Hosting a focus group to get more granular feedback from your customers is a great way learn what’s working, what’s not, and what the people want. The feedback can help you make better informed decisions when it comes to introducing, modifying or discontinuing products or services – instead of relying solely on your gut instinct.



Follow these five steps to host a successful focus group:



1. Define your Mission



What do you want to learn from your participants? Plan your focus group around a purpose and stick to it.



2. Recruit Participants



Carefully consider the people you invite. Think back to your plan for the focus group. Should you invite business people or consumers? What ages? Does income level or location matter? And should you be talking with people who are loyal to your company or people who have stopped purchasing your products or services? Maybe you need a good mix of everyone. You might consider sending out a questionnaire to pre-screen participants.



3. Provide Incentives



Time is money so be sure to reward the people who participate. Perhaps a discount or a gift card. Whatever that is, put yourself in their shoes and determine if the incentive is worth your time.



4. Interview



Interviewing participants in person is beneficial because there is much more to answers than words. Tone of voice and facial expressions can say a lot too. You can really capture the feelings in person. Prepare questions in advance and be very straightforward when delivering them. Don’t use a lot of adjectives or language that can be leading. Stay objective and try to get non-biased answers.



5. Take Notes



This is your chance to get more than a yes or no answer, so take advantage. Take notes on how the users engage with you. How do they appear? Do they smile? Are they agitated? Are they struggling to answer right away?



For a successful focus group, you need plenty of preparation ahead of time. You can find lots of sample questions online to give you ideas!