You may think you know what your consumer wants, but the facts could surprise you. One of the most important aspects of doing successful business is the ability to evolve along with the needs of your customers. And how do you know what they want if you don’t ask them? The reality is you don’t, and the best way to stay informed is by regularly conducting surveys.
There are several different proven survey methods, depending on your budget and the type of information you’re looking for.
- Face-to-Face/Focus Groups- The most sophisticated and costly, these can be the most effective because there is no limit to the amount of information you can obtain from participants. The downside is that you need to spend considerable up-front time recruiting qualified attendees and arranging for the proper set-up (large room, moderator, recorder, refreshments). You’ll also need to provide a financial incentive for the people who take part.
- Phone- Like the Face-to-Face method, phone surveys allow you to communicate directly with consumers without the added cost of sending someone out to do the surveying. The challenge is to find reliable, experienced callers who can accurately obtain the information you need.
- Mailing/Letters- This approach is certainly more time efficient since there is no limit to how many surveys you send out. It also allows you to do it on your own time rather than when you can capture someone by phone and possibly get a rushed response. Mail surveys generally produce a low rate of return, but since you’ll be sending out large numbers, the results can still be worth it if you’re willing to pay the printing and postage (a stamped return envelope significantly increases the chances that people will respond).
- Email- The ultimate tool in surveys, it is the quickest, most successful way to gain insight into what a consumer wants. Emailed surveys have the highest proven return rates and fastest response times of any method. They are also the least intrusive, cost efficient and convenient for the person taking the survey.
Public relations and marketing only work when you know where to focus your energy, and this knowledge can best be revealed through the use of surveys. You can’t afford to take a guess when it comes to your business.
Odie is a public speaker and author of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s Employment Survival Guide”. Has the axe already fallen for you? Well, Odie has been there, done that and written a book with useful strategies for those in the same situation. We are happy to welcome Odie to the I. Salsman PR family.
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