Online Focus Groups: Bringing the Action to Your Desktop

Focus groups have been around for a while, but they’ve mostly remained in the physical world. Thanks to the power of the internet, though, they can now be conducted virtually.

Online focus groups are a great way to engage with potential customers, determine buying behavior, and identify pain points. But, since they’re virtual, they can be difficult to run and record. That’s where the moderator and facilitator roles come in.

Let’s take a look at how you can use a tool like Zoom to run an online focus group and get the data you need to make the right decision.

Choosing the Right Venue For The Discussion

The first step is to choose the right venue for the discussion. You can select a public forum like a blog article or a public Facebook group, or you can set up a private Facebook group for maximum confidentiality.

When you choose a private Facebook group, no one outside the group will see the discussion topics or see who’s participating. This is great for avoiding bias while also ensuring complete confidentiality.

An even better option is to use a tool like Zoom to set up a private, virtual focus group room. You can do this by going to your Account Settings and selecting the +Add Room button. Doing this will bring up a room selection window where you can choose whether you want to set up a private room or a conference room.

If you opt for a private room, you can control who has access by selecting the “Invite Members” option. Doing this will bring up a room access dialog where you can specify the invitees for the group. Once you’ve finalized the invite list, you can start the group by clicking on the “Start a Live Group Meeting” button.

Formatting The Discussion

Now that you have a place to talk, you need to format the discussion to make it more interesting and engaging. You can use a simple icebreaker to get things started or you can do a short presentation about the product or service you’re reviewing before diving into the discussion.

Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, you can use the chat feature in Zoom to engage with the group and get their feedback.

You can also record your discussions using tools like Zoom or Attachmate Group’s GoZone to make them more accessible later on.

Managing The Discussion

Once you have a complete set of recorded discussions, you need to begin the process of analyzing the data and preparing reports. For that, you can use tools like Zoom Analytics to track engagement metrics (number of views, likes, and comments), as well as user behavior (page views, bounce rates, and time spent per engagement).

You can also use the tool to identify the most popular topics and questions and determine the degree of engagement with each one. From there, you can craft the perfect sales pitch, roadmap, or case study for your business.

Creating Key Takeaways

After you’ve conducted a number of online focus groups and analyzed the data from them, you’ll have a clear picture of what worked and what didn’t, and you can adjust your approach accordingly. You can then repeat the process or move on to the next phase.

Depending on what you need, you can create a number of key takeaways from the data you’ve gathered. For example, you might want to create a list of the top tips and tricks that prospective customers give you when responding to various questions you’ve posed to them. You can also take the time to identify any gaps in your knowledge that you need to address, as well as the qualities you need to possess to reach your customers effectively.

Using The Data For Decision Making

As we mentioned above, the goal of online focus groups is to get as much information as possible about the target audience so you can make the right decision about product or service offerings. Once you have all the necessary information, you can craft an effective strategy to reach your audience and make a lasting impression.

The trick is in the information gathering stage. To get that, you need to be observant and listen closely, especially to the answers you get to the questions you ask. This will help you determine the demographic, psychographic, and geographic segments that are most responsive to your product or service and will give you a clearer picture of your target audience. It also helps you eliminate any potential bias while making the right decision about your company’s future direction.

Bringing The Action And Closure

Last but not least, we need to take a moment to talk about bringing the action and closure to the discussion. When you’re conducting an online focus group, there are certain key elements you need to keep in mind so the discussion stays cohesive and on track.

The first element is to keep the action in mind throughout the whole process. Just because you’re having a video chat doesn’t mean you have to talk over the top of the video, and just because you have a microphone doesn’t mean you have to be the one talking all the time (plus, you can always mute your speaker.).

Instead of just shoving in your mic and talking over the top of the video chat, try asking some occasional questions to see if the group has anything to add. You can then integrate their input into your analysis.

Another important element is to bring closure to the discussion. You should leave the video chat room with an idea of what you’ve learned and a clear plan of what you’ll do next. If there are any follow-up questions, you can easily get them by simply re-visiting the original group.

While it’s great to have a venue for discussions like this, keeping it fairly digital and using tools like Zoom make it much easier to manage and analyze the data obtained. This makes it much easier to determine what works and what needs to be changed to make a bigger impact.