Diving into the blogging world over the last few months has been eye-opening. I learn something new every day There is an endless stream of details and decisions. To pop-up or not pop-up? Discus or Commentluv? Single opt-in or double?
If you know what those things refer to, you are definitely a blogger!
But in the constant drive to have the trendiest fonts, the slickest landing pages and the pinnable-est images, we often lose focus on the key ingredient in the secret sauce of blogging success: the audience. Those faithful readers who take the time to read our words.
The mom in the carpool line looking for a little encouragement while she tries to figure out what's for dinner.
The young woman wondering if God really has a place in her life and if He cares about what she wears.
The 50-is-the-new-30 go-getter searching for something new and inspiring to fill the empty hours that come with the empty nest.
These ladies are looking for a place to engage, a place that understands them and is reaching out to meet their needs. And if you can understand that need and meet it in a genuine, meaningful way, you'll have loyal readers for life.
One way to learn more about your audience is by asking them a few questions in a survey. These five tips will help you create a killer survey to pick their collective brain.
1. Use a form-based survey
Just asking a list of questions on your site or in your newsletter may get you a lot of information, but you'll pull your hair out trying to get a handle on trends from all.the.words. Survey Monkey and Google Forms are two popular tools for creating surveys that are friendly for both the survey taker and creator.
2. Incentivize your readers to take your survey
Everybody loves getting stuff and survey takers are no different. It doesn't have to be much, but offering an incentive to take the survey, such as an exclusive printable, a discount code to your online store or a randomly-selected giveaway will get people excited about taking your survey.
3. Make it Short and Easy
A good reader survey should have eight questions or less … definitely no more than 10. Most of the questions should be 'closed-ended', such as multiple choice, rating or ranking, or check boxes. This type of question is quick to answer and easy to analyze.
Open-ended questions are useful, and one or two in a survey can provide a lot of information. But it is time-consuming to categorize them so you can draw some conclusions.
4. Be respectful of the information you receive
Remember that your readers have not posted this information publicly, so don't quote anything they say in the survey without getting permission. Also, if you ask for their email address (you'll need it if you are incentivizing with a giveaway) be clear if you are planning to add them to your newsletter list. Or better yet, include a checkbox for them to give you permission to add them to your list.
5. Share the results with your audience
Once you have received all of the responses, then the fun begins! People who have completed the survey will be curious about the results, so keep them informed with the changes you plan to make as a result of their input.
Brittany at Equipping Godly Women used Survey Monkey for her Reader Survey and shared the results with her readers using the graphs provided by Survey Monkey. She learned a lot about her audience, including some things that were unexpected. She now has a resource rich with blog post ideas and insight into ways she can serve her audience.
At the end of the day, people just want to feel heard. Listening through a survey is just one way to meet that need in your readers.
How do you listen to your audience? If you’ve done a great survey of your audience, share what you learned!