It is a foolish small or medium-sized business owner that doesn’t invest in market research – into the demand for their products or services and customer satisfaction alike. Without a good grasp of your market and without sufficient customer feedback, a small business is going to join the ranks of those that fail in their first three years. Some of the most powerful tools for ascertaining your enterprise’s ranking in the marketplace are online surveys, with the online survey sector itself growing fast. Here are seven reasons why they’re worth their weight in gold:
- Instant customer feedback. There are few things more important to a small business than customer feedback, as this is the major driver to improve both its products and its customer service. Online surveys allow customers to let you know how they feel at their leisure, without feeling pressure from sales staff – and thus giving your business a more honest appraisal.
- Accuracy. Research shows that online surveys are generally highly accurate – thanks partly to the aforementioned lack of pressure felt by respondents. They are particularly accurate when it comes to appraising online businesses or an enterprise’s online facilities.
- From data to content. If you have an online marketing strategy making use of emails and newsletters, then online surveys give you a great opportunity – to transform the data harvested by the surveys into such content as blog posts, infographics, graphs or charts.
- Building relationships. As part of a joined-up marketing strategy, online surveys are the perfect opportunity to establish an ongoing relationship with the customer. While you have their attention, why not ask if they want to sign up to your newsletter or to receive promotional emails?
- Savings in every direction. They are not just cost effective in terms of their reach – far less expensive to undertake than postal surveys or interview-based market research, for instance – but also capable of delivering incalculable savings compared to the business disasters that the wrong decisions can create. Which leads us to…
- The wisdom of crowds. Online surveys are not just good for finding out what customers think of existing products or services, they also make a great crowd sourcing tool for new ideas and to test the water for business decisions such as re-branding and marketing of new products. These sorts of online surveys represent the best of market democracy.
- The two-way mirror. Surveys don’t just have to be about passively receiving customer opinions. By listing your products’ features and asking respondents to list them in order of importance, for instance, you can also help associate your product with these features in their mind, reinforcing its positive attributes.
So if you haven’t invested into survey tools yet, it’s time to start 2013 on the right note.