Step One: Easy, Quick Research
Especially around the Christmas season, what people end up being most short of is
time. If yours is a B2B site, offering any sort of client services, decide how you can best save your clients time and simplify something for them.
If you can supply something that saves time – simply – you'll also accomplish a third goal dear to their hearts: You'll reduce your client's holiday stress.
Sit back with a nice hot cup of chocolate or cider, and do your best to visualize what your client is doing at this season.
But don't just brainstorm – take action on it, right away. Put your ideas out there and actually ask your target market.
Here are three quick ways to do so…
- a)Create a simple survey.
- Signing up for a free Survey Monkey account by far constitutes the easiest way to create a quick survey to post:
- On Facebook, Twitter and your other social networks
- In your YouTube videos as an Annotation (in-video link); or as a link in your Description
- On your website in a blog post or text widget
- In forums (where allowed); or in your own
- In membership sites (where allowed); or in your own
Yes, you can use WordPress Facebook Poll plugins and Facebook Apps – but Survey Monkey lets you create your survey once – then share the link wherever you like. (What's more, even with a free survey, you can add a graphic!)
You can customize your Surveys, apply filters and color themes, use templates and see your results in graph form – all for free. And it's a simple, three-step process:
It's worthwhile upgrading to a paid plan, however: You can brand your surveys with your own logos, collect more detailed data (as well as email addresses) and much more. (Plans start at around $19.00 per month.)
You do need to know, however: If you go with the free option, Survey Monkey will place a discreet ad within your survey announcement.
Your actual surveys will still look professional – but keep it simple for maximum response. Try creating:
- A one-question with multiple-choice, radio-button answers
- Add a graphic and a simple “Thank you" for a Christmas card effect.
This is an example of what such a quick-and-easy survey might look like to the respondents:
If you're sticking with the free option, check your survey responses at Survey Monkey (by clicking on the “My Surveys" tab and then on the hyperlink to the survey you created) within an hour of each post to each venue.
The reason? You don't have the detailed analysis options available in the free version, and you want to be able to see exactly where your responses came from.
If you post to separate venues (e.g. Facebook) one at a time and check your responses within the hour, you can still gain a fairly accurate picture, since something like ninety percent of all survey responses on social networks happen within the first hour (often the first fifteen minutes) – unless you “Promote Your Post", for example.
Even with the free version, Survey Monkey returns clear and concise results:
It always pays to research before you spend time in product creation – most often because we excited entrepreneurs need our over-eager assumptions to be shot down by the cold arrows of reality!
Assumptions are one of the biggest causes of launch fizzles: Without hard research, too many people pour their heart and souls into creating products that nobody wants.
For example, say you brainstormed up a great idea for providing Holiday Theme Graphics and Template packages – then you ran the survey that produced the exact results on the previous page.
The survey results actually:
- Confirmed that 60% thought saving time was a priority
- Demonstrated that the same 60% majority wanted Holiday Theme blog posts the most
As for your original idea, there was only a 20% call for Holiday Theme Graphics – and none at all for Holiday Theme Templates. (Wow: You dodged a bullet there by not investing your time in those Graphics and Template packages.)
That's the value of research in action!
- b)Email your list
- You can expand your research by asking your list's opinions too, if you have one. Just send a straightforward broadcast email to all your list segments saying “What can I do to help you this Christmas?" in the subject line.
- Inside, provide a link to your Survey, and be sure to lay out clearly what they can expect in return. (Be specific.)
- Some suggestions:
- “If you answer, I will send you [insert your specific bonus gift] as a token of my appreciation, [XX] days after [deadline date for responses]."
- “If you reply using the link below, you will receive your personal download link for [an incentive gift]."
- “If you answer using the link below, you will be mailed a [XX%] off discount coupon for [product name]."
And – most important – ask your subscribers to share your Survey link.
Of course, you don't have to provide a gift. But even if you are simply asking and relying on their goodwill, or offering them an incentive such as “the more people who respond, the better able I will be to produce the products you really want", consider sending a small “surprise" thank you gift anyway.
(Include the download link in your “Thank you" email.)