Surveys are a quick, adaptable, and efficient way to gather data about your consumers in real-time. Here are three major ways in which they can boost the success of your content marketing strategy.
They enable measuring diverse data
The most obvious application of surveys is gathering fundamental information about your consumer base. Segmenting your target market is an excellent way to gain practical insight for your marketing campaign.
Some staple categories to survey for include:
- Age range
- Level of formal education
- Region of residence
- Area of business
- Marital status and number of children
- Income range
- Housing situation (renter, homeowner, unhoused), etc.
A well-formed survey will gather large quantities of data in a short time, which you can then sort under demographics, geography, and behavior.
It’s a flexible format of information harvesting, so you can also use them to measure:
- Brand opinion
- Customer experience with your business
- Customer opinions about your advertising
- Feedback on your customer support service
- Impressions about your communication style
- Expectations from your brand
- Industry opinion/ niche opinion
- Wants and preferences regarding a product or service
- Favored providers in a given geographical area
- Doubts and dissatisfactions on a community level
- General thoughts about a type of business or service
- Marketing content impact
- Which content formats achieved the best reach
- What your target consumers are most interested in
- What they relate to vs. what repels them
- Which of your social media posts do they enjoy vs. found boring or useless
- Competitors’ status among your target market
- Audience preference between several competing brands (by name)
- Audience preference between content/ product aspects (used by you and competitors)
In effect, whatever information you need to measure, you can probably survey it. Try finding a few suitable online survey examples that you can adapt to your specific needs and go from there.
They’re a tool for testing customer personas
You’re probably familiar with the “buyer persona” even if you’ve never heard the expression before. It’s a tool for identifying your target consumer group. It means creating a fictional customer who represents the type of person that would buy your product or service. Then you imagine what kind of marketing approach this person would buy into, and you start tailoring your campaign around that.
It’s a great way to start, but the problem is that it’s largely unattainable. Your buyer persona is an ideal image. Therefore, you need to test it against living customers to check if your assumptions are correct enough to invest in. Post a survey and aim to learn about your customers:
- Problems and challenges
- Motivations for buying from you (accessibility, value, price, ethics…)
- Preferred communication channels
- Preferred content format
- Whose purchase recommendations they trust the most
You need accurate comparisons, so do your best to get a high response rate. The trends from your survey results would ideally be very close to your customer persona. If they’re not, that means you don’t know your consumer base, as well as you, though.
In that case, you’ll need to adjust your strategy. Review your outreach channels, the format of your messages, and your general communication style. Also, consider what motivates the people you’re selling to and try to align with those values.
If you don’t have a customer base on which to test your persona, you can survey a wider group of general consumers. Make a questionnaire for a group, e.g. 30-45-year-old employed mothers in a given county, and post it on public social media groups to get some starting feedback.
They help improve content relevance
A key aspect of marketing success is adaptability. You have to be able to adjust your content to the preferences of various audience groups, which means you need to keep up with changing opinions. Surveys are a great tool for periodic market segmentation, thanks to covering all the data categories we mentioned above.
First, you can do pre-emptive surveys. Gather fresh information about your customer groups before you start developing a marketing strategy. This is especially useful for established brands and larger companies that are looking to launch a new product.
Ask your consumers how they first became aware of your business, what got them interested in your offer, and what made them decide to stay with you instead of a competitor. Then segment that information by demographics. Use that insight to choose optimal promotion channels for each subgroup and maximize the appeal of your new service or item.
Secondly, you can again test against personas. This is suited for younger companies operating on a smaller scale. Prepare your product and develop an idea of how different demographics would prefer to be informed about it. Next, brainstorm a hypothetical marketing strategy, and then use a survey to validate those assumptions before you begin implementing them.