Don’t overlook the humble survey in your analytics toolkit

My biggest call to action for the launch of Collective Reach was asking my audience to take a survey to let me know who they are, how they work and what keeps them up at night.

Why did I go this route?

Because I want to make sure that the content, tools and services I offer my audience and potential future clients actually give them what they want and need.

It’s easy to overlook this tool when you’re making communications decisions, especially in the data-rich (and let’s be honest: overwhelming) world of online analytics.

Yes, you can see where your audience is coming from and follow their path through your website and make educated inferences based on this information.

But maybe you’re small and new and don’t have a ton of traffic, or you lack the specialized expertise to gather and understand complex analytics. That doesn’t mean you have to (or should) build your communications strategy on wild guesses.

If you want to know where your audience wants to interact with you online, what they want to read about, what they feel is lacking or what would delight them, just ask.

If you use something like Google Forms, it can be a totally free way to gain valuable information on which you can base decisions.

Simple Tips for Surveying Your Audience

  • Brainstorm what you want to know before you start drafting questions.
  • Keep it as simple and short as you can.
  • Ask someone (or ideally, a few someones) to beta test your survey and let you know if any questions are misleading, redundant or confusing.
  • Consider an incentive for taking the survey: a discount, contest, or free download can encourage readers to give you their opinions and make sure they know you appreciate their time.
  • Think about if and how you’ll share the results. The survey can help develop future content that you may want to share publicly, can help justify resource allocation internally or guide program or service improvements within your organization.

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