Want to conduct primary research for your idea?

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In the very first post of this blog, titled Girl In a Taxi, I shared the story of some of the secondary research that contributed to the development of Red Case. What was not included was the manner in which I conducted the primary research, it may be helpful to you and your journey. This is also inline with the series of the past few blogs where we discuss What Research Means for Your Business Idea and How To Conduct Secondary for Your Business Idea.

The initial idea was to draft a survey, send them out to a few people who I considered to be potential customers and get their feedback. The challenge with this form of research is that for the results of your survey to be taken seriously, there needs to be a large number of participants and that requires time and resources.

Just before I got started with this path, I discovered an online marketing tool called a landing page. A landing page, also known as a lead capture page, is a single webpage where a user will be presented with information about a product/service and enter specific information (phone number, email etc), a lead, if they are interested in it.

1. I used a company that sold landing page templates which you could customise. Looking back, I could have developed the whole thing myself using something like WordPress, this would have substantially decreased costs. I was selling it as though it was definitely going to happen but it was more research, if I received a low response, I wouldn’t have gone through with it. Things were very “startuppy” back then, check the PowerPoint developed logo at the top left of the image!

Landing Page

Red Case landing page, used to conduct primary research.

2. I registered a domain and got a web host, after some tinkering, this allowed the landing page to be shown on www.redcase.co.za.

3. Now this was the fun part. At this point, I had a single webpage for anyone who had access to the internet to find read about what Red Case had to offer and provide their contact details if they were interested. The challenge now was to direct my potential target market to the website.

When I registered a domain name, I received a Google AdWords voucher of R600, which was activated after you purchased R200 worth of Adwords. That resulted in R800 worth of Google AdWords advertising. What is Google Adwords? When you search for specific content through search engines sometimes there are adverts at the top, right and bottom of your search results. Those advertisers have bid on certain keywords that you typed into the engine. I used the R800 budget to bid on certain keywords associated with entrepreneurship in SA. You bid by setting an amount of money that you will pay for every click that you get on your advert, the higher the bid, the higher up you appear on search results. The image should help.


Thick borders show paid advertising (Google AdWords) and dashed border show Red Case advert.

The next step was finding platforms that could help me conduct this research… for free, remember “startuppy”. I approached several community newspapers with my potential business idea that would help entrepreneurs, many of them declined to run with the story because essentially I was asking for a free advertorial. There were two newspapers that were happy to help a startup, the beauty of persistence.

Right about the same time, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the HookUp Dinner where I presented Red Case and directed those entrepreneurs to the landing page.

Google AdWords, newspaper articles and The HookUp Dinner attracted over 200 participants from all over the country and a small portion from outside the country. With this many participants, its makes it a bit easier for potential investors and other stakeholders to take your research seriously.

I would encourage this approach because its a very inexpensive way of validating your idea.

Here’s an article that discusses the details of the setup.

What do you think? How did you conduct research for your business idea?

Nthulane Makgato

Founder and Director

Red Case

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