New and established businesses can use surveys to gather crucial information for decision-making. If you’re a startup, there will be several decisions you’ll need to make about your products and services, whom you target, how you reach your ideal customers and what you will say to them. Typeform have good examples of surveys here. In this article, I will highlight five key decisions that marketing surveys can help you make.
Startup Decision #1 – Who is your customer?
You have a great idea for a business. The product is amazing! But do you really understand who your customer is and why they would buy from you and not from another business?
A survey of your market helps you create a picture of your ideal customer. We call these ‘buyer personas’. The survey can ask questions about job titles, key responsibilities, gender, income, educational background, main challenges, budget and so on. You can start by asking friends and family, then your professional network. If you require more responses, market survey platforms allow you to reach a wider audience for a fee.
Startup Decision #2 – What are your brand values?
If you are thinking about your brand values, this is great! Many startups ignore this at the beginning and do not make it a priority. However, your brand values guide your business by establishing the standards by which you operate. It also lets your market know what to expect from you.
Let’s say you know your ideal customer from a previous market survey. You also need to know what they value. If you say one of your values as a business is creativity, for instance, does your ideal customer care about creativity? In a highly competitive industry, would that customer buy a cheaper product even if it wasn’t particularly creative? Understanding the values that matter to your market helps you further define your ideal customer. Ask people what they care about. Use a survey to help respondents prioritise different values. How do you stack up?
Startup Decision #3 – Which content engages your target customer?
Startups and established businesses need to continuously engage their customers. This could be through a content marketing strategy that includes social media, blogs, videos etc. When you start creating content, monitor responses e.g. likes, comments and shares. This will give you an idea of what people engage with.
When you have built the readership of your content, ask your customers what kind of content they would like to see more of. Consider the format they prefer i.e. written guides, videos, infographics, live videos etc. Also, consider the topics they want to learn more about. Nothing beats actually asking your customers what they want and them witnessing you taking their suggestions on board.
Startup Decision #4 – How do you want your brand to be perceived?
A 2015 article by Brandwatch states,
Brand perception is owned by consumers, not brands. Regardless of your message, whatever people are thinking and saying about your brand, that is your brand.
This even truer now that it was in 2015. Surveying your customers is important for measuring how you are perceived or how you might be perceived based on elements of your branding such as your business name, logo, website design and content. If what you undercover through a survey is not how you would like to be perceived, you can take steps to influence that perception. Use social media and storytelling to create a relatable narrative around your brand and to build trust with your market.
Startup Decision #5 – How will you price your product to show value?
How you price a product could make or break its success. From the first decision about who your customers are, you might know enough about what they might be willing to pay. It is also important to know what your competitors are charging.
Pricing can be complex, including tiers and product bundling. This example of a product pricing survey:
Another approach could be to ask respondents what they would pay as a maximum. Something like this:
- Less than £100
- Between £100 and £250
- More than £250
If value-based pricing is your focus (as it is in many B2B sectors), ask your customers different questions such as which additional features they are willing to pay for (or paying for existing features to be bigger, faster or more durable) and what matters most to them when using a vendor like yours. You’ll be able to segment your market and give a price that reflects value to each segment. Each customer segment will be different.
Used well, marketing surveys are an effective way of hearing out your target market. You might not always change what you are doing because of the results but you will have information that allows you to put in place messages, content and support for anticipated customer reactions.
Have you used marketing surveys to make a decision? Tell us how it went in the comments!