Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Hailey Friedman, co-founder of Growth Marketing Pros and Head of Marketing at Improvado. Do you have business or survey expertise? Pitch your blog idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excellent marketing is about getting into the brains of your customers. Truly understanding your customer’s needs, concerns and desires is essential for crafting the right product and messaging to reach them.
Believe it or not, the best way to get to know your customers is NOT to simply guess what they’re thinking. The best way to get to know your customers, is to actually ask them what they’re thinking. Now, ideally you could meet each customer in person or chat with them over the phone. But if you had hundreds or thousands of customers, it would be quite a time-consuming and tedious lift to interview them all.
That’s where surveys come in.
With one simple survey, you can gather thousands of customer data points—enough to fuel your marketing and drive it in directions you may have never even seen coming.
Below are the 4 ways I use surveys to power many of my marketing efforts for myself and for my clients at Growth Marketing Pro to fill in knowledge gaps about customers and prospects in a way that propels growth and increases conversions.
All leads are not created equal. Talk to any sales person and they will quickly confirm this as truth. When marketing efforts are driving lead generation for a sales team, it’s important to make sure those leads are high-quality before anyone gets on the phone with them. Meaning, you want to make sure their problem is something your business can solve. Asking your leads to complete a quick form or survey is a great way to gather information about whether or not this will be a valuable business opportunity.
At Growth Marketing Pro, we use surveys to qualify leads. For example, we created a Growth Webinar for the tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and marketers who visit our site each month. These inbound leads are collected by our webinar software and we then nurture them with email marketing. A percentage of those leads will register for a free strategy session with us. When they do so, an automated survey is sent to them via email.
Information gathering to qualify a lead before a phone call helps our business in two ways:
- With more information about the business and their problem, we can perform our own market research to better prepare for the conversation. The more prepared we are and the more knowledgeable we are about the space, the more likely we are to close new business.
- Answers to our lead qualifying survey sometimes uncover that this lead would not be a fit for our services. In those cases, we are able to save both our time and theirs by reaching out to let them know this isn’t a fit.
Behind every inbound lead is a human. When someone subscribes to your email onboarding list, it is a great opportunity to ask some questions to get to know them better. Before you inundate their inbox with your onboarding email nurture series, send them a survey to find out more about what brought them to you and what they’re looking for.
In my other role at the marketing analytics company Improvado, we send a survey right away to new email subscribers that asks them about their level of mastery when it comes to marketing analytics. Based on their responses, we are able to use our email marketing software to segment them into different audiences and serve them content that will be most helpful to their specific needs.
Segmenting our email list means that our customers are getting content that is personalized and relevant to the problem they are facing, making it easier for them to see the link between their problem and our solution. In this way, surveys allow us to get more personal with prospects and convert more business.
As a marketer or business owner, the process of figuring out which channels are driving the best leads can often be a tangled mess. No matter what data analytics tool you’re using, there are often multiple touch points involved in a buyers journey. When all else fails, sometimes the best way to find out how a customer heard about you is to ask them!
At Growth Marketing Pro, whenever we are hired to step in and drive growth for a business, the first question we ask is, “what is already working?” We start digging into the analytics to uncover where traffic is coming from and which channels are leading to conversions. But often these data sets are messy or incomplete. In these cases, we send a survey to past customers asking the question “How did you hear about us?”
Sending a survey to past customers is a great way to figure out which marketing efforts have worked in the past, which haven’t and where to double down. You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t take the time to run thorough marketing attribution on their customers and therefore continue to waste tens of thousands of dollars on marketing channels that aren’t working.
Customer retention is an aspect of marketing that greatly impacts the business bottom line. It’s important to get a read on how people feel about your product our services. A great way to do this is to send out a survey to your customers asking for their feedback in a way that generates a Net Promoter Score. It’s helpful to do this every so often, so that you can see how customer sentiments deviate from the baseline as your change your offering over time.
At Growth Marketing Pro, we use customer feedback surveys in a number of ways to:
- Gather customer testimonials. We always make sure to ask some open ended questions in our customer feedback surveys so that we can capture valuable customer testimonials to repurpose on the website, landing pages, in emails and on other collateral to provide social proof and increase conversions.
- Drive referrals. A customer feedback survey with a Net Promoter Score makes it easy to identify which customers are happy with your business and would gladly refer you to friends. We use this data to segment our email audience, sending emails only to our happy customers encouraging them to spread the love and invite their friends.
- Inform messaging. Often our customers are the best source of inspiration when it comes to finding the right words to describe our business. It can be a breath of fresh air to hear your customers describe their favorite features. It may even inspire new product messaging that will better resonate with your audience.
- Data mining. Many of us are sitting on top of valuable data and we don’t even know it. Our customers and the way they interact with our product or service, can be the source of hundreds of thousands of meaningful data points that might tell an important story. If you take the time to examine these numbers and uncover interesting trends and patterns, this could become ammo for some powerful content you can use on your website or blog, that may even garner attention from the press.
As a marketer, I have found surveys to be an indispensable tool to have in my toolbox. While marketing can be very creative, it is also highly analytical. Surveys provide a method for unlocking treasure troves of data that can be used in a myriad of ways to drive growth and relevance for your business.
Hailey helps marketers & founders grow startups faster at growthmarketingpro.com