In a recent blog post – “Proof That It Never Hurts To Ask”1, Tom Schwab of Goodbye Crutches, points out the strong benefits of asking potential customers for more details about their needs and challenges when they complete landing page forms. Among the advantages he cites are:
- Increasing prospect awareness and trust
- Getting more web site pages viewed
- Establishing a deadline for action
But how do you get prospect feedback on needs and interests before you start a marketing campaign? Market research surveys which may have been executed during product development can have limited usefulness when planning campaigns and can suffer from a couple of key issues:
- A frequent purpose is to help build the best value proposition for a particular product or solution. Questions revolve around the solution’s potential usage, investment, alternatives, value etc. – not around the prospect’s own needs and challenges.
- Timing — research is mostly done before a product or solution is finalized and does not reflect the prospects current pain points, which is what marketers need to know to create a compelling campaign.
When you are planning a multi-step marketing campaign, it really pays to know about the challenges your target audience is experiencing right now. Only by delivering thought leadership content that’s immediately relevant can you hope to maximize your response rates and the return on your campaign investment. Prospect surveys can help you tweak your campaigns for the present.
Leveraging surveys to drive content relevancy and target account engagement
It’s also true that the more remarkable your campaign content, the better it will resonate. But what makes content remarkable? Part of the answer is relevancy. Post a great article or produce a video about something that doesn’t help your target audience straight away and it’ll likely have a less than stellar impact.
The same is also true of survey questions. Ask questions in which the respondent isn’t really interested and the response will be muted. Ask about a burning issue and not only will the response rate increase, interest in finding a solution will too.
Consequently the right survey done at the right time can have a major impact on campaign success. The key factors are:
- Survey the specific audience – your key accounts- that you intend to market and sell to. Not the world at large. Knowing who the target audience is helps make the questions both more relevant and the survey shorter. This also reduces the cost and improves the completion rate.
- Survey close to the start of your campaign. The more up-to-date the survey results, the greater the relevancy and impact of your campaign. Also your insights are likely to be ahead of your competition who may be months out of date. In today’s market, everything benefits from a “just-in-time” approach.
- Focus on respondent needs and challenges, not just product considerations. You’ll likely have some intelligence from existing accounts about what kinds of challenges prospects are currently facing. The survey can verify or add to the list, determine the priorities and quantify their importance.
- Use an independent research company to maintain respondents’ privacy, manage the process and process the results. You’ll get guaranteed results that your prospects and customers can trust.
Derive thought leadership from the leaders
Surveys yield valuable content. Aggregated and summarized survey results are often valuable to customers and prospects and can be incorporated directly into marketing campaigns in a variety of ways. However, when planning your survey, make sure to ask questions about winning strategies and what recommendations prospects are making to their peers. Knowing what approaches are considered best practices when dealing with challenges enables you to provide information that can put into immediate action, and is one of the best ways to create remarkable thought leadership content.
1. Reference: Proof That It Never Hurts To Ask, HubSpot Academy Blog, Posted on Mon, Aug 20, 2012
Have you used prospect surveys to help with your demand generation activities? How did you leverage the results? Please comment: