The popularity of survey results in a specialized niche is undeniable. Customers and prospects alike love to be part of a survey and then look at the results.
Often they compare their own responses with those of the survey to see if they have similar or differing opinions than the “group.”
Surveys that are not targeted, i.e. those that ask very generic and general questions, are often ignored or disregarded.
Most people feel they are a waste of time because the respondent is not interested in the subject and could care less how the masses feel.
But a deeply niched survey that asks questions about a subject that the respondent has a passion for will almost always be a welcome and interesting experience for the survey taker.
Most people like to be acknowledged. They want others to recognize their worth as an individual. They have a need to be a part of a group, or family, or fraternity, or community.
People have a need to “belong.” And there is no better way to feel like your are a member of the group than to compare your own feelings, preferences, and attitudes with others in your same group.
Surveys allow us as humans to compare ourselves with other like-minded people in the group to assess just how “the same” we are … or maybe just how different and unique we are.
Here are the reasons a solo business owner should think seriously about creating and distributing a survey to his customers and prospects:
1- Surveys will engage the prospect or customer. They are a way for the respondent to interact with the business or owner.
2- Surveys are a form of expression for the taker. She feels that she is able to introduce her own feelings, ideas, and opinions to the group, even if all the questions are simply multiple choice. People crave to be heard … they want to be validated.
3- Surveys that ask the right questions can become a valuable source of feedback for the business owner about the preferences of his customers. Most business owners feel that they know exactly what their customers want because they are part of the niche. But I can tell you from much experience that business owners are often surprised when they survey their customers. I believe this: “you are not your market.” You may be interested in many of the same things as your market, but you don’t really know what the majority wants until you ask them directly.
4- Surveys are usually perceived as being “neutral” or unbiased. They are a way for a business to ask questions without seeming to be too overbearing or too self-serving. In actuality, most surveys are not unbiased … but people feel they are objective if they are worded properly and ask questions that aren’t slanted toward a particular outcome.
5- Surveys are a great subject or topic for the media. Again, they are perceived as being “news” and unbiased reporting so the survey results can be a great topic for a press release, a newspaper article, etc. The business doing the survey can be mentioned without sounding too self-serving.
6- Survey results can be used as documentation to prove a point or to validate a claim of one of your businesses products or services.
7- Survey results can be the basis of an advertisement, a direct sales letter, or a marketing campaign.
8- A survey will peg the author as an expert in the field and one that is willing to do and share research (objective and scholarly) of a subject in an unbiased format. In actuality, the business owner can draw up the survey to make his point and “prove” his contention no matter what the subject may be. The design of the survey and the population from which it is drawn will always have great bearing on the survey results.
9- Survey results, when compared over time, can be the basis of trends and niche market directions that are important to your business. Owners will always be rewarded for staying at the leading edge of change in the niche. Surveys can be used to monitor and track changes.
10- Survey results are informative, fun, educational, and entertaining. People love to read “Top Ten Lists” and “Most Popular Lists” to compare their own feelings and preferences with others in the niche. They can become part of the engagement of the audience at your web site.
I’m sure there are other good reasons why every business owner should consider creating and “marketing” a niche survey. In fact, having a number of continuing surveys, those that track trends over time, can be a great drawing point at your web site or for your email subscriber list.
In fact, I would suggest making a short series of surveys, maybe 4-6 per year, about differing topics as a regular feature of your web site.
But don’t keep asking the same questions over and over again – change both the topic and the questions each time.
To your line business success!