Im puting my business plan together and Im trying to figure out how or where I do my market reasearch. Ive tried just typing in market research and my zip code but all Ive come up with is stuff I have to pay for. How did some of you do it?
Everything 32vld said is solid advice. I would add looking at websites like city-data.com that give demographic data. Look at metrics like median income and average home price to find quality areas to focus your marketing. Remember that the highest income customers can be hard for new or smaller companies to land so you may want to center your efforts on upper-middle class neighborhoods. Also, I would drive around and see which neighborhoods look promising.
Believe it or not the best market research I have found is through local newspapers. They have all kinds of info on the town they are in and all surrounding towns. Info like average age, income, family size, number of homes etc. etc. I advertise in a few local papers and they provide me all this info for free. Here is an example.