For most people, the word survey is about as exciting as the words broccoli or taxes.
But the truth is, surveys are amazing because when they're done correctly, they empower those leveraging them with critical data that drives better business decisions, budget choices and yes, even inbound marketing!
Here are 5 types of surveys that can boost your inbound game without boring your customers and prospects to death.
The Classic Customer Satisfaction Survey
You might be thinking there isn't anything about a customer satisfaction survey even remotely related to inbound marketing.
In most cases, this might be true BUT, the trick is in what questions you include in this survey. Additionally, you need to be gathering more info than the typical, "Are you happy with 'X'," type questions. You'd be surprised at what your customers are willing to share with you beyond their simple satisfaction.
Some questions you may want to include in this survey to make it more "inboundy:"
- How helpful do you find our blog to be?
- Are there any subjects you'd like us to cover in our blog/newsletter?
- If so, what are they?
- Would you be interested in participating in a case study?
Also keep in mind that a standard question for this type of survey is, "what types of services/products would you like us to add to our current offerings?"
You can use this info to create content surrounding their feedback, assuming it's something you choose to pursue.
Most sales teams schedule some sort of meeting with prospects, whether it be online or in person. If they're doing their job well, they will send out a "pre-meeting survey."
Pre-Meeting Surveys are a killer way to do the following:
- Help prequalify the prospect.
- Save time during the meeting, bypassing the more superficial stuff.
- Uncover their challenges to help determine if you are a good solution.
- Discover new content topics.
Over time, your sales and marketing team may uncover new trends of challenges and needs hidden within the survey results. You can use these trends to generate new content ideas, providing even more value to your subscribers and future prospects.
Pro Tip: Prior to the meeting, your sales reps can also send the prospects some of your articles related to their challenges/needs expressed in the survey results - providing more value to the prospect and further establishing your company as an authority.
Win/Loss Analysis Surveys
Well, you either won the deal or lost it to a competitor (or non-decision). Now is a great time to touch base with this contact to see how you performed during the sales process.
This is the sole purpose of the Win/Loss Analysis Surveys: sales performance.
...or is it? This is actually an excellent time to extract data that can improve your inbound efforts! But how?
Here are some typical questions found in this type of survey. Keep an inbound mindset when you read them and you'll discover more than just why they did or did not buy from you (some of these are actual questions we use for Firesnap's win/loss surveys).
- Where was our company the STRONGEST during your overall evaluation? (include things like price, expertise, rapport, value, etc.)
- Where was our company the WEAKEST during your overall evaluation? (include same options as above question.)
- How well did our website explain what we do?
- How could we make our website more useful/compelling?
These questions are actually revealing areas where you can create more content to address. They also allow you to refine your inbound strategy.
For example, if you notice most lost deals mention value or expertise as the reason they passed on your company, it could indicate that your marketing collateral is failing to reinforce those elements.
Market Research Surveys
All companies will engage in market research prior to developing a new product or service launch (well, the smart ones anyway).
But the data gathered from general market research surveys can display so much more than a product/service's efficacy within the market -- they can reveal what buyers are missing in their lives (and your strategic placement of content can fill)!
Here are some examples of basic market research questions...see if you can find the inbound value to them.
- What do you like most about our new product/service?
- What do you like least about our new product/service?
- What changes would most improve our new product/service?
- What would make you more likely to use our new product/service?
Regardless if the answers are positive or negative, the feedback itself can help you refine your inbound direction. Heck, it could even help you discover new keywords you were previously omitting from your strategy.
For example, a large amount of respondents might report that your CRM software is missing adequate training. If you choose to offer this service based on the feedback, you will also want to include "CRM training" into your list of keywords to focus on.
Internal, employee facing surveys are an excellent way to improve upon your inbound marketing efforts. Not just by generating new ideas, but to aid in execution as well.
Many companies send out monthly or quarterly surveys to their employees as a "pulse check" on their satisfaction at the company, their self-assessed value to the company and any recommendations they may have.
This is not only a great way for companies (especially larger companies) to keep tabs on company culture and employee sentiment, but also procure some much needed content and perhaps even single out an author or two!
Here are some questions that can be directed toward employees that can fuel the inbound fire:
- When you think about our company's offerings, what are the top 5 words that come to mind?
- When you think about your role within our company, what are your top 5 responsibilities?
- Have you read our company's blog? Is so, what do you think could help make it better?
- Do you have any interest in creating valuable content for the company as an occasional writer for our blog?
The inbound value of this survey is pretty self-explanatory. The end results, however, may astonish you and show that you have employees who are willing to invest more of their expertise than they are currently.
Likewise, if you've found you've got some willing participants on your staff, sending them separate surveys designed to flesh out each individual piece of content would be the next step. You might provide the article title and ask them to provide the top five bullet points that fit under this subject.