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Analysing Survey Data: Conducting Market Research Surveys on a Shoestring Budget

Cutting cost - Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici - FreeDigitalPhotos.netMaybe you’ve been contemplating doing some market research for your business. You could be looking at analysing survey data to create customer profiles. Tweak your product offering. Or improve your marketing message. Jumping into market research can often appear daunting though. Both costly and time consuming.

This can be true. Especially if you engage the services of a professional market research firm. Luckily for you the internet has opened up a new set of cost effective alternatives for survey research.

Read on below for a step by step guide to carrying out your survey research on a shoestring budget.

1. Define the goal of your research

Pick one key outcome that you’d like to achieve from your market research. Make it measurable. For example you might want to measure the significance of the number of people willing to buy your product. Or to learn if your pricing is perceived as too high or too low. You might want to get data that shows which competitors your prospects currently buy from.

Having a clearly defined goal for your research will enable you to select the correct sample for you survey and help to design the survey itself.

2. Who will you survey?

Existing customers? Leads you have generated from a mailing list? A random sample? Or an even more specific demographic segment such as age or location.

Describe in detail this group of people that you will survey and match them to your survey objective.

For example you might wish to survey your non-paying customer leads from a mailing list. This could be for the specific purpose of learning about what competitors they currently buy from.

3. Design your survey

Now you can start designing your questions. You will need to think about the question types and the phrasing of the questions. Then you will need to consider the ordering of the questions relative to all of the hypotheses that you can think of. These details can directly affect the accuracy of your survey responses and response rate.

Your survey needs to flow logically to draw out the data that you are seeking for your objective. Consider running through your draft survey on a colleague to test the logical flow of your survey design.

4. Stack the odds in your favour to get responses to your survey

Consider the method for how you will attract respondents to your survey. It is common to send your survey via email. This is an easy way to scale the survey and at minimal to zero cost. When doing this you need to frame the survey in a way that entices the respondent to complete the survey.

A benefits-based subject line. Incentive for completion of the survey such some small reward. Short, well written copy and a clear call to action in the form of a link or button to take the respondent through to the survey platform. These are all effective tactics for improving your response rate.

5. Collect the data 

By now you have designed your survey and you can plug your questions into a free or low cost online survey platform such as SurveyMonkey or Survey Gizmo. Both of these products have free plans that will allow you take advantage of small surveys to get you up and running with your initial survey research on a budget. Click here to see the comparison table of most of popular data collection software.

6. Analysing survey data you have collected 

Once you have collected all of your responses you may be wondering what to do with that data. DataCracker is another easy to use software program with free and paid plans that will help you in analysing survey data. You will be able to create tables and charts that show the statistical significance of your responses.

7. Follow up on your insights 

The last step and most important is to take action based on your insights. Think about the original goal of your survey and why you chose that. Take the insights that you have discovered and apply them in your business by testing small experiments. Your results may lead to changing the way you price your product, how you communicate your marketing message or what future updates and product variations you intend to release.

Let us know in the comments what interesting insights you were able to discover by conducting your survey research on a shoestring budget!

Action Shows Active Motivation - Stuart Miles at


DataCracker specialises in free survey analysis software, survey data analysis software, online survey analysis, survey analysis software & web based survey analysis.

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Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and Stuart Miles at

About Luke Ryan

Luke Ryan does marketing for DataCracker. He writes on the blog and works on community and coverage. He loves to answer your questions about all things DataCracker.