30 market research questions for startups to ask

Business owners say that a lack of market research is one of the top reasons that businesses fail. It’s proof that while good ideas are powerful, they’re not enough to ensure the success of your startup.

If you want your new business to thrive, then robust market research is a necessity. And an essential part of the process is asking the right market research questions for startups.

In this article, we’ll discuss types of market research, review why market research is important for startups, and outline methods for conducting a market research survey. Then we’ll help you get started by sharing 30 example market research questions for startups to ask and highlighting how Jotform can help startups create the perfect market research survey.

The benefits of market research for a startup

Market research is the process of collecting data about the audience for a product or service (such as information on their attitudes, opinions, buying behavior, level of customer satisfaction, and awareness of your brand). This data is then combined with research on market size, competitors, and industry trends.

You can use the insights you’ve gathered from this research to create or enhance a positive user experience, improve your brand’s products and services, differentiate your company in the marketplace, and make other decisions that will ensure your startup succeeds.

While it certainly would be disappointing to discover that there’s no market for your potential solution, understanding this before you sink months or years of your blood, sweat, and tears into a project will save you a lot of headache and heartache going forward.

Market research can be helpful in many other ways. It allows you to

  • Test your ideas
  • Clarify and understand your ideal client profile (ICP)
  • Attract investors by gathering data that proves the viability of your idea
  • Differentiate your startup by analyzing the competition
  • Identify market gaps where you have a competitive advantage
  • Mitigate risk and boost the odds of success
  • Determine the right pricing strategy
  • Gather insights for developing your marketing and branding strategy
  • Improve your current product or service based on customer feedback
  • Understand shifts in the marketplace so you can adapt your business accordingly

Market research can provide a solid road map for making the kind of informed, data-driven decisions that will help you navigate the twists and turns along the way to startup success.

Types of market research

The two main types of market research are primary research and secondary research.

Primary market research is the process of gathering market data directly from your target audience through methods such as in-person interviews, questionnaires, online surveys, phone interviews, focus groups, and existing customer reviews.

Secondary market research is the process of reviewing information third parties have collected and shared via industry publications and studies, academic journals, news sites, white papers, and public databases.

Primary and secondary research can be both qualitative and quantitative. With qualitative research, you discover how your target audience thinks and feels, often by asking open-ended questions on a survey or reviewing interview transcripts. With quantitative research, the data you gather is numbers-based and measurable, such as test scores, website traffic numbers, subscriber counts, or numbers and percentages you’ve gathered from survey question responses.

Methods for conducting a market research survey for startups

A market research survey for startups should aim to collect reliable data on the target audience, competitors, and industry trends. This data can help you create an effective marketing strategy that appeals to your ICP, a value proposition that differentiates your startup from competitors, and an understanding of trends in your market.

There are several reliable methods for collecting market research data. Four common approaches include in-person interviews, telephone interviews, focus groups, and online surveys.

In-person interviews

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with people in your target market. You can conduct them through video if a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible. In-person interviews allow you to read non-verbal cues, which can be helpful for getting context you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews involve asking your participants questions over the phone. Because respondents aren’t meeting face to face or on camera with an interviewer, they may feel more comfortable answering questions and sharing more information. That said, not many organizations use phone surveys these days because many people won’t answer a call from a number they don’t recognize.

Focus groups

Like interviews, focus groups are also conducted in person, but they involve a small group of people who are representative of the target market. In this setting, a trained moderator asks questions about participant opinions, interests, and tastes related to a product or service, user experience, company branding or marketing, or competing products and services.

Online surveys

This method of conducting market research involves distributing surveys via email, a website, or social media. Online surveys often have a higher response rate than other methods because they are convenient for respondents — anyone with an internet connection can complete them online on any device.

Advantages of online surveys for conducting market research

Online surveys are a popular and powerful way to conduct market research because of their many advantages:

  • They offer an easy, low-cost way to collect lots of data, which means you can get a statistically reliable sample to base your decision-making on.
  • The data you gather with online surveys is usually straightforward to analyze.
  • You can use them to reach a specific target market.
  • You can use them to collect both qualitative and quantitative data on customer preferences, market trends, and more.
  • You can distribute them to anyone with an internet connection in any location around the world.
  • Participants can access them easily and complete them more quickly.
  • Because online surveys can be anonymous, respondents may be more likely to share their honest thoughts and opinions.
  • They’re more accurate than other methods because respondents record their answers directly into the survey, rather than having someone else record responses.
  • You can analyze results quickly and share them easily with others.

30 example market research questions for startups

There are several question types you can include in your market research survey, such as yes/no or single choice questions, multiple choice questions, open-ended questions, star rating questions, ranking questions, and more.

Let’s take a look at 30 example market research questions for startups.

Yes/no or single choice questions

  1. Do you ever purchase products/services in this category?
  2. Have you purchased our product/service before?
  3. How many other products like this do you own?

Multiple choice questions

  1. How many similar products/services like ours have you tried?

[0; 1–2; 3–4; 5 or more]

  1. What’s your main source of information for products/services like ours? [Include a list of options.]
  2. Which of these companies have you purchased this product from in the past six months? [Include a list of competitors.]
  3. What would you be willing to spend on an effective product/service in this category? [Include a list of price categories.]
  4. How do you prefer to purchase products like ours? [Include a list of choices: online, in the store, or through a mobile app.]

Star rating questions

You can introduce these questions with instructions like: Please select an answer between 1–5 stars, with 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest.

  1. How would you rate our customer service?
  2. How would you rate our product selection online?
  3. How would you rate the ease of using our communication channels to contact us?

Ranking questions

  1. On a scale of 1–5, how would you rate the effectiveness of our product/service?
  2. Which product features do you use the most? Rank them in order, from most to least.
  3. In order of importance, please rank the top three things that persuaded you to consider our product rather than a competitor’s.
  4. On a scale of 1–10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to your friends, family, and colleagues?

Checkbox questions

  1. Which of the following features do you use in our app? [Include a list of 4–5 app features.]
  2. Which of the following features are most important to you when considering a product or service in this category? [Include a list of 4–5 features of your product/service.]

Open-ended questions

  1. What has the greatest influence on your purchasing decisions: price, quality, ease-of-use, or something else?
  2. What was your biggest concern about purchasing our product/service?
  3. What were your first impressions of our product/service?
  4. What do you like most about our new product/service?
  5. What do you like least about our new product/service?
  6. What do you wish our product/service did that it doesn’t do?
  7. What feature do you think we should add to help improve the product experience for you?
  8. How would you feel if this product/service was no longer available?
  9. What challenges do you currently face in your industry (related to this product/service)?
  10. What problem were you trying to solve by buying a product/service in this category?
  11. What similar products/services have you used to solve this problem in the past?
  12. Describe what was happening the day you decided to solve this problem.
  13. Is there anything else you’d like to add that wasn’t addressed in any of the previous questions in this survey?

Create a market research survey for your startup with Jotform

You can easily create a survey using one of Jotform’s 70-plus marketing survey templates. Simply choose a template and customize it to match your goals and your company’s branding. Then share it with a link, through email, or by embedding it on your website to start collecting responses.

The free market research survey template is fast and easy to set up. It allows you to collect demographic information such as age, gender, household income, and education level, and its multiple-choice format makes it simple for respondents to complete. Customize it with your company logo, change the text and colors, and you’ll be ready to go. Or for another option, choose this market research template.

It’s easy to embed surveys in a website, and thanks to Jotform Tables, you can collect, organize, and manage data as well as track survey responses in an all-in-one workspace. Finally, Jotform Report Builder allows you to visualize your survey results and turn them into beautiful, professional reports and presentations that automatically update with each new submission. You can present your reports or share them in seconds — for free.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Kimberly Houston is a conversion-focused marketing copywriter. She loves helping established creative service providers attract and convert their ideal clients with personality-driven web and email copy, so they can stand out online, and get more business, bookings, and sales.

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