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Four Tips for Learning What Customers Want

When I think back to all the times I've missed opportunities in life because I was too afraid to ask potentially embarrassing questions, it makes me wonder how much more I could have learned and accomplished if only I'd had the nerve to ask more questions.

Whether it's a fear of looking stupid in a seminar, or the fear of rejection when asking someone for a joint venture agreement, the end result is the same: you've placed a self-imposed limitation on your ability to learn and understand because of the fear of what others might say.

Now don't get me wrong, we all care about what others think of us so this reluctance to ask for feedback regarding our personal, or business, performance is not abnormal. That is unless it paralyzes you into avoiding any type of feedback and/or causes you to limit your interactions with other people.

So regardless of what your comfort level is about exposing yourself, and your business, to the opinions of others, soliciting feedback on your performance is something you absolutely must do if you want to succeed in building any type of online business.

And now that you know how important this feedback is, how you can efficiently gather those opinions from your Website visitors is what the rest of this article is all about.

Ask and you shall receive.

So how much do you really know about the individuals who visit your Website? For instance, can you answer all of the following ten questions about your Website's visitors?

  1. Are you visitors primarily male or female?
  2. How old are they?
  3. Are they married, single or divorced?
  4. Where do they spend the majority of their time online?
  5. What do they think of your Website/product?
  6. Why did/didn't they buy your products?
  7. Do they feel you are overpriced, underpriced?
  8. How do they think you could improve your product?
  9. Is there anything else they need that you could provide?
  10. Would they consider buying from you again?

If you're able to answer all of the questions above, you probably already have a system of testing, surveying and tracking that collects key information about your visitors, customers and/or subscribers. That's a good thing provided you take the necessary actions to improve on the areas you discover are not up to expectations.

If you can't answer all the questions above, you could be missing critical information about why your visitors are, or are not, making your business their final stop for whatever it is they're searching for.

For example, perhaps they're not buying due to something as simple as not being able to easily locate your price on your sales page. But how would you know if someone didn't tell you?

So how can you find out what your customers want? Simple, ask them! You can easily accomplish this by asking them to complete a survey questionnaire. This questionnaire can be located on your Website, or it can be sent to a targeted list of people using email.

Either way, you can use a questionnaire to uncover what your Website visitors are looking for and why, or why not, they decided to buy it from you.

When you're ready to develop your survey, here's four simple tips that can generate higher response rates and higher quality results.

Tip #1: Make your survey a prize giveaway

We have discovered that more of our Website visitors respond to our surveys if we give them some enticement or reward for filling out the survey form. One way to do this is to offer them a chance at receiving some type of prize if they complete the survey.

Mention this prize drawing on your Website or in your initial survey invitation email that you send out to your mailing list and you'll see a much improved response rate.

Now although a prize drawing will be enough to entice some percentage of your Website visitors, a better incentive is to just offer some type of free gift for the first 50-500 people to complete your questionnaire.

We've found this method works quite well if your visitors believe the gift is worth their time and effort to complete the survey questionnaire. For an example on how you could do this, take a look at the recent survey we conducted at http://www.RomanceBiz.com/Survey

Which ever method you choose, adding any free prize or gift will go a long way towards increasing your survey's response rate.

Tip #2: Don't send all you invitation emails at once!

When you survey your customers using email, never send all your invitation emails out at the same time. Start with a small percentage of your mailing list. As you survey your customers you may find that you have a specific issue that you need to explore in more depth - such as a question which is not clear enough and generating the wrong answers, or perhaps a reply form that isn't working properly.

If you send out all your survey invitations at the same time, you'll have no chance to correct potential problems and no one will give you a second chance. It's best to start small, test/evaluate and then go full scale.

Tip #3 - The less your respondent has to type, the more results you'll get.

If you can construct a survey where all your respondent has to do is click a few boxes, you'll find that the response rate is higher than if you ask your respondent to actually type something.

This is known as the 'hand to keyboard factor' and if your respondent has to move their hands to their keyboard, they will have to think more and are less likely to want to continue. Check boxes, radio buttons or drop down selections are the best way to go to reduce this potential negative.

Tip #4 - Get Their Name Again

Make sure you ask the person for their email address or some other way of identifying them--even if you are not giving away a prize or gift. This way you can generate your initial mailing list from your Website visitors or a sub-list of all the respondents from your larger email list. This information will be extremely useful for future promotional mailings.

If you keep these four tips in mind when developing your next customer survey, your response rates will be much higher and the quality of the feedback you receive will be much better.

Just remember, the only sure way to discover what's working, and not working, in your business is to ask your existing, or potential, customers. If you do, they're sure to give you all the feedback you'll need to let you serve them better. And that's the surest way to increase your Website's sales!

To read other articles by Survey Galaxy's guest authors or for more information or to discuss how online surveys can help you please contact surveys@surveygalaxy.com or visit www.surveygalaxy.com - the quick, easy and cost effective way to do online surveys.

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About the Author

John Weisenberger is the author of 'Making Money with Dating & Relationship Oriented Websites: The Facts, Statistics and New Business Ideas You Must Have to Get Started in This Fast Growing Marketplace. For more information visit http://www.RomanceBiz.com/503
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This article is John Weisenberger 2004. All rights reserved. Please contact the author for permission to reprint or republish.
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