“To be or not to be, that is the question.” But is it even the right question? I took statistics in college and I learned some useful information about questions that I use in my inbound marketing business. This information is good for any business person. The steps that I am sharing with you today are how to conduct marketing research. I am not going to give you a lot of information on any of the steps because I think we all need to see the big picture before getting down to specifics.
I do especially want to call your attention to one of the things I learned in those stat classes that has turned into one of my pet peeves. Step 3 says to pay attention to how you ask the question. Our teacher liked to compare an improperly worded question to “How long has it been since you stopped beating your wife?” If you never did that, you don’t have a wife or you are a woman, there isn’t a way to respond to it. I have often been stopped cold while filling out a questionnaire by questions that aren’t answerable. With paper questionnaires I have actually written all over the paper. You can’t do that with one online. For that reason, it’s a good idea to make sure your questions are impartial, well-stated, spelled properly and grammatically correct. Do your beta testing before you launch.
Here are the 6 steps
Step 1: Having a Clear Goal: Have a clear goal of understanding who your customers are and what drives their behaviors.
Step 2: Asking the Right Questions: Don’t over-do a questionnaire so that you don’t discourage customers from taking the survey in the first place. Make sure you are asking the right questions. Objective facts are things that don’t change and the subjective state is made up of opinion/attitude.
- A/B Questions (True or False, Yes or No)
- Multiple Choice (Radio Button or Drop Down): Allows only one answer
- Multiple Choice (Checkbox): Allows more than one answer
- Interval Scale: Scale of 1 to 5, don’t go 1 to 10. At least use an odd number to have a neutral center.
- Ranking Scale: Put things in order from 1 to 5.
- Open Ended Textbox: Not a good idea. People balk. Hard to analyze
Step 3: Pay Attention to How You Ask the Questions
- The Misleading Data Dilemma: Don’t lead the questioner in the direction you want.
- Avoid Bundling: Ask question of only one item at a time.
- Don’t Get Too Personal: Enough said
Step 4: Test, Test and Retest Your Survey: Do not launch a survey and then go back and change the way a question is worded because it will entirely change the way the analysis is conducted. Pre-test among family, friends, coworkers before the launch.
Step 5: Create Incentives and Minimize Friction: Length of time is called friction. Find out how long the survey takes and be honest about it. Incentives like a coupon motivate participation.
Step 6: Avoiding Analysis Paralysis: Don’t forget what the questions where that you needed answered and instead allow the numbers take over.
- How Do We Organize All That Data? Visually is typically the best way. Be sure it’s not misleading by using the right kind of chart.
- Pie Charts: Make them add up to 100%. Good for different segments and contributions
- Bar Graphs: Really effective when it comes to seeing the results of multiple choice questions
- Line Charts: Aren’t typically used because they’re used to measure responses over time.
- Crosstab Reports: Are an advanced skill for analysis. A crosstab will tell you a correlation between two factors.
This information would make a great infographic. Too bad I don’t have time to turn it into one. The main point is that you need to do this kind of research so you know what kind of help your clients need. With that information, you might change the focus of your business, create different ways you use your blog and social media, or go from a good business to a great one.
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.