Email marketing surveys are invaluable tools for discovering precise, targeted information about your intended audience. This method is so important, there are several companies that have made a business of providing marketing surveys to other businesses for a fee. The good news is, you can perform marketing surveys yourself without paying a dime and still get great results.
Ideally, you would institute a marketing survey after you’ve built an opt-in list (covered in a later chapter). But you can start mining your market for information even before you have your product ready. Groups and forums are good places to start; or you can set up a free mini-site just for your survey. You can even enlist friends and family to help you out by filling out surveys.
Constructing Your Survey
Have you ever received an offer for an exciting free gift provided you fill out a survey—only to discover the questions you had to answer required pages of information and would take up more of your time than you were willing to invest for whatever incentive was offered? This is a prime example of an ineffective marketing survey. You don’t want to lose consumer interest before they get to the good part: your product.
The principle of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) should apply liberally to marketing surveys. The easier you make it for people to fill out your survey, the more likely they will be to respond. Try to keep it to 20 questions or less, including demographic information (age, gender and location—do not ask for names, as most people prefer to remain anonymous when filling out surveys). Also, make as many as you can yes/no or multiple choice answers, and remember to include space for additional comments.
A well-designed survey will impress your customers – and that means more sales
One great way to get survey responses is to offer a free incentive upon completion. This can be an e-book, a mini-course, or even the full version of your product when it is released (if you choose to give away free product, be sure to state only a limited number of respondents will receive the free gift. This also creates urgency and helps to increase response). A full discussion on free incentives can be found further in this book.
Setting Up Your Survey
There are many ways to go about setting up your marketing survey. One is to compose an e-mail and ask people to hit “Reply” and fill in the answers. This method is easier for you to set up, but some people would not respond simply because they do not know how to add text to a reply. Also, because of differences in browsers and e-mail programs, some of your responses may be choppy and difficult to interpret.
Another method is to set up a web-based form that sends responses to your inbox. Most of these are simple and free to set up; when you send out your survey request, you would only have to include a link to your form in the e-mail. Here are some places you can set up a free web-based form for your survey:
• Survey Console: A thirty-day free trial allowing you to test 400+ survey templates for your web site. NOTE: Thirty days should be plenty of time for you to conduct market research, so you won’t have to pay for the service.
• SurveyShare.com: By signing up for a free membership, you will receive free survey creation software and access to survey templates online.
• BlueSQL.com: Free web-based survey creation service that allows you to include dropdown lists, radio buttons, comment boxes and more. You can check your survey results online and have individual results sent directly to participants.