Consumer Research: How to Build a Better Online Qual Study
Online qual is no longer the domain of a few surveys or bulletin boards. The next generation of online qualitative research tools, like Aha!, now go much further in engaging respondents, allowing marketers to develop deeper, richer consumer insights.
We’ve helped clients build and conduct hundreds of online qualitative studies and have learned a thing or two about how to get passionate participation, high compliance/completion rates, and deeper insights.
Here are five ways to get the most out of your online studies:
1. Humanize Your Study
Online research can be cold and sterile but you can change that: Make your online studies more human. One of the most effective ways to do this is to introduce yourself as the moderator, a real person behind the curtain. The best way, in my opinion, is to upload a video of you…who you are, what your job is, and nicely tell them what they will be doing over the course of the study. Then, ask them to respond in kind using their webcam and telling you a little about themselves. These video submissions really bring your report to life.
2. Don’t Bore Them…Go Beyond Q & A
Straight Q & A is boring for you, the respondent, and your clients. Leave boring to the quant studies. With where online qual technology is today, take advantage of the tools and mix it up with collage, perceptual maps, storytelling, mobile activities, social media/community exercises, idea generation exercises, and more. Of course straight open-ends are necessary but it is so much more engaging and enlightening to have respondents do projective exercises that dive deeper than text answers and use symbolism to define their feelings.
3. Keep Them Engaged
Daily morning group notes are ideal for keeping your respondents in the game. It’s an opportunity to make them feel good about their contributions or gently nudge the laggards along – a little guilt can go a long way! Another effective tactic is to use an online research platform’s probing tools. Asking individual questions, diving deeper on responses or simply recognizing a respondent’s passionate engagement in the study builds a deeper level of connectivity leading to more emotive responses.
4. Get (and keep) Your Client Engaged
Our experience is that clients are either heavily engaged (not many) or totally disengaged (most). The good news is that those who are not engaged trust you implicitly to expertly moderate the study and deliver a killer report. But there is opportunity to pull them in more during the fieldwork sharing great insights and respondent contributions as they happen. It is a chance to demonstrate your analytic skills and get the client’s head wrapped around how powerful this research medium is…and what they might expect in the final analysis.
5. Keep the Recruiters Engaged, Too
This sounds pretty logical but once you get your respondent profile grids the recruiter’s job is not done. This is THE key driver in getting maximum completion rates. Some platforms have easy-to-use respondent communication tools available to recruiters to keep an eye on respondent performance. These tools immediately identify laggards and send messages from within the platform to respondents who have fallen behind. If your recruiter refuses to use tools such as these you need a new recruiter…
Sounds simple, right? It really is. Working with the next generation of online research tools, and adding your creativity, can deliver deeper, richer research experience.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.