Research Options For Small Business

Over the weekend I had to do some research for some projects I was working on. I love to research. I know I’m one of those geeks who can find anything on the net. It just takes some creative searches and digging through search page results. Sometimes the perfect article or document is on page 9 or 10 of the search results. When in college, our International Marketing class project was on “How to Market Pharmaceuticals to China.” None of us in our group was familiar with the process. In one of our group meetings, we found a document that spelled out the exact process. SCORE! We could design around the  Process.

Over the weekend I found that many of the sites I would rely on now no longer give free results. Sites like used to give basic information on sites. Such as traffic and data. Now bought out and no more free options. The same goes for It’s now part of Amazon but you can find some basic info. Such as general traffic data and that’s about it. So what tools do you have to research?

  • Google Trends – I really like Google Trends to see how well something is trending. It will even show if it is an ongoing trend or seasonal. You can put in any term and see how many people are searching for it. If you’re looking to see what’s trending in general, the home page has the current trending topics on Google.
  • Social Mention – Is a listening type service that is free. The results you need may take some work to get the search just right. It’s good to hear what is going on in social. For free I can’t complain about the service but if you can afford a better listening tool, definitely get it.
  • Quantcast – If you need website data this is the site. However, if it’s a smaller site it probably will not be listed. If it’s a bigger brand it will show up. The example of brought up a lot of information. You can also submit your site to get data as well. Just note, that other can too!

I’d love to hear any research sites you use. Any that are affordable or free? They are getting rarer and rarer each year.

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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