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What springs to mind when you hear the word survey?  

Perhaps such things as "time consuming" or "expensive" and maybe even "daunting" are words you would think of.

If you know the power of surveys and how to effectively use them you’ll take your whole business up a few notches. Why? Well, guessing what people want is best left to fortune tellers and witch doctors, whereas knowing what people want and then effectively delivering that is what will set you apart from the competition.

Let’s look at exactly what a survey is and how you can utilize it in your business...

To survey means "to conduct a careful examination of something as a whole and in detail".  The word survey as used in public relations and marketing terminology means to carefully examine public opinion with regards to an idea, a product, an aspect of life or any other subject.  By examining in details (person to person surveying) one can arrive at a whole new view of public opinion on a subject by tabulating the highest percentage of popular response.

Why are surveys useful?

They give you insight into why people are buying from you which then leads onto targeting your marketing specifically towards those types of people, which in turn gives you a greater ROI for your marketing budget – it’s a win-win situation with just a little bit of effort!

You can get started with this almost straight away – work out a few questions which would identify something you want to know about the prospects or customers who contact you.  Give these questions to the people who answer the phone, then instruct them to conversationally weave those questions in without making it sound like a survey.

Have them pass the results to you and then you can tabulate them.

Keep this in on an on-going basis as market trends change like Melbourne weather!

What kind of questions should be on a survey?

There are tomes written on this, but in the interest of keeping things brief here’s short breakdown:

  1. Keep your questions short and few.  A couple of well written and encoded questions is better than a whole bunch of poorly worded questions
  2. Decide what you are trying to answer before writing the questions.  Do you want to know why prospects call you to inquire, or do you want to know why people buy product X but not product Y.  Do you want to know what public opinion is on your brand or what customers think of your support or technical help?
  3. You are trying to evoke emotion and reaction from your questions which will then be useful for future marketing.  For example a head-on question could be “why are you calling us?” a better way of asking this with a human element would be “what was it about the advert that prompted you to call us”.  Often the answer to this question IS NOT price!  People don’t always buy on price!
  4. Avoid Yes-No questions use gradients of 1-10 or 1-5 instead.  Ideally make your questions open enough to invite the person to say what they are feeling

How do you tabulate results?

This is actually very easy.  

  1. Count all the surveys
  2. Establish various categories of answers for each question by listing answers briefly as you go through the surveys.
  3. Soon you will be able to mark with a slant by each category, the slant meaning one more answers of a similar nature.
  4. Total the answers given for a particular category of answer.  Lets say you had 1500 answers of a similar nature to one question and your total number of surveys was 2500.  This means 60% gave that similar type of answer (1500/2500)
  5. You then list each question and under that question list the categories of answers and the percentage from the highest to the lowest
  6. The only mistake you can make is not recognizing the similarity of answers and so have a great diversity of categories.

What to do with tabulated results?

If you have been let’s say conducting a customer fact finding survey to find out why people buy from you rather than from one of your competitors you should include this in your future marketing designs.  Lets say they found your marketing simply stated and concise you would make sure any other marketing follows this and you never get too lax and become verbose.

For fax marketing it is very important to use surveys to find the button for the top of the fax, see this earlier post about how to design like an expert for more information on buttons.


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