Audience Research · Competitive Research

Create a Survey

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As I’ve mentioned before, getting feedback from your visitors and customers is one of the most important marketing activities you can do. You need to make sure that you’re serving your audience and offering them what they really want. One of the best ways you can confirm you’re doing that is to just ask by conducting a survey.

Some might point out that asking isn’t perfect – Henry Ford famously once said that if he had given people what they were asking for, he would have built faster horses instead of cars. But asking still gives you a piece of the puzzle and important information. For example, it makes a big difference whether your audience is asking for faster horses, faster air travel, or whether they care about something completely different like not wanting to leave the house at all.

What are some things you might ask? Here are a few classic general questions to get you started if you’re unsure. You may want to edit these so they’re specific to your niche.

1. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about your life/your business/a particular niche?

2. What are your goals for this year?

3. What keeps you up at night?

4. What are your biggest frustrations?

5. What have you tried to solve x problem?

6. How does it feel to not have x problem fixed?

7. What do you wish existed, but doesn’t yet?

8. What do you spend the most time doing every day? Is that what you want to be doing?

9. What’s the hardest thing about your life/role?

10. What did you come to our site to accomplish? Were you successful?

You can deliver your questions in a variety of ways. Perhaps the best is to look for opportunities to slip them into conversation naturally. But we don’t always have this option. You can try adding one or two questions to an opt-in form, or make the survey a prerequisite to accessing some kind of desired content, coupon, or other reward (be aware of how this could skew your results). Several services let you have questions pop up on your site.

There are plenty of survey tools out there, but here are a few less well-known ones that I like or have heard good things about:

1. The split-testing company VWO offers a user feedback tool to all their customers (plans start at $9 per month). What’s great about this is the plentiful customization options. You can choose who to survey based on how the visitor found your site, whether or not they’re a new visitor, what actions they take, and more.

2. Google also offers a low-cost survey option. Surveys using their generic default customer satisfaction questions are free, while custom options start at one cent per response. You can deliver your survey either to your site visitors or another off-site audience of your choosing.

3. If you need a more robust and polished option, try SurveyGizmo, which offers “flexible, professional, and powerful survey software.” Their basic but unlimited plan is free. More sophisticated packages with better design and more advanced question logic cost $25 and $75, with enterprise solutions available for larger companies. There’s a 25% discount for education sites and non-profits.

Today’s Action Step: Create a simple survey to find out how your audience really feels about you.

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