How to Sign Up for Online Focus Groups — 5 Steps to Follow
To sign up for online focus groups, there are a number of things you need to do.
Online focus groups are similar to the focus groups you’ve seen on TV and in the movies — you meet with a group of people on video conferencing software (like Zoom) and discuss a particular product, service, or message (political or brand messaging).
Just like in an in-person focus group, there will be one or two moderators who will guide the discussion. The goal is to get your feedback on the topic at hand and to get you interacting with your fellow participants.
What makes online focus groups great is that you can do them from the comfort of your own home. This is especially important now that COVID-19 has become a part of our daily lives. You won’t have to worry about being around people if you’re not comfortable with that.
Keep in mind, however, that all focus groups require you to give the providers a significant amount of personal data to be considered, and that data is given to the companies that pay for the study. You’re not going to be able to do these anonymously.
Here’s what you need to do to sign up for online focus groups.
1. Research Focus Group Websites and Providers
There are tons of focus group websites and providers out there — many more than you would think. There are also tons of websites that offer focus groups — or at least, that seem to.
Unfortunately, many of these websites aren’t going to give you the best options. It’s not that they’re fake or a scam — they just might lead you to low-paying focus groups or focus groups that only pay you with gift cards.
In other cases, you won’t even get paid at all. Instead, you’ll be given “tokens” or a similar fake currency that can be traded in for various rewards. You should definitely avoid these websites. Legitimate online focus groups should pay you directly.
In some cases, websites that advertise focus groups only give you access to surveys, which can take a long time and usually have low pay. If the website actually does provide focus groups online, they’re usually rare and hard to get into.
Thankfully, there are definitely some legitimate websites out there that provide online focus groups for a wide variety of participants like you, and there are also legitimate businesses that do nothing but run focus groups.
Many of these businesses are research facilities and do lots of in-person focus groups, but many of them will also provide online focus groups. Look for focus groups in your area to find legitimate facilities.
2. Register in Focus Group Databases
Once you’ve found a reputable focus group provider, it’s time to register with them. Registration is different from applying, which we’ll explain in the next section.
When you register with focus group providers, you’re giving them a ton of information about yourself that they then use to match you with online focus groups when they’re available.
Not all legitimate focus group providers are not going to allow you to pick and choose the studies you’re interested in. Rather, they are going to choose you based on the information you gave them if they believe you’re a good fit.
This means you have to give them demographic info like your age, sex, career, income, number of children, whether you’re married or single or divorced, etc.
You’ll also have to give them some psychographic information, like what your hobbies are, what your political or religious leanings are, or your opinions on particular brands or companies.
When a study comes up, the provider looks for potential participants in their database that fit their needs. Then, they contact you. You might have to wait a while to be contacted, and you’re not guaranteed to be contacted.
In other cases — and this is often true for focus group websites — registration is quick and straightforward, and then, in addition to them contacting you when they think a focus group is right for you, they’ll also let you check out available focus groups and apply to be in them.
3. Check Your Email Regularly
Once you’ve registered your information, you need to keep an eye on your email because one of the main ways focus group companies find new participants is through emailed surveys.
While you should always keep an eye on your phone for a new voicemail or text message, email is a primary method of finding participants.
Essentially, you’ll get an email that advertises a new focus group that’s coming up. If you’re interested, you’ll need to open the email and take a survey to see if you qualify for the study.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for these emails to be marked as spam, so it’s important that you check your spam folder regularly and that you whitelist companies that you’ve registered with.
4. Look for and Apply to Different Focus Groups
If you’ve found a high-quality website that advertises a variety of focus groups — either in person or online focus groups — then you can often apply directly to the studies.
As mentioned, these websites work a little differently than focus group facilities usually do. They’ll allow you to search through their database of available studies and apply to the studies that you’re interested in.
Because it’s so different, the registration process will ask for very little information. Many of these websites allow you to register in only a few minutes.
The real work on your end comes when it’s time to apply for online focus groups that you’re interested in. Because you gave them very little info in the beginning, each time you apply, you have to give them a lot of that demographic and psychographic information mentioned before.
Thankfully, you’re only going to have to give them info that pertains to the focus group you’re applying for. That means you can keep some of your personal information private.
5. Participate and Make Money!
This is the fun part — once you’ve been accepted into an online focus group, you get to discuss new products or services that haven’t hit the market, talk about what you like and don’t like, and then get paid just for giving your opinions!
Online focus groups are a great way to earn cash on the side, but they’re also a lot of fun. If you’re curious about what focus groups are like, try one out — the worst that can happen is you’ll get some cash for a few hours of your time.
Interested in Doing a Focus Group? Find One in Your Area
If you’re looking for a focus group in your area, we can help.
Click here to find a focus group near you.