You’re no mind reader. There isn’t a crystal ball that will tell you just what your customers are looking for. But understanding their needs and opinions is crucial to all aspects of your business. So what’s a non-psychic to do? The answer is easier (and more obvious) than you think: ask them. Collecting feedback through surveys is one of the easier and most effective ways to ensure that you are in tune with your customers. Surveys can also help you make your marketing more relevant: when your customers get the chance to share their perspectives, you get the kind of insightful feedback you need to create engaging offers, content, and more. Engaged and interested customers are more likely to stick around longer and spread the word about you.
So read on for 10 effective ways to use a survey:
1. Take a quick pulse with a poll
Is there one specific question you’d like to ask your audience? It takes about a minute for you to create one, and another minute for someone to take it. Bam. Your customers and members are more engaged already.
2. Get blog topic ideas
Create a poll asking which blog topics your audience is most interested in. Be sure to put it in an email, on your Facebook Page, or link to it on your Twitter account. After all, you’re trying to create the content your audience wants to read—they know best what that is!
3. Use polls and surveys as social media content
You know you’re supposed to regularly update your Twitter account and Facebook Page, but once in a while everyone gets “social media block.” A short survey or poll makes fast, easy content. Use your poll to find out what kind of information your audience wants to see on your social pages in the future!
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4. Let your list segment itself
Segmenting your list helps you reach the right audience with the right message. The right message is the one that fits that particular audience’s needs, and who better knows their needs than the audience itself? Add a poll to your email newsletter asking your list to segment themselves, whether by product, industry, program, etc, so you can better target your communications.
5. Get website feedback
Your organization’s website is one of the first places your customers or supporters are going to go to learn more about you, and if you’re selling your product or raising money through your site, it’s an even bigger deal. Add a link to a short survey and find out if your visitors like your site’s layout, can find the information they’re looking for, or if they like a recent improvement.
6. Capture sales leads
A survey can help qualify possible sales leads. Use a short survey to find out which of your products or programs customers are interested in, or whether they’re looking for something you don’t offer (yet).
7. Evaluate customer satisfaction
If you’re selling or accepting donations on your site, you probably send a follow-up email to confirm, right? Add a link to a survey or poll in that email and find out if your customers are satisfied with the purchase process, and what you can do to make it better.
8. Learn what events they’re looking for
Planning an event is a big deal, especially when you’re a nonprofit that relies on events to help raise the funds you need to do your work. Before you invest time and money into planning an event you hope your supporters will like, create a poll asking what kind of event they’d like to attend, and give them some options.
9. Get competitive
You can use surveys are to host contests on your website or Facebook Page. Come up with a cool idea—“Which of our cupcakes deserves the prestigious ‘Cupcake of the Month’ title?”—and let your audience have their say.
10. Keep it fun
Not every poll (or survey) needs to be created with the intent of answering a Very Serious Question. After all, you don’t want your audience to feel like they’re the recipients of constant one-sided communication with you—you’re trying to create a dialogue. A poll with a more casual question—“What do you think of the new Avengers movie?” grabs their attention and adds a little fun to the conversation.
So get surveying!
Grab your customer’s attention with content that’s gotten a boost from surveys and polls, and give them a chance to tell you what’s on their minds.
Editor's note: Not using online surveys yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. (We are also a Plantinum Solution Provider and receive commissions for sales from Constant Contact. If you need help with your email marketing, let us know.)
Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.