If you’re not a business professional, market research may seem like a complex idea—and it certainly has nothing that has to do with you, right? Guess again. If you want to make money online, market research is a term you should definitely get familiar with. In this post, we will discuss what market research is and how you can cash in on it, starting today.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about a particular target audience: their likes, dislikes, needs, wants, and opinions. For example, researchers may collect this data to:

  • Test consumer awareness of a particular product or service
  • Measure public opinion about a brand or current issue
  • See how consumers are using goods and services
  • Determine what can be done to improve a product or service

Market research is one of the most critical parts of refining a business plan. It helps leaders guide decisions about products, distribution channels, and branding. Plus, it pinpoints what it will take for a product to be successful. However, for it to be effective, the information gathered must be accurate and thorough, painting a picture of the average consumer and how, when, and where they use the product.

A market researcher is someone who collects, analyzes, and organizes data and then presents it to their clients. In turn, the clients use the information to make decisions about what to do next. 

What Do Market Researchers Do?Colleagues Looking at Survey Sheet

Market researchers may be directly employed by a corporation or a company, or they may work at a marketing agency. While they have many duties, one of the most important aspects of the job is creating surveys geared toward consumer behavior, distributing them, and assessing the resulting data. 

For example, one of your responsibilities as a market researcher might be to help a company determine if the ads they are running for a new beverage are creating sales or not. So, you create a survey with a list of questions about the products and advertisements. The questions might go something like this:

  • When you hear a radio ad for this beverage, do you like or dislike the music?
  • Which colors do you prefer in this magazine ad for the beverage? Do you like the green color scheme, or does the red color scheme appeal to you more?
  • How many times a week do you think you would purchase this beverage?
  • How many times in the past year have you purchased similar drinks?

Once the researcher has all this information, they present it to their clients, who can then make decisions about what to do next. 

What Does Any of This Have To Do With Me Making Money?

By now, you’re probably wondering how any of this pertains to you—especially the part about making some extra cash at home in your spare time with market research. Here’s the exciting part. Market research firms will pay people for their opinions! There are several gigs you can take part in to earn cash this way:

1. Focus Groups:

Market researchers use focus groups to gain deep insight into consumer behaviors. Usually, there are six to twelve participants invited, and they are led by a moderator for one to three hours. Users are screened beforehand to ensure they are part of the appropriate target market for the study. 

While you can make a decent amount of money participating in focus groups, it’s not a regular side hustle since they can be few and far between. However, you can sign up with several market research firms online, and you’ll be notified if you meet the criteria to join.

2. Mock Jury Duty

Often, attorneys will enlist market research companies to put together a panel of mock jurors to get insight on a case before it goes to trial. You typically need to live in the county or state where the trial will be held. Once you’ve reviewed the case (which can take a few minutes to an hour or more), you get paid via check or Paypal. 

There are several online sites that you can sign up with, including Online Verdict and Ejury. However, like focus groups, the opportunities to get paid to be an online juror are few and far between, and you need to wait to be chosen.

3. Paid Online Surveys

A third way to earn with market research is to take surveys for cash. This is the easiest opportunity. Since you don’t have to wait for an invitation, you can start right away. Why and how does this gig work?

Consumers are bombarded with surveys for products and ads these days. It seems like everywhere you go, and for every purchase you make, you are asked to answer some type of survey. It’s exhausting, annoying, and can feel downright intrusive. We’ve all developed survey fatigue. We’re tired of taking surveys.

However, since companies rely heavily on this data, they had to devise a way to get people to respond to their queries without making them feel resentful and bothered. This is how market researchers developed the idea for paid surveys.

What Are Paid Online Surveys?Side view of crop concentrated young ethnic female using touchpad of netbook and shopping online

Paid online surveys are the market research industry’s answer to consumers being fed up with answering questions. By offering something in exchange for the needed data, people feel a little better about spending time filling out questionnaires and responding to surveys.

So, market researchers partner with online survey sites to get the data they need. The firm compensates the survey site, and the survey site has users complete surveys for money. It’s a win/win situation for everyone involved.

Who Can Participate in Online Surveys?

This is the great part about this aspect of market research. Anyone can get involved. There are no special skills or qualifications needed, and you don’t need to devote large chunks of time to take online surveys for money.

In fact, as long as you have a smartphone, tablet, computer, or laptop (and an internet connection), you can take surveys anytime, anywhere, and make money online.

Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not! Next, we’ll talk about how you can get started taking surveys for money.

Paid Market Research Surveys: Steps To Making Money Online

Now that you know how the paid survey business works, you’d probably like to know how to get involved. The good news is, getting started with paid surveys is easier than you think, and you can be up and running in the time it takes you to read this article!

Step #1: Choose a Reputable Survey Site

Not surprisingly, most online ventures have some level of risk involved, and in the case of online surveys, there are quite a few bad players in the industry. That’s why it’s vital to find a legit survey site to work with, and it’s not hard if you follow a few simple guidelines:

Never pay to play: Reputable survey sites never ask for a membership fee, but scam sites do. If a site requests payment from you—no matter how small—move on.

Seek out genuine user reviews: Legit sites have legit user reviews. People generally share their experiences (good and bad) with any online money-making ventures, and surveys are no exception.

You’ll want to find a site that has a lot of good reviews from real users. For example, Branded Surveys (our favorite survey site) has over 42,000 reviews on Trustpilot, and a rating of excellent. This is the type of company you want to align yourself with.

Look for a site with great payment options: It’s not going to be very beneficial to you if you join a site that makes it hard to withdraw your earnings. Instead, search for a site that offers multiple ways to get paid. 

For example, at Branded Surveys, you have several payment options:

Step #2: Sign Up With Your Preferred Site

Once you’ve followed the steps above and found a site you like, you’ll need to sign up. In most cases, registration is pretty simple. First, you’ll fill out a form containing basic information like your name, age, where you live, and your email address.

Then, you’ll need to confirm your email to become a member. This double-opt-in process should be familiar to anyone who participates in online activities since it is one of the methods used by companies to protect your data.

Finally, once you’ve confirmed your address, you can access the site, have a look around, and get a feel for what’s involved.

Step #1: Complete Surveys

Once your membership is confirmed (a process that takes mere minutes), you can start taking surveys for money. The first surveys available to you will be profile surveys. These are paid surveys that market researchers use to get to know you better. Don’t skip this step, as it’s vital to get paired with the most lucrative survey opportunities for you.

After you’ve completed all your profile surveys, you can start taking regular surveys. You don’t need to work in any particular order—just pick something that seems interesting to you and answer the questions carefully.

Take your time and put some thought into answering the questions. Honest and thorough answers will ensure that you get paid for your time and effort.

Closing Thoughts

Market research firms offer several ways for everyday consumers to make money online—focus groups, mock jury duty, and paid online surveys. However, the most accessible opportunity is paid online surveys. There are no special skills involved. You can start right away and keep working on them indefinitely. That means that you can work on paid surveys again and again, earning some extra cash anytime you need it.