What if there was one simple tool that was powerful enough to have an impact on your entire marketing strategy, from advertising to in-person sales? Well, there is such a tool, and you have probably even used it before. But you may not realize just how many different ways it can apply to your marketing efforts.
So what is this magic tool? It’s a simple survey. Below is a list of different ways surveys can enhance marketing efforts.
Online Reputation Management
Address Issues Before They Hit Public Review Sites
No matter how great your products and services are, you’re going to encounter issues with your customers at some point. When that happens, you can either address the problem yourself or let your customers get angry. If you don’t use surveys or another method of gathering customer feedback, you won’t have as many opportunities to address customer concerns. But if you find out that a customer is unsatisfied right away, you’ll be able to address the problem. Once it’s rectified, the customer will be less likely to leave negative comments about your business online.
Encourage People to Leave Positive Online Reviews
You can also use surveys to find customers who have been extremely satisfied by your products and services. When this happens, you can ask if they have a moment to leave a positive review or comment online. The more positive reviews you’re able to get, the better your chances of converting new customers who check Yelp or Google before doing business with you.
Find People to Ask for Recommendations
Those who have had positive experiences with your business can also potentially lend their stories or comments to public testimonials or recommendations. When new customers are considering doing business with a company, they like to hear other people’s positive experiences. So having a few of these available on your site or elsewhere is a good tactic.
Determine Where Customers Hear About Your Business
When gathering feedback from new customers, you can ask where they initially came across your company. This can help you decide whether your advertising efforts are worth the money or if you would be better served focusing on other areas of marketing.
Measure the Success of Specific Campaigns
In addition, if you have multiple advertising campaigns, you can use feedback to determine if any of them have been more effective than others. Maybe you have online ads and radio ads, but the online ads are far more likely to bring customers to your site. Surveys will help you figure out if there are any campaigns that aren’t working for you. If there are, you can save money by cutting those out of your plan.
Find Out What Messaging Points are Most Likely to Appeal to Your Customers
You can also see if there have been any trends within your advertising efforts. If your ads that play up a particular message have been more effective than others, that might tell you which messaging points are best fit for future campaigns.
Use Strengths to Your Advantage
You can also simply ask existing customers what they think are the best aspects of your business. It might be something you never really considered before. But hearing what current customers love about your business could help you uncover some messaging points for you to use in the future.
Social Media Marketing
Encourage Customers to Connect with You on Social Media
Finding customers to connect with on social media is important. And surveys can help you increase that engagement by finding out which sites your customers are using and what they look for in businesses on these sites. You might even consider using a call to action when gathering feedback.
Measure and Respond to Feedback on These Sites
Social media can also be a great platform for gathering feedback. Customers often reach out to companies on these sites, so it’s important both for those customers and your public image to see and respond to those comments. Your current customers will be glad they have an outlet for reaching you and resolving issues. And potential customers might see how much you care about customers and be more likely to do business with you in the future. You can then ask a few questions of your customers by promoting a quick survey on your social media sites to help gather feedback about specific issues.
Determine How to Engage with Customers
Not all of your customers are going to be active on every social media site. And not all of them are looking to connect with businesses. Using surveys, you can figure out where to focus your social media marketing efforts and how to get customers to connect with you.
Come Up with Ideas for Promotions or Special Offers
Social media is a great platform for things like contests, giveaways and other promotions. These things can help you gain followers and connect with more potential customers. But not all of these campaigns will be worth it. So you can and should gather feedback to see what types of campaigns would be most effective and which ones have garnered the best results so far.
Keep Your Brand at the Top of Customers’ Minds
Regularly conducting customer satisfaction surveys is great for gaining insights. But they can also be marketing tools themselves. When customers find those surveys in their inboxes, they are reminded of your brand and their experiences with you. That might spur some visits or sales without any further action.
Decide on the Best Ways to Stay in Contact with Customers
But you also want to stay in contact with customers aside from your regular survey requests. To determine the best way to do this, you can ask customers what methods of communication they use regularly and how they would prefer you reach out to them with things like special offers or discounts.
Introduce a Loyalty Program
You can also use feedback to increase customer loyalty. Determine which of your customers are regular customers and which are new and likely to return. Then aim to increase the number of customers who return by introducing a loyalty program of some kind and measure the results in future surveys. You can even use surveys to ask customers what type of loyalty program would be the best fit for them, including what they would expect as benefits from your loyalty program.
Increase Referrals to New Customers
Through surveys, you can also figure out which of your customers are likely to refer others. By regularly measuring customer satisfaction and then making relevant changes, you can increase the number of people who are likely to give you referrals. Then consider including a call to action in your survey, website or other materials asking your current customers to refer others who might be interested in your business.
Engage Website Visitors
Including a short survey on your website is a great way to get customers talking to you. Even those who haven’t actually purchased anything from you yet may have relevant information to offer. Anyone who is visiting your site is there for a reason. So you can find out how they got there, what they are looking for, or what they think of your site. And by asking, you are getting them to engage with you, meaning they are more likely to remember your brand and respond positively to it in the future.
Ask Questions About New Products
Surveys are essential in the product development process. If you are considering introducing a new product, you will need to get some opinions on it first. So ask your existing customers if there is a need and any actual interest before spending a lot of money on production.
Find Customers to Test or Review New Concepts
Surveys can also help you identify some of your most loyal customers who might be interested in your new product line. Identifying some of them can help you find potential testers who will give you genuine opinions from a customer’s point of view.
Find Aspects of Products that Customers Aren’t Satisfied With
It’s also quite possible that your current products could use some work of their own. By asking customers who bought a particular product what they think of it, you can find those features that might need improvement or might just not be necessary for future models.
Determine New Features that Could Improve Products
Even for products that don’t necessarily have any major faults, customers might be able to lend some insights for improvements. Customers see your products in a different light than you do, so asking them about potential improvements or even just finding out more about their habits can help you develop new potential features.
Find Aspects of the Customer Experience that Need to be Improved
Customer service can be an incredibly important part of your marketing, since it impacts whether customers will return or refer others. In regular customer satisfaction surveys, you will likely find out if there are any holes in your customer service efforts. If you are able to improve in these areas, you can likely retain more customers, gain new ones, and maybe even win back some that left.
Determine What Areas of Your Business Customers Rely on the Most
Surveys can also help you figure out what methods customers are most likely to use to contact you. For instance, if your customers would like to chat with you directly on your website but you don’t offer that feature, you could be losing customers because of it. Finding out that information in a survey can help you decide to develop that feature or focus on other areas of communication. And that can help you keep customers or even gain new ones.
In case you noticed a trend here, it’s because surveys are great for customer interaction and customer engagement with your company and brand. And in this day and age of increased expectation from customers to have more engagement with a brand, surveys are becoming more powerful as not just a market research tool but a community engagement tool.
Survey photo via Shutterstock
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Keep in mind that when you do surveys you’ll get the best response from people on the extremes; either really happy people or really angry/frustrated people. The majority of “average” customers don’t usually feel motivated to do surveys. Knowing this, temper your reaction to results and look for common themes. What are you doing that seems to come up over and over again on positive surveys? What comes up repeatedly on negative surveys? This is the actionable insight that can really move the needle.
Robert: Thanks for sharing your insight in this area. I have been grabbling with this issue for some time, thinking that surveys will get skewed by the two extremes.
I think all of these are important but things can get quite overwhelming especially if you don’t have a staff member that will track all these. It may be best to focus on just a few.
With the new terms and conditions for Facebook plus the minimum results Twitter brings to small businesses, are you sure that social media is still worth a company’s time and effort?