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They say knowledge is power.
Do you have the right information about your customers – the right knowledge? Do you know what they want from you and whether your products and services are truly meeting their needs?
If you have any doubt whatsoever or can’t really answer that question then it’s time to explore different survey topics and ideas that’ll help you move from making assumptions to having reliable insights.
Insights that can lead to explosive subscriber growth, brand recognition, and customer acquisition.
Let’s look at the survey topics that’ll allow you to collect useful data that makes all of this possible.
15 survey topics and ideas for brands
You can send out a survey to ask about almost anything. But how do you know which ones will be beneficial to you right now and which ones are a waste of time?
What kind of survey questions should you ask to get the best information?
It’s simple. Understand your own goals by asking yourself a few clarifying questions then choose the survey that’s in line with that.
- What do you want to learn about?
- What specific problem do you want to solve?
- Do you already have some of the answers you need or are you starting from scratch?
- Can you get the information from other sources?
- What timeframe do you have to collect and analyze the data?
Once you know the answer to these questions (and any other relevant ones you think up) you can select the perfect survey for the job.
Now, let’s look at the different survey topics and ideas.
1. Demographic surveys
Demographic data is a good survey topic when you want to get a general understanding of who your customers are. With the information you gain, you can make some general assumptions about them.
For example, if your customers are between the ages of 50 and 60, you know they were teenagers or a bit older in the eighties. They’d relate to popular culture references of that time and react with a sense of nostalgia.
Demographic surveys also give you an idea of where your customers are, their spending power, and even family makeup. This will give you insights into the kind of products they may be receptive too, what they can afford, and where you should focus your attention.
The demographic survey questions you use will play a big part in your ability to gather useful information. Avoid questions that are too personal and focus on general ranges instead of exact figures.
For example, you wouldn’t ask them for the birthday of their kids or the exact salary figure. People will ignore those questions or abandon your survey altogether.
2. Psychographic surveys
Demographic information gives you tangible characteristics about your customers, psychographic information gives you intangible information. These are things like attitudes around certain issues, opinions of specific topics, beliefs, values, and more.
Psychographic data can be powerful because, when used properly, it’ll allow you to connect with customers on a deeper level.
For example, people need to wear clothes but they choose clothing brands for a number of reasons beyond price. If you know they believe in sustainability, you can adopt sustainable business practices and ensure they know about it.
When it comes time to purchase clothes, your brand has a better chance because it aligns with their core values. Of course, any changes made should be in line with your core values as well.
Use a psychographic survey when you already understand the demographic characteristics of your audience and want to create tailored messaging for different customer segments.
3. Customer satisfaction surveys
After having a positive experience, 77% of people would recommend that brand to a friend. At the same time, 89% of people have switched to another brand after a poor service experience.
The reward for satisfying your customers is great but the penalty is just as high. Be proactive about understanding where you’re doing a good job and where you’re not.
Customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) are a great survey idea if you want to actively monitor your service delivery. There are two overarching types which include CSAT and CES (customer effort score).
The one you use and how you use them will depend on your business model and products.
For example, you may use a CSAT right after someone purchases a physical product. You may use a CES after someone signs up for your software product.
Test out when and how you use these survey topics. Whatever method gives you the most insights is the one that you should stick with over the long term.
4. NPS surveys
This survey topic is similar to CSAT surveys but instead of gauging satisfaction directly, it seeks to gauge loyalty. NPS surveys do this by asking respondents how likely they are to recommend the product, service, or brand to their network.
After asking the initial question, depending on the answer, the respondent is asked what you’re doing right or how you can improve. This process encourages people to hone in on the most impactful thing you can do or are doing.
An added benefit of this survey is that you can measure your NPS score over time and focus on improving it. As that score changes, it’s a proxy measure of your entire business’ health.
5. Product research/improvement surveys
Researching a new product is an exciting process. It starts with an idea and a need you’ve identified. Through research into your market, customer interviews, and surveys, you’re able to refine your product, develop it confidently, and launch it.
If you’ve done everything right, it should see some initial success but that doesn’t mean you can rest. That’s where this survey idea comes in handy. Instead of believing your product is perfect (which we know it can never be), you seek to improve it by getting feedback from people who purchased (and didn’t purchase).
- What made them skip over the product?
- What made them buy?
- What could be better?
- What is already as good as it gets?
Ask relevant closed ended and open ended questions to get multiple angles and perspectives.
6. Content strategy survey
Are you certain about what your audience is interested in and what they don’t care too much about? Yes, there’s keyword research but it can only take you so far.
Keyword research can’t tell you if people prefer short or long content. It won’t tell you if they like your personal stories. It also can’t shed light on how often you should create new articles or their favorite content format.
A content strategy survey topic will help you fill in the gaps in your understanding and make it possible to better tailor your content.
For example, you could ask:
- How often do you want to receive emails
- Which content format do you prefer
- Are short, bite-sized content pieces ideal or do you prefer longer pieces
There are no hard and fast rules for this survey and you can ask about all aspects of your content strategy.
7. Customer exit survey
No matter how good your product is, you’ll lose customers over time. That may be because they’re no longer using the service, it doesn’t have a key feature, they’ve moved, etc. Instead of guessing what the reason is, ask them.
This is incredibly effective if you have a subscription service and people have to actively unsubscribe. Before they’re able to cancel, ask them a few questions about why they want to go.
If it’s something about cost, features, etc., you may be able to recoup that revenue by showing your roadmap or offering them a better deal.
If you have a product that people buy once every few months, consider reaching out with a survey after long periods of inactivity. The cadence you choose will be tied directly to your product but test out different timeframes until you find the one that makes the most sense.
8. User experience survey
I shared a few shocking statistics (both good and bad) about how the user experience affects customer retention and referrals. Only a small part of the experience is how customers interact with you and your team.
A lot happens when people are interacting with other aspects of your business. This includes when they walk into the store, when they’re navigating your website, what they see (and don’t see) on your product page, the checkout process, hidden fees, etc.
It’s easy to miss these little bottlenecks and wonder why your conversions are low or people don’t stay customers over long periods.
These surveys work best when you send them out when someone is still on your website, in-store, or has recently made a purchase. Here are a few example questions:
- Were you easily able to find what you were looking for?
- Did the product page answer all your questions?
- Once you found the information you needed, was it easy to understand?
- What information was missing?
- What the checkout process easy to complete?
9. Market research survey
This survey idea should be at the top of your list whenever you want to try out a new venture. It should also be a regular fixture because things are constantly changing. It’s a combination of many survey types and gives you a holistic overview of the entire market.
Put another way, it’s a survey that helps gather data about a target market so you can analyze that information and draw conclusions to create new ventures, improve existing ones, or find new customer segments.
Market research surveys are flexible because you’re not limited to a specific band of questions like demographic or psychographic questions. The problem is that they can get long if you’re not careful about what you ask. The longer it is, the more respondents will abandon the survey.
Get clear on the goals of your survey beforehand then map out the most important questions. Keep it as short as possible to encourage people to complete it or at least answer more questions.
10. Product market fit survey
Once a product is in the market, it may get initial traction but that doesn’t mean it’s ideal for the group you’re targeting. This survey topic is similar to a product research survey but has a narrower goal. It seeks to understand whether your product is currently meeting the needs of the target market.
There’s a simple question that’s asked: “How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use this product?” The answers range from “very disappointed” to “not disappointed at all.” After the initial question, there’s a follow-up question asking for the reason behind the answer.
That follow-up questions, similar to the NPS survey, is where you derive deeper insights.
The goal of this survey is to get at least 40% of your respondents to answer “very disappointed.” At that point, you can say you have product-market fit. While not an exact science, this is a good measure of your progress towards meeting the needs of your customers.
11. Voice of customer survey
This survey topic can be a goldmine of marketing collateral. Time and time again, candid comments from customers have outperformed all the meticulously crafted headlines from expert copywriters.
Why is that?
Because it cuts through all the noise and clearly communicates the value that’s being delivered by your product. A customer is saying why they love the product and it speaks to other people just like them.
This is powerful marketing collateral and when you find a good phrase or statement, you should push it as hard as possible.
Voice of customer surveys focus on open ended questions that allow the respondent enough space to make their points or express their opinion fully. You can also test out different value propositions by asking people to tell you:
- Why do you use product
- What’s the most important feature of the product to you?
- Why does that feature matter?
- What problem are you solving with X product?
- Could you explain how you’d feel if you could no longer use the product?
As you can see, the questions are designed to understand the deeper reasoning behind why someone chose your brand and their feelings toward the products.
If you’ve made it this far then I don’t need to convince you that surveys can be instrumental and growing your business more quickly.
This guide has gone through multiple survey topics and ideas and given you insights about when and how to use them. Those are just tips and tricks, in the end, your goals will determine the surveys that’ll have the biggest impact on your business.