How can you add more authority to your content marketing campaign? Hard data! Recently, I have spent some time planning and conducting a survey for one of my clients in an effort to boost their content marketing strategy.
In a 2-part post, I want to summarise what I have learnt during this process to give you some tips on how to create your own survey and what you can do with your results. We’ll start with why you should create surveys and how to create them.
Why carry out a survey?
Surveys can be a relatively easy method of content marketing and depending on which service you use, it can be an inexpensive method. Surveys allow you to inform and educate your current and potential clients about your industry as well as enable you to set your business apart as a source of authoritative information.
What can a survey tell you?
Often people’s opinions on surveys are that the data isn’t trustworthy because what people say they do can differ from, or can conflict with, what they do. Let me put this in simpler terms, if you ask people in a survey what they would do and then observe what they actually do, then you might see several differences. However, rather than measuring future behaviour a survey should instead measure preferences, characteristics or perceptions.
For content marketing, effective surveys can look at the following:
- Audience analysis – preferences and demographics of your users or audience
- Expectations and perceptions of your brand and its content
- Impact of your content on offline behaviour when no other method to understand offline behaviour is available
Creating your survey
Perhaps the most time-consuming phase of the survey process is asking the right questions. It’s important to break down what you are trying to gain from the survey – what are your goals? What are you trying to measure?
There is little point going through the motion of spending money and resources on creating a survey only to realise there is nothing you can do with your results. Before writing your questions, have a think about the following points:
- What is your topic?
- What are your aims?
- What are you trying to measure?
- How many questions do you want to ask?
- Do you have demographic restrictions?
- What do you plan on doing with the results?
- Which service will you use to conduct the survey?
- Do you need a screening questions? (Do you want to eliminate certain respondents at the start so they can’t continue with the survey?)
Once you have the answers to the above, it should make things a little easier when writing your questions!
What platform should you use?
There are a number of platforms you can use to create your survey. I’ll take you through some examples and their advantages and disadvantages.
Google Consumer Surveys
Google surveys is the platform I used recently for my client work. This service allows you to choose your target audience, type your questions and receive results within a 24 hour time frame.
- Google surveys includes extra information within your results so that you don’t have to use up questions to ask your respondents e.g. age, location, income and parental status (of course not all of your respondents will agree to allow you to use their income).
- If your survey can be improved they will email you! Before my survey was launched, I got a useful email giving me some recommendations on how to make it better.
- Customer service is quick and they are very helpful!
- I thought the price was a little steep!
- Some of the types of questions you can use are confusing (open text, screening) – its worth doing your research before choosing your type of question.
This is an app platform where you can ask anything to their worldwide community of more than 70,000 members and get answers within a few hours – they claim!
- It’s cheap (but perhaps not cheerful!)
- Easy to build our your questions
- 500 responses
- Long responses – you may be waiting a week or longer.
- Questionable reliability
This platform is perhaps the most known out there where you can create, “any type of survey – from simple to sophisticated”.
- Clear pricing table on the website – you know what you’re paying for
- Good audience database
- Mobile app
- Customise your branding on your survey
- Data download: Open-ended questions and numeric questions need to be downloaded in separate files
- Invitation design – you can change the subject in the survey invitation but you cannot add a senders name (if you’re sending to specific individuals to fill in). The ‘from’ field on your receivers end will be “on behalf of firstname.lastname@example.org” – not exactly professional?
What you can do once you have got your data
So now you have gone through the motions of choosing your topic and conducting your survey. What can you do with your results to aid your content marketing efforts?
- Press releases
- Blog content
- Case studies
As you’ve seen from this list, there are plenty of content options! The more strategic you are, the more powerful your marketing efforts become. It’s worth bearing in mind that you don’t have to try all of these examples, just choose one or two that you think will be the most effective to represent your survey findings to your audience. Don’t be afraid to try new stuff – too many people shy away from doing something new because they are afraid it will fall flat, but you could create something extremely powerful.
In my next post, I’ll talk you through using press releases and infographics as part of your content marketing as well as give you some tips on outreach! In the meantime, have you used surveys and have they been effective? What platforms would you recommend?
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