Find Out What Customers and Prospects Really Want!
Too many irrelevant questions or too many answer options can dissuade people who might otherwise be inclined to participate. They'll skip questions, read only part of a question, or just stop in the middle of your survey. A good, sharp question can replace two or three poorly worded or redundant ones.
Make sure the language is simple. Avoid fancy words (e.g., say "use" instead of "utilize"). The biggest mistake I see in many surveys is the assumption that customers know what you're talking about when you mention something like "Model 2XcZ6." Your design engineer might know what that means but your customer doesn't.
Need a good rule of thumb? Give your survey to your parents or your grandparents. If they can't fill it out, you have a problem.
Surveys Work in Myriad Situations
Information gathering surveys work for just about any kind of business. For example, a pet store could ask people in the neighborhood about their dogs and cats, what their pets like to eat, what they don't like, etc. The incentive could be a simple 50-percent-off coupon on a case of pet food.
Do you use surveys to discover more about people who are buying or might buy your products? I'd love to hear what's working for you! Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOIS K. GELLER is president of Mason & Geller Direct Marketing, a full-service direct response agency in New York City. Mason & Geller creates direct marketing plans, direct mail campaigns, direct response commercials and other offline and online strategic services for blue chip businesses as well as smaller companies. Author of "RESPONSE! The Complete Guide to Profitable Direct Marketing" and "Customers for Keeps," Geller developed the popular corporate training seminar "Direct Marketing Boot Camp," which she has delivered to more than 100 top organizations. If you have any direct marketing questions, e--mail her at email@example.com, visit www.masongeller.com, or go to www.targetonline.com/creativecorner.