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SurveyMonkey’s CMO, Leela Srinivasan, Reveals Top Market Research Secrets Every Marketer Should Know

The world after the COVID-19 pandemic has been dramatically different. In business, things have never been so uncertain and confusing. And as SurveyMonkey CMO, Leela Srinivasan, emphasizes, that’s why market research is so important right now than ever before. You should be aware of what your customers want, the issues they’re facing, and how to best deliver results to them. And by merely conducting high-value market research, you can build a competitive, compelling strategy for your brand.

As marketers, our main concern right now is how to adapt to the new climate after the pandemic. Hence, it’s a good idea to know your customer, and you can do this by leveraging market research techniques.

Researchers at SurveyMonkey have found that marketers have been very stressed lately; the pandemic’s impact on marketing teams has been intense. 42% of marketers say budgets have decreased, while 52% are expected to stretch their budgets to do more than usual. 

Understandably, it had a demotivating impact all across the board, but it doesn’t have to be that way! While the situation can feel like a crisis, it can also be an opportunity.

SurveyMonkey has been looking for more agile ways of working and finding survey tools that can help streamline their work process even more. We can’t rely on old insights anymore if we want to take our businesses forward. We need newer data, better market research models. 

As Srinivasan puts it, extracting vital insights from current and future customers, faster than your competitors, drives success. And tools like SurveyMonkey can help you accomplish this.

Use Research Data To Drive Business Decisions

There are countless ways of conducting meaningful market research that can help you make smarter decisions. The following are some of the primary types of research methods you should remember that can help you elevate your business to the next level:

  • Brand Research: Track and understand how your brand is perceived.
  • Consumer and customer research: Dig into behavior, usage, and habits.
  • Market trends: Know your market opportunity and competitive landscape.
  • Research-backed content generation: Create thought-leadership content with market insights.

And one of the best ways to conduct such high-value research is through surveys! So, let’s dig into Leela Srinivasan’s top ten tips on how to best optimize surveys for credible and valid market research.

Tip 1: Design your survey with the end in mind

Before designing a survey, you should clarify what you’re trying to achieve with the results. What do you want to find out? The questions you ask should prompt responses that will help you get the data you need. 

Remember that a survey can just be the start. It can be the information you gather to help you move onto the next step in your research process, whatever that may be. But when you have a precise output in mind, it allows you to benchmark the questions you ask your target audience. While these questions may be related to what you want to find out in the short run, they could have longer range relevancy.

Tip 2: Get off to a compelling start

A survey is a type of content piece that gives your audience a choice; it’s up to them whether to engage with it or not. And as a content marketer, it’s up to you to make that survey attractive. You can start by assuring them that what they say in the survey will lead to some benefits. Customers want to be heard and want to feel like their feedback matters. So, make it clear why you’re conducting this research and what’s in it for them.

Apart from that, it’s also a good idea to keep the survey’s opening sweet and short. Consider the type of questions to start your survey with; easy, friendly-toned questions are likely to garner a higher response rate, and the same is true for multiple-choice, one of the most convenient types of questions to answer.

Tip 3: Don’t forget to engage

Through the right content design and smart questions, you can create content that connects back into your brand message, aligns with your brand values, and answers unanswered questions.

What topics will appeal to your audience the most?

Survey Design (Things to Remember):

  • Use themes and images (visuals to reflect your brand)
  • Turn on conversation mode (chats lead to a more organic approach)
  • Think about question tone (mix up the questions)
  • Explore different collectors (email, SMS, QR code) for more engagement

That aside, you should also tell people why their opinions are valued. Your audience should feel that you will take their feedback seriously. All of the points mentioned above will help respondents feel like they’re part of something important, which matters most.

Tip 4: Know your audience(s)

Your sample is critical – you need quality responses from relevant respondents. They should answer your questions based on their real experiences or knowledge because otherwise, your research won’t hold meaning. So, ask your representative audience(s) to give you honest feedback so that they can help you prevent making branding mistakes. You want data that genuinely depicts how people perceive your brand.

Moreover, you should also consider how you want to reach people. If you’re looking for fast research and zero in on a specific demographic, you can also use research panels. We’ll talk more about how to reach people in a moment.

Tip 5: Don’t forget mobility

With time, more and more people answer surveys while on the go. According to research at SurveyMonkey, over 40% of surveys are taken on a mobile device. Hence, aim to keep your survey questions engaging and to-the-point. Some points to remember are:

  • Keep it under 25 questions
  • Use simple question types (like multiple-choice)
  • Make sure images aren’t too detailed
  • Preview and test your survey

As you’re writing your survey, think about potential friction points, and aim to make it user-friendly. The key is not to overwhelm respondents with the length of the survey.

Tip  6: Less is more

When it comes to surveys, less is more. Nobody has time to go through lengthy questions or write essay responses with such busy schedules. So, before conducting your research, clarify what your final aim is. You can use surveys to determine customer preferences, aid you in a product development stage, or other similar tasks. 

In other words, streamline the research process, and determine the messaging that resonates most with your target audience.

Examples of what you can base your questions around can be whether people would purchase solutions branded in a certain way, whether your ads were appealing to them, how relevant your brand seems, etc. 

Tip 7: Strive for quality and also the (right) quantity

When it comes to market research, you want to capture key demographics. You should start by determining the types of audience you’re interested in for analysis so that it allows you to set a minimum number of respondents in each category to have meaningful results. Decide this first and upfront so that you can avoid any mixed messaging in the research questions. It will allow you to streamline the process.

You also have to decide which demographics to target. It can be one area specifically or more than one. Usually, it can be factors such as gender, geography, state/country, career seniority, ethnicity, education, etc. 

That aside, the quantity – sample size – is also critical. Your survey sample size will determine how many people you reach and the validity that your final research will hold.

Here’s what SurveyMoney recommends:

  • 150-300 for a quick poll for a blog post or social media
  • 500 for B2B target, niche industry insights
  • 1000+ for anything you want media to pick up

So, before conducting research, you should screen for the right respondents. What kind of groups are you interested in and want a response from? Use screening questions, in the beginning, to determine who will take the survey. In this way, you can ensure that only relevant people are answering your questions.

Quick Tips:

  • Use behavioral and industry-specific screeners.
  • Ask screening questions at the start.
  • Limit “Yes” or “No” answer options (so that people aren’t biased in responses).
  • Make sure the prompts are clear and concise.
  • Fast track your research by tapping into a panel.

As a result of proper screening, you will narrow down your pool, but that’s good; relevant people lead to accurate, valuable research that you can utilize to upgrade your business.

Tip 8: Know when to send

When it comes to surveys, you also need to consider when you’ll be sending it out and how many times you may have to send reminders. Timing is crucial because it can determine how many responses you get

Research shows that surveys have a higher response rate between 9 am – 3 pm in the middle of the week. According to Srinivasan, weekends can work too, but people are more likely to engage with such material from Tuesday to Friday. It may help to keep that in mind next time you’re sending out surveys!

Tip 9: Before you send, phone a friend

SurveyMonkey has collaboration features that allow you to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. Once you have a sense of everything you want in a survey, it’s essential to cross-check it with someone you trust. 

For example, you can get someone on your team to check whether you’ve framed and crafted your survey the right way. It’s vital to get the help of colleagues to ensure you have high-quality surveys. And they should make sure the wording, logic, tone, etc. fit the context. They can even respond to it the way a potential respondent would, or comment on specific segments to let you know what areas or questions may need improvement.

Moreover, you can also take the help of your team with audience targeting. There are multiple ways to send a survey out there – email, social media, QR codes – and your team can help you figure out the best approach. Collective effort can take market research to the next level.

Tip 10: Take your research all the way

There are tons of applications for market research: to gather feedback, to test products, to engage with your audience. And research-based content turns out great because it’s original content based on real-time research. But don’t just leave it there! 

A single research piece can fuel an entire integrated campaign (e.g., press releases, blog articles, guides, infographics, videos, presentations, social media). So, you can do a lot with your research after you’ve got the results. Take the data you’ve collected, and depending on its relevance and credibility, turn it into content that can help your business grow.

Key Takeaway

In the constantly shifting business environment of today, market research is becoming incredibly important. If you want to know what customers are looking for, you have to engage with them and get their feedback. Whether that’s for a product in its development stage, a marketing campaign, or potential suggestions on improving your business service, you can extract a lot of value from credible research.

High-value market research can provide you with insights related to your brand that are hard to come across anywhere else. And surveys can be one of the optimal ways to conduct such research! SurveyMonkey is one of the tools you can utilize, but there are also many other options available in the market.


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