This is definitely an old faithful for any savvy marketer, entrepreneur or SME and there is nothing like collecting information from a designated community of people and then grabbing the attention of a journalist by waving a few stats in front of them. The great thing is that today with tools like Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook it’s so easy to carry out a survey. So how do you start?
- If you are inexperienced at carrying out surveys the first thing you need to do is look around and see what people in your industry are doing. A great place to observe is the poll section in LinkedIn. Look at who is posing the questions, what they are saying and how they are saying it.
- Keep it simple to start off with and just ask a few questions. Don’t try to crate a lengthy survey because they can be a bit of a turn off and if you want someone to spend a decent amount of time completing a questionnaire you have to offer some type of incentive. Ask a couple of questions and see what type of response you get. You can then progress to an average of 5-6 questions and eventually to 10.
- Ask respondents to rate their answer to your question by using scale of 1-5 or 1-7 (Likert scale). This is the best way to tabulate results and you are using a standardised system that’s recognised all over the word. It also makes it a lot easier to ‘splice and dice’ your data because you can cross reference the results against other variables in your survey and arrive at further insights into the opinions, behaviours and needs of the community you are researching.
- The more exposure you get at conducting surveys the more confident and knowledgeable you will feel in taking on something bigger. This is where you may wish to consider working with a freelancer who will help you to create and shape a survey that produces strong results. You may also need to consider undertaking focus groups and sampling to make sure that your end data is robust.
- Don’t forget to thank the people who took part in your survey. A thank you email goes without saying, but think about giving them something back for their time, an executive summary of the results, a free download of your latest product, or maybe something much more substantial like an i-Pad, Kindle, MP3 player or, my favourite, champagne.
Finally, a well-executed survey will provide you with a wealth of information that you can use throughout all your marketing collateral. In addition it will support your PR activities by providing you with a host of sound bites you can use in articles, press releases and comments.
Do you feel you would like to carry out a survey? Is there anything stopping you? We would love to hear from you.