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Do You Survey your Customers?

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It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

This week I asked our panel of experts…

“Do you survey your customers? If so, do you have any tips for making the surveys work better or examples of what is working right now? Got lessons learned to help my readers avoid mistakes?”

I know that you’ll find the responses helpful.

terryTerry Dean of My Marketing Coach says:

I LOVE surveys!

You can get your customers to tell you what to create…and they’ll even give you the language you use when you sell it.

I’ve done multiple different kinds of surveys. The easiest is to simply come up with a list of product titles you’re considering offering and asking subscribers which one they’re most interested in buying. That’s an easy way to get started on your first survey.

But the most common survey I’ve done includes at least 3 questions. I’ve asked many more questions at times, but you will get a lower response as the questions increase.

1. What is the single most important question you have about ________________?
2. Why do you say the above? Why, specifically, would that be important to you?
3. How difficult has it been for you to find what you’ve written about above elsewhere?

The first two questions are open ended where they give you the answer. The last question is a multiple choice with 3 possibilities: Very Difficult, Somewhat Difficult, Not at All Difficult.

  • The first question finds out what people want (to help you find or create the product)
  • The 2nd question finds out WHY they want it (also giving you ad copy for your website)
  • The 3rd question lets you know if others are offering something similar (If people say it’s not difficult to find it actually lowers the value of their answers in the overall survey).

Now let me give you the biggest mistake I’ve made with surveys and one I see others make all the time.

You must survey the traffic source you plan on using!

For example, I surveyed my list and created a product. The product sold like crazy to my list, but the moment I went outside my list to other traffic sources it did poorly.

I’m going to chalk it up to my subscribers being much smarter than the average online marketer. Once I went out to other audiences, they weren’t ready for that product.

On a recent survey, I surveyed my list. I also got a regular JV partner to send my survey to their list. And I purchased Facebook ads to my survey targeting some of the same interests I plan to go after later.

Each survey was tracked separately giving me information for both developing the product and changes I can make to the promotion as I reach different audiences.

Survey the traffic where you plan on offering the product.

Do your survey your customers

ShannonShannon Cherry of Learn How I Get *Paid* to Attend Events says:

I am not much for surveying in the traditional sense of the word. Like many people, I find lackluster results using a traditional poll. That’s because you are asking (or begging or bribing) others to do you a favor.

Instead, I poll my community in a different way: by giving something – my smarts. We all know that – like it or not – people really want to pick your brain when you have something to share. I capitalize on this by hosting an open Q & A session every so often. I let them ask me anything, and I answer honestly without selling on the call. And I make sure people don’t have to be on the call to ask their question (which I will still answer live on the call).

This not only shows my value in a tangible way to people thinking about working with me, but I also get great fodder on what their pain currently is and where I should focus my efforts in terms of product development and promotion. It’s a win-win.

Dr. Mani of How to Set Goals says:

Here are my tips:

a. Keep surveys really short (under 2 min. for user) – and tell them
b. Offer incentives to encourage participation
c. Offer to share results with the group – and follow through

kellyKelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:

I have surveyed my community a few times in a traditional way, using a form on my website. If I can get enough people to respond, which takes a lot of effort, I do feel like I get valuable output to use. I’ll keep doing this every few years I’m sure, but in the meantime, when I really want to know what my people are thinking about – I have another way.

I’ve been offering ‘Open Phones‘ for a few years now. In a nutshell, I announce a window of time and invite my community to call me for free advice and answers. Sometimes it’s wide open to all questions and a few times I’ve focused on something specific.

The information I gather on these calls is pure gold. Fears, technical road blocks, specific sticking points, the real felt needs of my target market are spilled out in my lap. Call after call I’m jotting down ideas about blog posts, podcast topics, products ideas – you name it. For me, being able to ask clarifying questions and plainly ask the caller if they’d be interested in _____ product is a gift. Because we’re chatting casually, they don’t say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. They say ‘Well, if it ____ and ____ for me and ____, yeah – I’d buy that.’

I can’t make decisions based on one person’s thoughts, but it does inspire me and often leads to great projects.

Learn how to Offer Open Phone Lines. Click here for info.

connieConnie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Case Studies says:

I survey my high-level mentoring students regularly to get their feedback and to make sure I am providing them with the tools they need to become

Many times I am surprised at their responses, and would not have had the opportunity to serve them with what they want and need from me unless
I had asked.

FeliciaFelicia Slattery of Signature Speech Secrets says:

I have surveyed my folks from the very beginning and their answers have shaped my entire business.

I have always liked Survey Monkey, but I also actively use and monitor the answers I get on social media. But when you use social media to survey your people, you’ve got to be careful. For example, if you use Facebook, like many of us solo and home-based folks, you’re likely connected with not only customers and potential customers, but also high school friends, college friends, past co-workers, neighbors, family, colleagues, and more.

In case you haven’t noticed, EVERYONE on social media has an opinion and when you ask for it, they will give it to you. When asking about things related to your business, however, pay the closest attention to what your customers say – they are the ones who will be buying from you!

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Well everyone gave such great info, I’m off the hook.

So, as I’m about to get ready to have guests of to watch the Packers game, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

I love surveying my audience (and also giving feedback) when a few things are taken into consideration.

  1. Make it short.
  2. Have most (if not all) questions be optional.
  3. Give a space for typing in suggestions.

If it’s fast and easy to do, many of your people will gladly participate. And, if you make certain questions optional, and don’t force them to choose if nothing applies, then they’ll answer the ones that they feel strongly about and leave the other alone.

Plus, you want to allow a few open ended questions for those who have ideas for you that you hadn’t thought of.  It’s a great method of finding out what your market needs from you to serve them better.

And, the final step of course, is to actually USE the info. Don’t file it away. Use it to improve your business and give your peeps what they need.

There are lots of different methods of using surveys. If you want to get fancy and provide people with solutions that are customized to their needs, check this one out for ideas.

Talk soon. Big hugs.

Nicole Dean

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Ben Lloyd

    I don’t survey clients, I don’t even ask for feedback as often as I should. Which is pretty poor because it means I am missing out on “snackable” testimonials in the process.

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