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Have you ever tried to look up market statistics or information for float centers?

If so, you’ve probably been left a little disappointed.

Mining for float industry data means coming to the unfortunate realization that the internet doesn’t actually have everything on it (realizing that even the all-mighty Google can’t help you can be a somewhat disheartening experience).

Since there isn’t much market data available on the industry as a whole, it means that you’ll have to compile data needed to present your area-specific float center concept.

We were frustrated by this issue as well, and so every year since 2014, we have collected data on the industry and compiled it into easy to understand reports that help show trends in the industry. You can find more information here.

Even with this data, it’s important for you to collect your own information on your local market. This will help you establish a more complete picture with a macro and micro scale of appeal for floating.

Through reaching out to your community and having them voice their opinions, you’ll be able to estimate the level of support for your float center. Once you have your answers, you can compile this feedback to assess the market, plan your marketing campaigns, and present to banks, investors, landlords, and anyone else who may need convincing that your center will succeed.

After receiving numerous questions about compiling market data, I decided to write this post offering some tips on gathering valuable information from your community that in the end, will support your float center.
float center industry data


A survey is the traditional method most people leans towards in gathering reliable data. You can ask exactly the questions you need to support your float center (familiarity with floating, interest, their past experiences) and simultaneously get any demographic information you think would be useful (age group, expendable income, education level, etc).

Tip: Many people still need haven’t heard of floating. During the survey, take an opportunity to introduce them to the concept. To help you illustrate what these crazy salt boxes can do, Float Tank Solutions offers a Beginner’s Guide to Floating and our About Float Tank Primer that can be used for this purpose. Being better informed allows them to better answer the questions and express their interest in trying it out. As an added bonus, the survey becomes a simple and effective marketing tool for your future center.

Types of Questions

To get your survey started, here are some sample questions you may want to include in your survey:

Have you ever heard of floating before? How/Where?
This provides you with information about the prevalence of floating in your community and how people became exposed to floating.

Have you ever floated before? When/Where was your first time? When was the last time you floated?
Having numbers on people who have floated before, especially if it was recently, will show that a current market exists.

If you’ve never floated before, would you be interested in trying it out? Why or why not?
These numbers are golden, and show that the major barrier stopping people from floating is simply lack of awareness–something that can be easily changed with targeted marketing efforts. Furthermore, you become aware of the major objections or issues people have with floating, if any.

Do you regularly use other methods of alternative wellness?
When combined with the above questions, this information helps to give an understanding of how willing people who currently practice one form of alternative wellness would be to trying out float tanks.

Basic demographic information (age, sex, income bracket, education, etc)
This basic information will come into play as you target audiences, or narrow the survey results down to see what type of people are most interested, helping to both frame your marketing efforts and help you show which demographics are most interested in floating.

A GRAIN OF SALT – Extrapolation isn’t definitive, and numbers oriented people (like bank loan officers and investors) realize this. Don’t make things up, and (as with scientific research studies) the larger the response, the more dependable your numbers. Cast a wide (but focused) net with your survey, and try to gather as many responses as you can to help legitimize your results.

Once you’ve cast a wide net with your survey, you can use the results in a variety of different ways. The goal is to distill and organize the data. From your organized information, you can extrapolate grains of data to provide a better understanding of how your local market might react to floating.

For example: If your survey shows that 80% of answers from people who practice yoga say that they’d definitely try floating, you can make an argument that a high percentage would hold true for the entirety of yoga practitioners in your area.

Collecting Results:

Face-to-face surveys are ideal and can be completed in a variety of different ways. If you can’t physically meet with each person taking the survey, hire people who can. While time consuming, this is the best way to explain the concept of floating, as well as excite people about floating, and ensure more accurate responses.

If you can’t be everywhere and hiring is out of the picture at the moment, another idea is to leave surveys behind at public locations such as coffee shops, local businesses, or the lobbies of other alternative wellness practitioners.

A Grain of Salt – Don’t forget about the potential for skewed or bias survey results. If you only target people you’re sure would be interested, you’re likely to get results which don’t accurately reflect the current state of your market. Make sure that your reach out to as many varied types of people as possible to avoid the common “sampling bias” surveys may fall victim too.

FloatOn_Gathering-Market-Data_01It is often a little more difficult to engage people with passive surveys left behind, but there are a few things you can do to make responses more likely:

An eye-catching flyer
Don’t make your survey just a big block of text, make it an engaging image that will draw the eye and separate you from surrounding flyers. Put a picture of someone relaxing in a float tank, or maybe a proto-humanoid monkey person emerging from one. Either way, make it interesting. Imagine yourself sitting in the area, what would catch your eye and make you want to look more closely?

An earnest request
Briefly explain the situation to the would-be survey taker right at the start. Mention that you’re trying to gather data that just doesn’t exist, they can help you create something just by answering a few questions. You legitimately need their opinion, so thank them for doing it, and mention that it will only take a moment for them to complete. Which leads me to the next point…

An obviously simple survey
Make the questions as short and straightforward as possible. Most people flee when they see long, complex questions.

Politely asking employees of the place you’re leaving the flyers to mention the survey:
This is probably the simplest way to potentially increase survey responses. Even a casual mentioning of the survey by the employee can help your flyer get noticed among a crowded bulletin board. If you explain the situation (and remember, make an earnest request), people can be much nicer than you may think.

FloatOn_Gathering-Market-Data_02Make an offer they can’t refuse
People are ripe to trade their opinions for a potential freebie. Offer something which will be raffled off among the survey response takers (a free float membership). Don’t underestimate the power which free stuff has over people. The more noteworthy the prize, the more people will take notice.

Stay in touch
If all has gone as planned, these people are learning about float tanks and YOUR float center. If you excite them enough you can get them to engage with you virtually. There are many people who are very active on social media, and you have the opportunity to let them know you’re online. Ask for their email, give them your website address, tell them to like your facebook page, and follow you on twitter. You may want to create cards with your float center’s online information on them to be taken home.

What About Online Surveys?
The questions can be the same, just the delivery is different. Online surveys are most useful in conjunction with Internet Engagement, as I’ll mention in the section below.

Internet Engagement

You may be able to use your virtual following to create statistics which can show a positive reaction to your float center. If you don’t have a mailing list (and you should) or social media following, this may not be a viable option for you without first attempting establishing them. (Gathering a following doesn’t come easily for a lot of people, our Marketing Package is filled with a ton of strategies to build an audience, which we’ve actually used to successfully spread the word about our center).

Compile the numbers
Calculate how many people you’ve collected in your mailing list and the size of your Facebook / Twitter following. These numbers indicate how many people are just waiting for your center to open. You can easily present this information (especially if it’s a large number) to show the interest in your center. If you have enough of a social media following, you don’t have to survey people on the street to find your demographic data. It’s all right there on Facebook.

FloatOn_Gathering-Market-Data_03A Grain of Salt – Believe it or not, not every “like” out there is real, and some social media profiles may in fact be –GASP– robots! There is a huge amount of fake traffic online, and yes, you can easily use these methods to get 30,000 likes. It might be nice to see all those likes flooding in, but you don’t want inflated numbers. It just becomes a vanity metric and no longer offers realistic numbers that reflect your following (which is what you need when you’re trying to use it to gain statistics about your market and customers).

Online Surveys
Obviously, you’re going to want to get the same survey responses as we discussed above. Don’t hesitate to engage your online following for their answers. They will likely be more than happy to provide you with follow up answers.

Analyze Engagement
More important than the size of your following is how engaged they are with what you have to say. There are a slew of sites out there which offer tracking for social media statistics. If you’re running a successful social media campaign, you want to gather those points to show how your marketing is engaging and exciting people about your upcoming center.

But wait… there’s more!

If you’re interested in diving deeper into business validation, customer development and survey strategies, we recommend picking up a copy of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A cheat sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany. You can also check out another blog post we wrote about the different types of market data you should collect, Fancy Acronyms for your Business Plan: TAM, SAM, and SOM.

During your fact gathering, if you discover any unusual or exciting tidbits you’d like to share,
please feel free to email to me: frank@floathq.com

-Frank Ciavarello
Float Tank Solutions

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