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Marketing Tip >> Survey your Customers

October 2013


Most successful small business owners will tell you that one of the most important rules in business is to know your customer. We are not talking about just knowing who they are but diving deeper into the demographics. This is fundamental for long term business success.
This knowledge will help your business with most any targeted marketing efforts such as social media marketing , direct mail and email lists, media selections, affiliate marketing and more. It can also help with business goals such as bonding, branding, lead generation and sales. The process of data mining is not intuitive but often a trial and error scenario. Here are some quick tips to get the best performance from your customer surveys for business growth and retention:

1. Keep surveys easy and short. The ideal length should be no longer than 7 to 10 questions with easy answers. Make use of typical questions with pre-populated multiple choice answers that only need a mouse click.

2. Use geographic and psychographic questions. Don't forget to also ask some competitor and purchase-behavioral type questions. 3. Segregate, sending different emails to your customer list and one to your leads list. It will help later to have these two segments separated when you review response results. If one segment is less responsive than another, you may wish to develop some future bonding strategies for that group. You can also segregate by gender and income levels if you have that information.

4. Incentives, such as a gift a coupon or something immediate and easily accessible for survey participation after completion of a survey. Once users submit their last response they are redirected to a download page for reports, coupons or something similar. People are taking time out of their schedule and should be rewarded.

5. Have a creative subject line that will focus more on the reward, rather than your goal. Readers respond better to the mention of freebies and gifts (what's in it for me), than asking for survey completion. Survey subject lines are viewed as clinical and boring, thus glared over in the inbox.

6. Embrace online tools such as Survey Monkey. It is an easy, cost-effective online survey platform with various price options and it can be very robust in terms of tracking.

7. Try to allow feedback by inserting a field for open comments. People like to either vent or add praise, so give them a chance by not having all multiple-choice.

Set up your survey to collect a little information at a time and keep customer and lead responses separate. You can then create categories of common themes. These sections can be based on any of the demographics or psychographics you are working with.
Now this information can be used for database marketing efforts and to send more personalized messages to your list by group. This targeted marketing approach has been proven to increase open, click, response and conversion rates by more than double! Not surveying your lists is really doing yourself a disservice. You are not really getting to know your customers; thereby, aren't offering your best editorial or promotional messages, or creating the best products.
If you're really looking for better retention, more customer engagement, and increased sales or leads, then make the time to survey your list. If you've never done this before, then you're probably leaving money on the table.

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Why Do Surveys?

Surveys are questionnaires you send out to a specific audience to get information that is hopefully helpful to your business.
With surveys, you can learn what your target audience is thinking. What it is that motivates them and what is important.
With the information received a business can make objective decisions based on research rather than opinion. The survey can point your organization in the direction your target audience wants you to spending time to things you know they want instead of things they may or may not want.
The survey can use many different types of questions such as yes or no, multiple choice, open-ended comment and more such as fill in the blank.
Surveys are information. The type of information you need to run your organization in the most efficient and effective manner possible. They're about knowing the past and predicting the future in an informed way.

The best way to gain this knowledge is through periodic customer surveys and creating a profile sheet. You will want to survey at least two times per year, perhaps three.
The profile sheet becomes a quick reference of Joe or Jane customers, as well as your ideal target for new leads. All prospecting efforts should be a reflection of the current customer base because that is where you have been successful.

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