Market research surveys

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How smart marketers use online surveys

Whether you’re a Global Fortune 500 or small startup, market research surveys offer you a quick, affordable way to perform market segmentation analysis. Find out key demographic information about consumers in your market. Then use surveys to do just about anything, from measuring customer satisfaction to developing new products.

How to use market research surveys

The only way to keep your customers, or gain new business, is to know exactly what consumers want. Guesswork and gut instinct won’t cut it when it comes to launching successful products and crafting the right marketing messages.

Research and analyse a target market

Your marketing budget is probably one of your business’s largest expenses. Before you earmark funds for any marketing plans or initiatives, you need to be confident that the strategies you’re considering will drive your success. A market research survey can help you analyse the potential market size and find a prime location for your retail store or the optimal price for your products. The effort you expend on a market study will be rewarded with go-to-market strategies that have a higher chance of success. And unlike focus groups, surveys are much more affordable!

Update product offerings or pricing

Sending an online product feedback survey to customers will help you gain insights that drive product improvements, customer satisfaction and, ultimately, sales. To obtain product feedback, you will ask questions such as: What changes would most improve our new product? Or, what do you like most about competing products that are currently available from other companies?

Build social media strategies and campaigns

With the increasing importance of social media in many companies’ marketing mix, online social media surveys are a great way to figure out which social media channels they need to pay attention to. Likes and retweets only tell you so much. Surveys help you understand the “why” and give you ideas for how to serve your market. Post marketing surveys on Facebook or Twitter to gauge interest in new product categories or features. And should you send out company updates via a blog, LinkedIn, or Facebook? Use an online survey to find the answers you need.

Gain insights into customer demographics

Do you need to identify potential customer demographics in a new service area? Ask potential customers about their gender, age, location, income, where they shop, what they do for fun, how many children they have, and more. You can then target your messaging and campaigns to really speak to your customers. You’ll also be able to concentrate time and resources on where they’ll matter most.

Market segmentation

Segmenting your customers, in other words, finding and focusing on smaller groups that share common attributes (such as demographics, geography, lifestyle, product usage, brand affinity, etc.) might just help to give you better insights. To gain this competitive advantage, many marketers send online surveys.

A health club owner could segment based on facility or service usage (spa, cardio equipment, daycare, nutrition classes), while a consumer packaged goods company might segment based on lifestyle (health-conscious, low-cal, vegetarian diet) to develop finely-tuned marketing programs that target the needs of one or more of the segments in order to increase membership sign-ups. By performing market segmentation analysis with surveys, it’s easier to identify exactly what your potential customers will want.

Decide which campaign creative to launch

Would your customer base be more likely to respond to an online banner ad or a billboard advertisement on the motorway close to home? Which email subject line would improve click-through rates to a product details page? Do you need to test a new format for your adverts? Online marketing surveys can help you to prioritise ad spend and resources, and should be an essential tool in your marketing strategy toolkit.

Measure brand awareness

Brand awareness is at the top of the marketing funnel. Does your market even know you exist? Do they consider you a viable option, or do they prefer your competitors. And most importantly, why? Get the lowdown on how you’re perceived and what you need to improve. Use branding and brand identity surveys to diagnose your brand image and build your brand.

Test branding, positioning, and naming

Just do it. Think different. Why do some companies get all the love? Why do loyal customers refuse to be wooed by lower price tags, and choose to stick by their favorite brands? The most revered brands listen to their customers, and tailor their marketing strategies to their target audience. Surveying your customers to test branding and naming concepts will help you understand the attitudes, motivations, and preferences of your customers, especially in relation to your competitors.

3 tips for running successful market research surveys

In addition to using methodologically-sound questions in the key areas that have already been mentioned, you’ll also want to follow these tips for creating a great market research survey.

1. Survey outside of your customer base

Obtaining consumer satisfaction feedback from your current customers is valuable. But in order to expand your audience, you’ll want opinions from those outside of your customer base. Try finding different people to poll, and you may find a new target market you hadn’t considered.

2. Start with general questions

Start with a demographic survey of your customers. You may be aiming for a particular audience, but find out that you have a feature or product line that appeals to a different audience. Once you get to know your target market, you’ll know how to market (and how not to market) to them.

3. Then ask specific questions

Obtain customer feedback on your particular line of work, products, and services. Ask about competing products, alternate services, or specific ways you can improve.

Market research survey examples and templates

Either use one of our market research survey templates or customise one of your own. It’s easy to create and send a survey in just a few minutes.


Product Market Research Survey

Verify that you have the correct target audience and features for your new product. This template will give you input about what people think of your offering as well as products that are already on the marketplace.

Preview Template


Website Feedback Survey

Learn why people visit your site, what they hope to find, and whether you deliver the experience they expect so you can build a better website.

Preview Template

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3 quick tips to improve survey response rates

Here are some ideas to ensure that respondents will answer your surveys.

1. Be quick

If your survey is short and sweet, there's a greater chance that more respondents will complete it.

2. Offer incentives

Little incentives like small discount or an entry into a drawing can help ensure respondents complete your survey.

3. Buy a targeted audience

With SurveyMonkey Audience, you can purchase access to an audience who meets specific demographic criteria for your survey. It's a great way to get targeted responses from a specific group.

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