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Surveys: What, When and Where to Use Them

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

At Insite Advice we use surveys to help engage our customers, get feedback from clients, and implement them into our client’s campaigns so they can get useful feedback from their clients.

But unfortunately, they 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 allowing the marketers to switch up their game plan and in end help everyone get a better ROI.

To make a good survey:

  • First you need a topic, and stick to it. Each question must relate to the one topic. One survey per category, i.e. one survey on website interaction, one on content, etc.
  • Be planned thorough ahead of time and know what kind 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, 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 have what type of questionnaire it will be, because you should stick to one question type, keep it short and to the point, more than 10 questions is best.
  • It should be easy to use and take.
  • Make sure to it’s distributed to your target audience.
  • Always invite open and honest feedback.

A good survey can measure: (Content Marketing Institute)

  • The demographics and preferences of your audience.
  • The expectations, impressions and perceptions about your brand as 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, moving to the next stage in the buying process and sales.
  • Or 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, 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 half way 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 (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.

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 you use. Online is the driving platform for transactions today, and by 2017, 60% of U.S. retail sales will involve the web. This trend is driven by the ownership and use of smartphones, aka mobile marketing.

Thus, the most effective platforms to push surveys out on 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.

That is not to say that paper and pen 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.

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