMalta, we really appreciate that. Good luck with your research and your business launch!
     
  13. td2011

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    Hello there, Malta is a nice place to be based. The survey sounds very helpful and no I don't think it's too long. I hope your business carries on to grow and gain success. I like your motto "not selling but helping" thats good.
     
  14. SuccessMalta

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    Hi again all!
    After a few weeks of intense work I managed to get quite a bit further...
    I went around to alot of companies to fill in the survey with good responses, the survey is looking very well for now.
    Now I am sending out the survey to X amount of companies email addresses'
    ...
    And to get them to DO the survey and OPEN the email, Id like to ask what you think of the following email for them>
    • SUBJECT> Good morning! Please forward this 2-Minute Study Research Survey
    Any constructive feedback just to get people to do it/try to do it/open email is absolutely worshipped guys ! :cool:
     
  15. SuccessMalta

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    Getting some feedback on other ways, ill go with this :)
    CheerS!
     
  16. Fergal

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    SuccessMalta I'd suggest adding something to the email that offers some kind of benefit to those who complete the survey. Perhaps you could offer to give them a free summary of the survey results or maybe enter all responders into a contest. The prize wouldn't necessarily need to be big, even something like a chance to win a nice bottle of wine would show them that you value their feedback.
     

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