To Survey Or Not To SurveyTo Survey Or Not To Survey

I have learned over the years that when it comes to online marketing as I know it, it's not about what I want in my business. It's really about what people who visit my website want. For awhile I didn't understand that philosophy. How do I find out what people want?

Finding out what people want is not something you, I or anyone else for that matter can pull out of thin air. If we are going to be successful online, even offline in the brick and mortar world, we have to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them onto our potential customers.So how do we do this?

The answer is quite simple yet complex.That is to conduct a survey or surveys.Conducting surveys is simple. On your website you can create forms for people to fill out. If you are going to put a form on your website, I would limit only one form. You do not want to bombard people with forms.Keep it simple as the saying goes.

Do not get too personal in your form. In other words only ask for first name and email. That is it when it comes to their personal information.

Now, from their you can use your own imagination on the rest of the form makeup. Whatever it is you want to sell, make your survey easily accessible on your website. The number of visitors visiting your site will determine the number of surveys filled out and sent to your emails inbox. Its all numbers anyway....whether its marketing a product or service and conducting surveys. This is an excellent way of building lists specific to what people want to buy.

Notice how I said whatever it is you want to sell. What that means is, you don't know yet if you have what people really want. That is the purpose of the survey. To find out if they want what you have. Once you collect the data and you are ready to sell, you have in your hand a ready made list of names specific for that product or service you are offering.

Not too long ago, this year as a matter of fact (2004 currently), I learned what not to do in a survey. I will give you my experience of what not to do and how to remedy this situation.

I recently got married and five of my family and friends took me to dinner two days prior to the wedding. As we were finishing our meal, the manager came to our table and told us that we have been selected to participate in a survey. She told us that if we participated, we would receive $3 off of our next meal. Come to find out, our bill which totaled over $120 collectively, the $3 off was for the entire group at the table. Ok, I think its nice that they offered this, but lets look at the reality of this situation. First of all, $3 off of over $120 does not get anyone too excited nor does it want to make anyone go through the hassle, yes hassle of filling out a survey when they are enjoying a night out with family and friends.

Secondly, the odds of us getting together again and eating at this particular restaraunt are slim to none. So what does that tell me? That tells me one of two things. Either someone did not take their eyes off of themselves and put them onto their customers or, they knew the odds of us coming back as a group were slim and it works completely in their favor.That is disturbing to me. Now for my input on a remedy.

What would I do in this situation? Well first of all, everything I stated in the above paragraph, all of my family and friends after we were "selected" kind of looked at each other in amazement and disbelief. We all knew that it was a silly thing to do to come up to us and play us like we were born a few days ago. First, If I am going to get a group to fill out a survey, especially if I have been "selected", and I am going to give them something in return to do so, I would offer the table, say, free desert now. Why do I say this? remember, you are marketing your business....make it work.Make people who just enjoyed the meal and the service go out and tell someone else.

Stand up and believe that the way you are conducting your survey is for your customers, not just you alone. Don't try and fool people, were not fooled.If you are going to have a couple fill out a survey, how about buy one meal get the second meal half off. After all, it appears this is a random selection. Not everyoneis doing this. Now, I am not looking for free handouts. As a matter of fact, I would have rather given the manager (and no disrespect to her) $5 to leave. It's obvious to me in this circumstance that this particular establishment does not want to give away anything. They want it to only benefit themselves.But if you are a business and you want true success in surveys, do it right.

The final approach? Instead of offering anything, put surveys out on the table and let people make up their own minds. People like to be left alone and not annoyed. Its ok to ask for the sale, but no means no. If you continue to push someone, they won't come back. After all, would you?

by Dave Weeks
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About The Author

Visit Dave Weeks' website at http://www.etypewriter.com or write to info@etypewriter.com for any comments you may have.

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