It’s likely your business is about providing solutions for your market. But before you can create the solution, you need to know what your market needs, wants, and is willing to pay for.
I’m always amazed at how often someone will create a solution before they understand the problem. Not only is this a waste of time, you could cost yourself countless dollars and untold frustration when people don’t respond to your offers.
The solution? Find out what your market wants by asking. It’s literally that simple. One of the best ways to do this is with surveys.
A survey can be as short, or long, as you want. Keep in mind though, the longer the survey, the less likely people will be to spend time on it. Often, they start and then exit the page simply because it’s taking far too long.
In the 25 years I’ve owned and operated my business, I’ve conducted countless surveys. When I introduce a new product to market, expand on my service offerings or make a major shift, it’s important to know what people want, need and are willing to pay for.
For example, over the last few months, I’ve expanded my service offerings and soon to be product releases in the Plant Based Market. To assure I hit the target with what the plant based community (and those who are curious about it) wants, I am conducting a simple survey.
This is being done in the Facebook Group – Plant Based Eating for Health. Members of the group have expressed an interest in plant based eating simply by virtue of the fact they are members of the group.
Rather than randomly survey people who have no interest in plant based eating, I am taking a very targeted approach.
Based on the responses, I changed the wording on a FREE program I offer. By getting feedback from the very people interested in this topic, I shifted the focus to address health issues such as heart, inflammation, disease followed by weight loss. I also added in an image that supports the claims on weight loss. (Yes! That is me in the before and after)
Conducting a Survey
A well-constructed survey reveals a great deal. You can conduct a “name required” survey or one that is completely anonymous. Respondents tend to be more frank and honest on anonymous surveys. It’s as if they feel safer and tend to not hold back when they are not identified.
Surveys tell you what your market wants and how much they are willing to pay for it before you invest a lot of time and money developing products. They also provide fodder for articles, media releases, and blog postings based on what your market wants.
Unfortunately many professionals spend incredible amounts of time developing offerings based on what they think the market wants rather than what it does want. Survey, survey, survey – this is the magic word.
Keys to Successful Surveys
- Identify your objective
- Determine what information you need
- Develop the questions
- Conduct the survey
- Analyze the responses
- Develop products based on results
Identify your Objective
~ Find out what is going on with your market
~ Provide points of conversation with your market
~ Determine what your market wants
~ Discover your level of service based on your customer’s perspective
~ Learn more about demographic information – who your market is specifically
~ Learn what you must prioritize based on market input
Determine What Information You Need
Determine what information is absolutely essential for you to know and what would be nice to know but is not essential.
Develop the Questions
Many people avoid asking such questions because they don’t want negative feedback. But negative feedback is priceless; it allows you to improve on what you are doing.
Conduct the Survey
Before surveying on a large scale, you may want to test your survey with a small group of people. This helps you determine how effective and clear your questions are before investing in the larger effort. Be sure that those in your test market are representative of your real market.
Surveying friends, family, neighbors, or anyone who is not in your market will not give you a true picture of what the problems are, what people are happy with, what their needs are, and where you need to focus your attention.
Analyze the Responses
Identify general themes, challenges, and interests based on responses. Use a program that allows you to run reports on your survey answers. For most solopreneurs and microbusiness owners, a service such as SurveyMonkey works just fine.
Develop Your Product Based on Results
Develop your product based on what your research determines. You should be able to determine pricing structures, delivery methods, frequency of offerings, and other pertinent information.
For the purpose of building a subscriber list, the survey results will provide insights as to what free offerings you need to create. Hitting the target with the right offers assures a greater number of opt-ins.
Survey results also enable you to develop marketing and sales messages using your customers’ language. Pay close attention to the words people use in their responses.
When I created my popular program for experts interested in getting booked on Podcast Shows, I surveyed the market. Based on the responses, I was able to create a great product that includes a directory of over 162 listings, video training and live training. To see what’s in the program, click here.
Repeat as Needed
Products and services have life cycles. As sales from your current offerings decline or you notice requests for items you don’t currently offer, just repeat the above steps to gather more current information.
Knowing what is “hot” at any given time is simply a matter of researching your market. Find out what motivates them. For some it will be a high sense of values. For others it will be money, or status, or love. There are universal drives that are common to humans, and we all favor one or two of them over others.
If you’re not familiar with these, do a self-assessment to discover what your own preferences are. That will make it easier for you to identify and understand what motivates others.
Types of Questions to Ask
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is__________________ ?
What is the most important part of training? (multiple choice)
What is your single greatest challenge with______________________ ?
If you could solve one problem, what would it be?
Give us your opinion on_____________________
Take time upfront to know what your market wants in order to fully serve them and make great revenues from your offerings.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…what survey questions have you found to be most effective for finding out what your market wants from your business?
First off, thanks for another fact filled, uber helpful post.
I recently surveyed my market and one of the questions I asked that delivered the most helpful info was simple and straight forward,:
“What issue do you continue to struggle with the most in building your business?” Then I gave them options, areas I know my clients struggle with and “other” was an option as well. I find giving options for questions like this helps. I received many responses and so much information that I’ve created a 6 month online course around the 6 most repeated issues.
As I write my email copy to invite people to join me I will (as you brilliantly suggested) use the words they used, to describe their pain and difficulty:Thank you Kathleen!
You are one brilliant woman. Very focused on real solutions for your market. Thanks for your comments.