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Using Surveys to Dig Deep With Your Target Audience

Posted on Mar 21, 2013 by

We’ve all gotten those receipts from big box stores encouraging us to fill out an online survey for a chance to win a $5,000 gift card. But how many of us have actually taken the time to fill one out? I’m guessing not many. The chances of winning are too slim to have much motivational power. But the fault isn’t with the survey idea itself. You can use surveys to find out what makes your target audience tick and you don’t have to give away $5,000 to do it. Here’s how:

Re-Think Your Incentives
Nobody sits around looking for surveys to fill out; you’ve got to make it worth their while. And while a huge prize for one lucky winner sounds cool, the truth is that smaller incentives offered to every respondent can generate more survey completions. If you own a restaurant, give away a free milkshake for every survey turned in. If you own a retail store or online business, offer a 10% discount, a free consultation, or a coupon code.

Ask the Right Questions
It’s easy to gather information about demographics and shopping behavior. But getting a look inside the heads of your customers can be a little trickier. The key is in asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Some potentially revealing questions include:

  • Who would you shop with if our company didn’t exist?
    This is a great way to find out who your competitors are. You may be surprised at the answers you receive.
  • How did you hear about us first?
    Find out which marketing methods generate the most business—Facebook, email, print advertising, direct mail or something else. Then use that information to determine where additional efforts should be concentrated.
  • How have we made your life easier or better?
    Find out if you are accomplishing your business goals and if your UVP is actually impacting your target audience the way you intend it to.
  • Why did you decide to buy from us?
    This question can help you dig a little deeper into the factors that motivate your target audience, even more so than asking how they heard about you.

Promote Your Survey
Once you have designed a survey that asks the right questions and offers the right incentives, promote it everywhere you can. Use your Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, email subscriber list, website, and any other online marketing avenues like Circulo Marketing available to you. The more responses you receive, the better you’ll understand what motivates the majority of your customers.

Surveys provide an excellent avenue for looking into the minds of your best customers. By offering the right incentives, asking the right questions, and promoting your survey as much as possible, you’ll gain valuable information that can help you take your business to the next level.


  • Managing Partner of HMG Creative, father of two, runner, ping pong master, P90X extremist, now living in Austin Texas after 11 years in sunny San Diego, CA. Follow him on twitter @HMGCreative

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