How To Recruit Participants For Research

4 Min Read Every business needs valuable data to help guide their decisions and marketing strategies. But to gain that data, you need people willing to take part in market research activities. Recruiting those people can be somewhat of a challenge, even for seasoned ecommerce businesses.

Written by UserInput Team
Last Updated: February 2023

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Every business needs valuable data to help guide their decisions and marketing strategies. But to gain that data, you need people willing to take part in market research activities. Recruiting those people can be somewhat of a challenge, even for seasoned ecommerce businesses.

Not only do you need people that accurately represent your target market, you need a diverse panel of people to give you the most well-rounded results possible.

Why Should You Recruit Research Participants?

The short answer is because you want your ecommerce business to be successful. Brands that make a point to streamline their customer experience and understand their audience are more successful than brands who choose to wing it.

You can use research participants to help evaluate things like:

  • Product Research and Development- Product research and development helps provide insights backed by data, on whether your product is viable and worth investing your time and energy into. It helps you understand what your customers want, so you can develop products that will actually sell.
  • Brand Research- Brand research is important to understand how well your brand resonates with your audience. There are several types of research related to branding, such as brand perception, penetration, loyalty, awareness, positioning, advocacy, and value. Each offers answers to a different question related to your brand.
  • Price Testing- Price testing is what it sounds like. You’re using research participants to help evaluate potential price points for your products, and using that information to price them at the price likely to generate the most sales. The right pricing structure is crucial for the success of every ecommerce business.
  • Product Feedback- Product feedback is another research activity that’s relatively self-explanatory. Participants provide you with valuable feedback regarding your products that can be used to make modifications to either the product itself. It helps you get a handle on how your product will perform in your market, and how potential customers might feel about it. Polls, surveys, and questionnaires can be a great option for this.
  • Product Usability- This is great for when you want to know in real-time how customers use your products. Products in beta or early versions of a product are great candidates for this type of research, and can help you avoid losing a lot of money by launching something that––put simply––doesn’t work as intended.

Should You Use Incentives to Recruit Research Participants?

You can, but it’s a bit of a gray area. Some businesses will use incentives like:

  • Cash
  • Gift cards
  • Prepaid cards
  • Gifts
  • Product giveaways
  • Charitable donations on the participant’s behalf

All can be helpful in the recruitment hunt, but if you’re paying them too much, it could be perceived as coercive. On the flip side, pay them too little, and it could be perceived as exploitative. So pick your poison. The other drawback is it can become costly paying out financial incentives and rewards, especially if you recruit research participants on a regular basis.

Ways to Recruit Participants for Research

There are several methods used to recruit research participants. Some may work better than others, so experimentation will be needed to find the ones that work best for your business.

Social Media Outreach

If you’re on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or others, you can reach out to your followers and mine them for good potential research candidates. Chances are, if they are following you, they are either existing customers or people who are already interested in your products and brand.

Online Communities

Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only places online communities exist. There are also platforms like Slack and Reddit that you can join and find potential research participants. However, the potential pool of candidates will not be as targeted as hitting up your current followers, so you’ll have to be sure to screen them carefully so you get accurate results.

Post-Purchase Requests

Right after a customer makes a purchase is a great time to ask if they would be interested in participating in research activities to improve your products and service. You already know they are your target market or they wouldn’t have bought anything, so that’s one less pre-screening item to check off the list!

Post-Review Requests

Similar to the above, recruiting research participants right after a customer leaves a review on your website can also be an effective strategy. Again, you already know they are your target market and if they just so happen to love your products enough to leave a rave review, they’ll probably be willing to help you out with some research as well.

In-Product Pop-Ups

This is more if you’re selling a digital product, not a physical product. You can use an a pop-up to ask users if they would be interested in participating in future research activities to improve the product and service and roll out new ones.

Pop-Up, Page, or Callout Box on Your Website

Similar to the above, except it’s designated to your website, which means even if you’re selling physical products, you can still use this method. However, it does rely on your site receiving a steady stream of web traffic, otherwise your hunt for research participants won’t even be on your target market’s radar.

While all of these methods can be helpful and even effective, we believe there is an easier way!

Consider Research Participant Recruitment Tools

As we’ve demonstrated, recruiting research participants can be tough, especially for new businesses that don’t already have an established customer base to tap into. The upside is that it doesn’t have to be so hard!

Tools and assistance like what we offer here at can be a great shortcut to save you time, money, and energy. Our service does all the heavy-lifting, so that you can gather the data you need to run your ecommerce business successfully, sans the headaches.

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