Being passionate about your business, sadly, isn’t enough to keep it afloat. One in five businesses will fail in their first year, and only half last for 10 years.
Two of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is investing in the wrong idea and failing to market it to the right audience. In fact, 42 percent of businesses go under because there’s no need for their product or service in the market they’re catering to, according to Insurance Quotes.
Marketing your business to an audience who has no need or want for it is clearly not a winning strategy. But how do you know who can use your products and who can’t?
The answer here is simple: Just ask.
Small businesses can use surveys to discover what their audience wants, and which people are interested in their products or services. Here’s what you need to get started:
1. Define your goal
This first step might seem somewhat obvious – you want to know what your customers want. But taking the time to really think about what the goals for your survey are will help you craft one that’s helpful to you, VerticalResponse explained. Perhaps you want to make your services more applicable to your customers, or maybe you want to introduce a new product but want to know if it will be well-received. When you start with a clear understanding of what you’re seeking, you can put together a survey that addresses your specific needs.
2. Choose a platform
SurveyMonkey may be the most well-known online survey tool out there, but it’s certainly not the only one. For example, Polldaddy allows you to create surveys for free when you sign up for an account and doesn’t limit the number of responses you can collect. Plus, it’s easy to integrate into any WordPress website, DIY Marketers noted. SurveyGizmo also has a free option that offers limited capabilities for the layout and design of your surveys. With a paid subscription, you can gain access to fun themes and more insight into users who take the survey.
3. Plan your questions
Once you’ve figured out the goal of the survey and chosen a platform to use, it’s time to construct your survey questions. While you want to include enough questions to fully inform yourself, it’s important not to inundate your audience with questions.
Survey fatigue – in which respondents get sick of answering questions and quit the survey altogether – can quickly ruin the effectiveness of your knowledge-gathering plan. Here are some tips to prevent survey fatigue:
- Use multiple choice questions when possible.
- Limit the number of questions.
- Put the demographic questions at the end, as these are the easiest.
When writing out your questions, keep them unbiased. Survey Monkey pointed out that even a hint of bias in your questions is likely to turn off your respondents. And, for those who forge forward anyway, there’s always a chance that you’re not getting a truthful answer – you may have persuaded them to answer differently with the phrasing of your question.
4. Test your survey
Before you send your survey to everyone in your email list or link to it from your website, make sure it actually works. Try it out for yourself and send it to a colleague, friend or family member to get feedback.
5. Send it out!
Now that your survey is complete, it’s time to distribute it. Send it out through email, put it on your website, tweet it or hand it out at a fair or trade show. Soon you should see valuable, useful information coming in that will help you guide your next steps.