Marketing Surveys Continued…
In part 1, we talked about why you should survey your clients and target market and the many benefits to be gained by doing so.
Here we follow up on that subject with more information.
There are many avenues for conducting business surveys. Here are just a few…
- Phone surveys
- Internet surveys
- Email surveys
- Trade Show surveys
- Invoice surveys – which products or services have sold well in the past, and to which geographical areas
- In-store or on-site surveys
- Interviews with industry leaders or known opinion or “thought” leaders in your field
- Surveys of your online ads – which ads have proven to pull the most responses or leads
- Surveys of your offline ads – which ads have proven to pull well
- Research on which keywords your online competitors are ranking well with (yes, it’s possible)…
All of these avenues can work very well if properly tailored for certain situations – for example, we’ve all probably seen or participated in one of these online surveys with radio buttons or check boxes to click on. But wherever possible, I prefer face-to-face or at least person to person surveys when I need real, in-depth insight into a given market.
The reason for that should be obvious… when you have a person sitting or standing in front of you, or in some cases on the phone or in a Skype call, you can get more of a feel for what they are really thinking.
And you can dig a little deeper on some of the questions you are asking, depending on the type of answers you are getting. (Some call this probing, but personally I don’t like the idea of being “probed.” However, I don’t mind answering a follow up question or two.)
Skills Needed for Good Marketing Surveys
A well conducted “in-person” survey that gives the desired results requires the following:
Well thought out questions whose answers will give you the information you need. A surveyor who has good communications skills with an ability to really listen to what the survey respondents are saying, is friendly but businesslike and doesn’t interrupt prematurely. One who let’s the respondent know they were heard at the end of each response, and who also can steer the “conversation” smoothly, since some respondents will talk on and on well past the point of answering the survey question. A nice “thank you” at the end of the survey that lets the respondent know you heard him or her, and appreciated their cooperation and informative answers.
If you are a retailer operating in a brick and mortar store, you can easily do quick surveys of your customers or shoppers… the trick here is keeping the survey fairly short and right to the point of what you want to know. You can always expand the survey later, asking other customers more questions to complete the full survey.
Now, in some cases, a person may know their market so well because of a lot of experience in the area in which she or he is operating, that they are sort of a “survey library.”
Don’t over look the obvious when doing a survey. Sometimes the answers are right under your nose… or under someone else’s…
I once got an amazing amount of good information just by interviewing one key person in a certain company who had been there for several years and was very effective at his job. Thanks to this “walking library” of good information, I was able to create very effective content for the company’s marketing and advertising activities and materials. Yet, up to that point, nobody in the company had ever interviewed the guy or consulted his experience and knowledge. Amazing!
To wrap up, there are many ways to conduct a survey. Pick your suitable avenue, formulate the questions that if answered will give you the information you seek, and if doing personal contact, make sure you have someone do the who is friendly, businesslike, and has smooth communications skills as describe briefly earlier in this article.
Know your customers. Know your market.
Written by Bob Nelson
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