Tuesday Tip: How can you better understand your audience? Ask them. Conduct a (good) marketing survey.

By Chloe Mark | June 2017


As marketers, we're constantly looking at the latest reports on user behavior. We're dying to know what our audience wants and how we can get them to notice us online, above other businesses. While we get all caught up in the stats, however, our audience is busy in the real world, using our services, navigating our site or reading our marketing emails. In effect, we miss out on the chance to talk to them. Today's Tip: Conduct a marketing survey and make it a good one. 

Why marketing surveys?

Before we dive into the how, let's quick chat about the why. It's easy to think you'll conduct a marketing survey eventually, but when you recognize how much potential they hold, you won't want to waste any time.

Kissmetrics posted, "The Power of Surveys: How to Ask Questions to Bolster Conversion Research" helping me make my point. Yes, you can learn a lot from tools like SEMRush and Google Analytics; marketing tools can point you to what your audiences searches to find your site, what they do there and when they leave. But all that data doesn't get you to the core of your questions: Why. Why did they pick your company, return to your company or stop coming back? 

The why is what counts. It's what makes us human, involving nuances and details that fill in the gaps. This is also where the real potential lies – where your company could provide service that goes above and beyond user's expectations. 

Beyond the answers your audience would provide you with via marketing surveys, you'll also be showing them that you care. Asking people questions shows that you want to hear from them and better serve them. 


What kinds of questions should you ask?

The general rules for crafting your survey questions include:

1. Determine how you will use the data you receive. Instead of just asking the questions in whatever way feels right, be strategic in the question types you use. If you are using this data for a report, it might be better to have more percentages and numbers to work with. If you are looking for new ideas and feedback, open-ended answers could provide you with more in-depth insight. Hubspot also points out that if you are going to use this survey to compare to last years results, keep your formatting and questions consistent year after year. 

2. Don't try to ask questions that will get you certain answers. You want the truth from your audience rather than what you hope is the truth. The worst things you can do with a survey include a) getting false information (futhering you from knowing your audience) and b) coming across as biased.

For example, in asking, "How much has (product name here) positively benefited you?" you imply that the product helped. Instead you can ask, "What has been the product's effect on you?" and even give them an option that says "no effect." 

3. Include language your audience uses. Hubspot suggests that instead of assuming you know what stakeholder's need to know, bring them into the initial drafting of the survey. That way, you're more likely to be speaking the right language for your survey-taker and the results will be more accurate. 

4. Use a best practice formula: start with close-ended questions and move towards more open-ended ones. Kissmetrics points out that by starting with quick, easily-answered questions, your audience gets pulled in. Then you can move towards a bigger question as your audience simply wants to finish what they started. For example: 

a. Are you happy with (product name here)? Yes or No 

b. What problem did (product name here) solve for you? Include a list with checkboxes so they can select more than one or none at all.

c. Are you likely to purchase again? If no, please tell us why: Yes or No with a open-ended form field that pops up when they select no.

d. Why did you choose us over competitors? Open-ended form field.


For more help with generating survey questions, take a look at this awesome list from David Darmanin. It's organized by business type so you can find ideas specific to your needs. 


What tools should you use?

At ArcStone, we've been happy with the results from Survey Monkey and Google Survey. You can also take a look at a more thorough review from LeadDigital, "5 Best Survey & Feedback Platforms" as they offer options based on various needs. 


Where should you place your survey?

We recently had a client approach us who wanted to send out a quick survey in their email newsletter. We suggested that instead of placing it in their newsletter, they create a landing page. This way, they would be able to both recycle the survey, sending it out from other platforms as well, and the survey wouldn't get as lost within the body of the email. 

You can also place your survey on your website as a quick pop up, at the bottom of your blog posts or send it out as a separate email. Some eCommerce stores include them before or after the final sale. Think about what would be easiest for your audience and test a few options. 


Need help conducting a survey? We've done a few ourselves... Talk to us at ArcStone »

Topics: Marketing Strategy, Tuesday Tip, Content Marketing, Digital

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