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Surveys: What They Are and When and Where to Use Them

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Surveys: What They Are and When and Where to Use Them

Surveys are no longer just for people outside of buildings with a clipboard annoying you with promises of “lavish” gifts, like a non-working pen or an 8 oz cup with the president’s name on it, asking if you “just have one minute of time to answer a few questions”.

Nowadays there are sites, like Insite Advice, that use surveys to help engage customers, get feedback from clients, and implement them into their client’s campaigns so they can get useful feedback from their clients.

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But unfortunately, surveys can easily be deleted, ignored, and still feared by a lot of people. So let’s look at what a good survey is, when it’s proper to use them, and how to use them successfully.

What: A Good Survey

A good survey is one that will provide useful, actionable feedback about your content. A good survey is focused towards one purpose: to allow the audience to show their marketers what’s working and what isn’t. Therefore surveys allow the marketers to switch up their game plan and, in the end, help everyone get a better ROI.

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In order to make a good survey, adhere to the following steps:

  • First you need a topic and stick to it. Each question must relate to the one topic. There should be one survey per category, i.e. one survey on website interaction, one on content, etc.
  • Be planned thoroughly ahead of time and know what kind of survey it will be:
    • Open-Ended Questions: “Tell me about your best experience with your content specialist?”
    • Multiple Choice: “Do you prefer to be contacted by: a.) email b.) text message c.) both d.) neither”
    • Ordinal: “Rank in order of importance the deliverables you receive from the ABC Company, with 1 being most important, 5 being least: Blog Content, Infographics, Social Media Calendars, Google Analytics Reports, and On-Page Optimization and Keyword Reports.”
    • Interval: “On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being not good at all and 5 being excellent, how would you rate the response time of ABC Company?”
    • Ratio Scale: “How many hours would you say you spend a week reviewing the reports ABC company sends you?”
  • Once you know the type of questionnaire you will be using, you should stick to one question type, keep it short and to the point, and remember that having more than 10 questions is best.
  • The survey should be easy to use and take.
  • Make sure the survey is distributed to your target audience.
  • Always invite open and honest feedback.

A good survey can measure:

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  • The demographics and preferences of your audience.
  • The expectations, impressions, and perceptions about your brand that’s created by your content, website design, and social media.
  • The impact of your content on conversions both online and offline.
  • The impact of your content on decision making and moving to the next stage in the buying process and sales.
  • Likewise, surveys can simply answer any questions you want to know to fix your growing business.

When: Timing is Key

Timing is key for a survey to have maximum effect. Invite users to take a survey:

  • Immediately after signing a contract, or right after a job was completed. Big or small, getting feedback when it is fresh in their mind is best. Scary, but best!
  • After a client has had time to review your site and read the latest content and social calendars.
  • Or, after a client has used a product or service.

If you simply choose a random time, like halfway through a project or before they’ve had time to evaluate your product or service, you not only attract the wrong kind of customers, but you can also lose the opportunity of new potential customers who would otherwise appreciate you taking the time to garner feedback (there’s trust building and brand loyalty opportunity here). Invite website users after they’ve had time on your site to look around. Invite users to take a survey via email only if they have opened your campaigns before.

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Where: Be Selective

So now that you know what to include in your survey, the question becomes where to distribute it? A survey can be pushed out on a variety of platforms, but you should be selective about which ones you use. Online is the driving platform for transactions today and by 2017, 60% of U.S. retail sales will involve the web.[1] This trend is driven by the ownership and use of smartphones, aka mobile marketing.

Thus, the most effective platforms to push surveys out to customers include: blogs, email newsletters or campaigns (like Constant Contact or Mailchimp), or if you have content that is product- or service-based, including comparisons and demonstrations, are great for digital magazines.

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That is not to say that papers and pens don’t have their place as well. But you have to know your market, your client, and be diligent on who receives the printed survey and how you can contact anyone who does not mail it back.

Now that you know the WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE, consider using a survey to gain further insights on how your marketing efforts are going and to better understand the audience you are interacting with.

Reference

[1] http://www.insiteadvice.com/moving-to-mobile/

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Alex Wolk

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Surveys: What They Are and When and Where to Use Them
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