Surveys are very powerful tools that help you figure out how to market and what your market really wants. You can improve your decisions, by simply following this process:
1. Establish survey goals:
First off, be very specific on what you are trying to find out. Be sure to write out your goals.
- What do people think about your web page?
- Is your target audience business owners?
- Are they part of small businesses or large companies?
- Where do they hang out most online?
2. Decide who your sample audience will be:
Ask the following people to go through your survey:
- People that visit your home page
- People that visit your product page
- People that read your newsletters
- Get the word out by putting up your ads in Ezine.
3. Decide which survey method going to use:
There are various choices of survey methods that range from the least expensive to the most expensive ones.
- Personal Interviews – You can use your online survey tool to conduct phone interviews. Instead of having the respondent fill out the online survey, you use the online survey as a discussion guide and you write in the answers to the questions. This is a terrific method to use if you are doing exploratory research or have a longer survey.
- Standard online surveys – This is the most common survey type. Remember to keep your questions short and sweet. Don’t let your audience spend more than 3 minutes answering your survey.
- Mail – This method is rarely used. It’s often expensive and doesn’t offer as much control as other methods. The most common application is to send respondents a postcard with a link to an online survey or to print the link to your online survey on receipts or invoices or other forms of printed marketing materials.
- Telephone surveys – This method has also become increasingly difficult because of do-not-call lists. It’s generally expensive but can be effective if you are contacting customers who have opted in to receive information from you or with whom you have a relationship.
4. Carefully plan out your research:
Once you know the method of survey you’ll be using and who you’re surveying for, you’ll need to:
- Build a timeline for how long it’ll take from the survey design to the data analysis.
- Estimate the cost involved.
5. Design your survey:
Write your survey based on the survey method you’ve decided to use.
DO NOT try to make your survey all things to all people. Remember, respondents will not want to spend more than a few minutes at a time answering questions. Instead of breaking up a long survey into sections, consider breaking your sections into individual surveys.
6. Pre-test analysis:
Carry out a pre-test analysis of your survey before the actual test. Pretesting helps determine if the survey is easy for the audience to understand, whether they’ll be able to successfully fill it out and whether there are any problems that are likely to occur. Remember, you may even need to rewrite the survey.
You can initially decide to pretest your survey to around 15 to 20 people, who you are fairly sure would respond (these could even be friends or family). At the end of the test, you’ll have a number of results what will tell you how your survey will perform with a larger number of audience, as well as the faults in the survey.
Carry out the actual test once you’re done with the pretest. Collect and organize the data in an ordered format.
8. Analyze your survey:
If the information you are using is quantifiable, you will be able to analyze it using statistics. However, you may need to dedicate sometime to learn how to use statistics first. And if you are well experienced in the use of statistics, you’ll want to develop a more qualitative survey based on basic reasoning and inferences.
Overall, your goals will shape out the questions to your survey and the answers to those questions will determine how your marketing plan should be, as well as the strategies you should employ.