I’ll let you in on a little secret—the best thing that you can do for your business is focus on data. If you want to get to know more about your audience, you’ve got to do some research. When you’re interested in improving your product, you need to spend time gathering information about what people like about your product, what they wish it did better, and how it compares to products from your competitors. To get the information you want, you need to choose data collection methods that best fit your needs.
To help you recognize what research methods can help your business the most, we’re discussing everything related to data collection. Some of the items we’ll focus on are:
- what data you can collect,
- what types of data collection methods are available,
- what data collection tools are,
- how you can use quizzes for data collection,
- why you would want to use a quiz, and
- how you can use the data you’ve collected.
Once we’re finished, you’ll be ready to collect your data and use it effectively for your business.
Let’s get going!
Data can take many different forms. It can be numbers and statistics, narratives, recordings, images, or ratings, to name a few. But all of these different forms fall into two main categories of data. These are qualitative data and quantitative data.
Qualitative data include all of the information that you gather to describe something. With qualitative data, you aren’t collecting numbers and statistics. Instead, you’re focusing on text, images, observations, and recordings. Qualitative research uses mainly open-ended questions, which means that people aren’t restricted to specific answer choices. They are able to fully express their ideas however they want.
Because of the nature of qualitative data, analysis and interpretation traditionally requires more time and expense. People’s thoughts are not usually expressed in exactly the same way, so the people who are collecting the information have to take time to classify data according to their needs. Qualitative research traditionally includes fewer participants than quantitative research because of the amount of effort it takes for data analysis.
While qualitative research requires more time and leads to highly descriptive data, quantitative research focuses on numbers and statistics. With quantitative data collection, you will usually see closed-ended questions. These questions offer specific answer choices where the researcher can then use the information gathered for statistical analyses.
Quantitative data collection methods are commonly used, and sometimes preferred, because they’re faster to develop, it’s easier to gather information from a large number of respondents, and data analysis requires significantly less time. Often, researchers are able to use computer programs or other AI means to sort and analyze data.
While quantitative data collection is a more common starting point for individuals who are new to research, there are limitations to how helpful the findings from quantitative research truly are. When you use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, you are more likely to get a complete picture of whatever you’re researching. Using both provides you with a deeper understanding of what your respondents are thinking and feeling.
Those are insights that you want for your business! Let’s look at some of the data collection methods you can use to get the research that you need.
Types of data collection methods you can use
Data collection methods are how you go about collecting the data you need. Some of these methods work best for qualitative research while others are more effective for gathering quantitative data. You want to make sure that the research methods you choose can collect the data that you need for your business.
Interviews are one of the qualitative data collection methods that you can use. They give you access to the thoughts and feelings of your interviewees. Interviews allow the researcher to interact with the respondent and can offer a less-structured interaction. While you can identify questions that you want to ask before the interview, there is freedom for you to ask follow-up questions that clarify the respondent’s thinking. Interview questions usually have an open-ended format that gives the person responding the chance to freely express their own ideas.
You can conduct your interviews in a face-to-face setting or online. It’s also possible to interview people by phone. Interviews are frequently recorded so that the researcher has continued access to what the respondent said. Because it requires a significant amount of time to interview respondents and analyze the data collected, researchers typically hold a smaller number of interviews than other data collection methods. The data provided through interviews is very effective for understanding your customer personas. You can also use the information that you gather with your research questions to represent your voice of customer (VoC) in your marketing.
Another qualitative method that you can choose to use for your business is a focus group. If you’ve ever seen a commercial or a TV show where there’s a group of people sitting in a room and someone is asking them questions about their impressions on a topic, you’re familiar with a focus group.
Marketers often use focus groups to find out what people think about a specific person, product, or idea. Like interviews, focus groups allow open-ended questions and provide significant descriptive data. Whether this research method is used for marketing purposes or product development, you can gain great insights through a well-run focus group.
Observation is another popular research method that’s commonly used. Direct observation is when a researcher watches the participant(s) without interacting with them. The research can be conducted in a natural setting, like in a store, or in an isolated setting. In the isolated setting, the researcher might observe the subject through a one-way mirror.
Observations can be used for qualitative or quantitative research. The qualitative data usually contain narrative passages about what the participants say or do. In quantitative research, the researcher is looking for information that can be quantified. For example, the researcher might be observing to see how many people choose to take a second drink of a new soda they’re testing. If the researcher observes that 76 out of 100 individuals refuse a second drink of the soda, they might need to rework their flavor.
While observations can produce excellent insights for your business, it does require a significant time commitment for the research to be conducted and the observation data to be analyzed. It can also be a challenge to get a large enough sample size to validate the findings. But when you’re able to do both of those, the information gathered in your observations is invaluable.
Many business owners have come to recognize the value of writing case studies for their businesses. In a case study, a business owner focuses on a customer’s specific problem and explores how their product solves that problem. Done correctly, a case study can be a powerful marketing tool that shows how your products or services have benefited current customers and how you can assist potential customers in the future.
When creating case studies, it’s imperative that you and the customer who you’re spotlighting agree as to what specific data you’re focusing on and what you can share. There’s also significant flexibility in how the case study is developed and how the findings are presented. Case studies can include a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. You can choose how long the research process runs and how specific the findings are in your case study. Since you know your target audience, you can choose how detailed the research you present is.
Another of the popular data collection methods that researchers use is a questionnaire. A questionnaire gives the researcher the opportunity to ask the open-ended questions that they need for their research. Complete answers in the participants’ own words provides quality qualitative data for business owners.
Many business owners and researchers choose questionnaires for their research method because it’s a relatively simple process to distribute them to a large number of people. While analyzing data from open-ended questions requires more time and effort than closed-ended questions, the insights gained regarding the voice of your customer cannot be overlooked. Using actual testimonies and wording that come directly from your customer in your marketing is especially powerful in reaching your target customer.
Many business owners rely on surveys as one of their main data collection methods. Surveys are extremely popular because they can be created and distributed easily. In surveys, you are able to ask several types of survey questions. You can choose to include open-ended questions, closed-ended questions, or a combination of both. Including only closed-ended questions allows you to complete quantitative research quickly.
While surveys can be completed face-to-face, distributed through the mail, administered over the phone, or taken online, many business owners prefer the online option. They aren’t limited by their location or their customers’ location. The business owner can ask the research questions to anyone, anywhere through surveys. When the survey is simple for the participants to complete, more people are willing to take it and more quantitative data are available.
Data collection tools
No matter which of these data collection methods that you choose to use for your business, it is essential that you have the correct tool for the job. It’s necessary to distinguish between data collection tools and data collection methods. The methods are how you’re going to collect the research while the tool is the instrument(s) you’ll use in that method.
Let’s look at an example to clear up any confusion between these two. Imagine that you’ve decided to conduct face-to-face interviews as your qualitative method of choice. You might need a few instruments to help you conduct your research. The list of questions that you choose to ask is a data collection tool. Any specific forms that you use to record your observations during the interview qualify as a tool. You might need checklists to make sure you collect all of the information that you need from the participants. All of the instruments you choose to use in your data collection work together to make your research methods work efficiently and your findings are complete.
You might be wondering why Interact, an online quiz builder, is discussing data collection techniques. I mean, people use Interact for lead generation, not research! While Interact is amazing for collecting leads for businesses, an Interact quiz can also help you get to know your audience.
Even if you create a lead generation quiz to use for your business, the data you gather from your new leads are invaluable. Diving into your quiz analytics, specifically the chosen answers, can reveal a great deal about your audience and what they’re experiencing.
With Interact, you can also create surveys for your business. The quantitative data that you gather with your quiz can be used in many ways. You can ask your audience about their impressions of your brand, your website, or your products. You can ask closed-ended questions about their shopping experience or your customer support. You can learn more about your target audience by asking demographic questions in the quiz.
Why use quizzes for data collection
There are several reasons you should use quizzes as one of your data collection methods. Some of those reasons include:
- Quizzes are quick to create and implement;
- People like taking quizzes;
- They can perform double duty and generate leads at the same time.
When you want quantitative research that provides valuable information for your business and can get new potential customers for your business, that’s an all-around win!
Quizzes are quick to create and implement
If you want to quickly set up a way to ask research questions of your audience, a quiz is an excellent option. You can create your quiz and post it to your website in a matter of hours. It’s also possible to share your quiz on social media or run a Facebook ad to reach even more of your audience. Plus, when someone takes your quiz, you can immediately see their answers and how they compare with the results from other quiz-takers.
This is a significant advantage over other data collection techniques. If you wanted to send the same questions as a mail-in survey, you would need to factor in additional time for distribution, collection, and analysis. Choosing to use face-to-face surveys or interviews would require substantially more time to collect data from the same number of people as you could get with your quiz.
People like taking quizzes
Considering the popularity of quizzes on social media and sites like Buzzfeed, it’s obvious that people enjoy quizzes. Even if you choose to forgo the personality results that are usually found in Interact quizzes and create a survey that’s strictly for data collection, the ability to include images and GIFs makes the quiz more appealing to your audience. Plus, the small amount of time that a 7-10 question quiz takes makes people more willing to answer the survey questions.
Quizzes work for lead generation
Time and again Interact customers have gotten amazing results in terms of lead generation for their quizzes. From adding thousands of new subscribers to their emails lists to generating huge revenue from product sales, our customers have been highly successful. While the primary focus for your quiz might be to obtain quantitative data for your business, you can still encourage your quiz-takers to opt-in to your list.
To make your quiz work for lead generation and as one of your methods of data collection, you need to provide value to your audience. One way that you can do this is by offering quiz results that reveal something to your quiz-takers about their personalities. If the research questions that you include in your quiz don’t provide information that logically leads to quiz results, you can change the opt-in form to share the other benefits that you’re offering to your quiz-takers. Whether you choose to share a discount code that they can use to purchase your products or a VIP library that gives them access to private resources, it’s important that the quiz-takers understand the value in what you’re offering and that it’s something that they feel benefits them.
Benefits of using a quiz for data collection
While we’ve discussed several ways that you can collect data for your business, there are a few benefits in creating a quiz with Interact. One of the benefits is that you can start with a quiz template that you can customize for your business. These templates are sorted by categories, so you can choose the one that fits best with the type of data that you’re collecting. There are quizzes that are built for marketing, entrepreneurship, or psychology. The templates provide an excellent base for your quiz, and then you can change the quiz questions, images, results, fonts, or colors as needed. By the time you’re finished customizing the quiz, you’ll have a quiz that’s as unique as your business.
Another benefit of using a quiz for your data collection is you’re able to focus your research however you want. You can include questions that match your research goals. It’s possible to include answer choices that are as general or specific as you need for your audience. And through the email integrations that Interact offers, it’s possible to tag your new subscribers with their answers, which leads directly to the next benefit.
A third benefit of using an Interact quiz for data collection is you can follow up with your participants (quiz-takers). With the tags that connect to their answers, you can send targeted emails and sequences that follow up on their specific results. For example, if you have a market research question about the ages of the kids that they have at home, you can tag them with the age ranges that they select. You can then send targeted emails highlighting products that you offer for those specific ranges. This type of segmentation leads to higher open rates, better click through rates, and great ROI for your email marketing.
Creative ways that you can use your data
After you’ve created your quiz and started gathering data for your business, there are many ways that you can use the valuable information that you’ve collected. Whether you’re looking to learn more about your website visitors, using your quiz for product research, or you want to dive deeper into your customers’ thinking, a quiz is a great way to begin the process.
If you’ve done significant research into your target audience, you can use your findings to more deeply understand the psychographics of your audience. You can recognize the activities and interests that appeal to your people. For example, you might include a question like, “How do you usually spend your Friday nights?” The answer choices might be a) Watching Netflix at home with my significant other, b) Curled up with a good book, c) Out clubbing with my friends, d) Trying out the newest foodie hotspot, or e) Heading off to places unknown. If you figure out that the majority of your audience chose the answer D, you would know that your people are into gastronomy. You could then create content and messaging that appeals to this interest. When you know that what you’re creating fits with your audience’s interests, you’ll experience more success than what you would have gotten without the use of this quantitative data collection.
Another way that you can use the data that you collect through your quiz is for product development. If you know what your people need, you can develop products that help them solve their problem. And if you know that what you’re in the process of developing is something that the market needs, you can have confidence that what you’re working to create will sell.
Imagine that you sell pants for little boys. You’re interested in developing a new line of pants and want to make sure that it matches with what your customers want and need. You might ask a research question like, “Which of these qualities do you consider the most important when buying pants for your preschooler?” Offering answer choices such as a) pricing, b) durability, c) colorfastness, and d) softness gives your audience a wide range of qualities to choose from. If the parents overwhelmingly choose durability (like I would! 😃) means you can develop a product that lasts and your audience won’t mind paying a little more if you can guarantee the pants will last.
Diving deeper into the data
Now you know that your quiz is a great method for quantitative data collection, but your research doesn’t have to end there. You can continue the conversation with the individuals who subscribe to your email list. The email sequences that you use as follow-up for your quiz can help you gather more qualitative data from your quiz-takers.
For example, you might reach out to individuals who chose a specific answer on the quiz with a question that asks for additional insight. Say you’re in the process of developing a course for new digital marketers and you ask a question about how long they’ve been in business. After you’ve tagged quiz-takers with their level of experience in your email marketing platform, you could reach out to anyone who matches with your desired level of experience, who we’ll call “newbies,” and ask them an open-ended question or two. These questions can help you find out more about where they are in their career and what they’re looking for to move them forward.
To ensure higher response rates, you could offer them a discount on your upcoming course or the opportunity to brainstorm with you over the phone or Zoom call. While you’re providing some advice to them to help them on their business journey, they can give you even more information in your informal interview. As someone who knew very little about digital marketing when I got started, I would have jumped at the opportunity to talk with an experienced digital marketer about my numerous questions!
Another way to use your quiz results for deeper data collection involves primary and secondary data. If you aren’t familiar with the differences between these two types of data, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Primary data include all of the information that you collect during your research. In this situation, your quiz results. Your secondary data contain data obtained from other sources or other purposes.
Imagine that you want to focus on individuals who have bought from your company previously. You use your sales transaction history to identify those people. After you go through the process of gathering information from your primary research and your secondary data, you can identify people who answered your quiz questions a specific way and those who have bought from you previously. This group of individuals could then be invited to a focus group, either in-person or online, where they can give their thoughts on your products or services.
Through this process, you can gain additional insight from a group of people who know your products and who selected whatever key quiz answers on which you chose to focus.
Summing it all up
There are numerous data collection methods that you can choose to use for your business. To assist you in making an informed choice in your research methods, we discussed:
- what types of data you can collect (qualitative, quantitative, primary, and secondary);
- the types of data collection methods are available, including interviews, focus groups, observations, case studies, questionnaires, and surveys;
- what data collection tools are and how they’re from research methods;
- how you can use quizzes for data collection;
- why you would want to use a quiz;
- the benefits of using a quiz to gather research;
- how you can use the data you’ve collected through your quiz and ways you can dig deeper.
Whether you’re looking to do qualitative research or quantitative research, using a quiz can help you successfully find the information that you need. With a little creativity, I’m confident that you can create a quiz that can get you the various types of data that you need.
Happy quiz making!