A few weeks ago I talked about using surveys to find out what people want from you. Well, with two months left in the year (how did that happen?!), it’s time to start thinking about publishing an annual reader survey. People tend to send them out in December, but I wanted to share this post now so you can send out your survey in November, which will give you a little time to use the results to plan for 2015.
As I said before, I like to ask a lot of questions. So today I’d like to share 5 of my favorite questions to use in reader surveys!
1. Identify one goal.
Ok, so this obviously isn’t a question, but make sure you have a goal in mind for your survey, and include the right questions to get to that goal. For example, let’s say you’re thinking about getting more active on Facebook. Are your readers even on Facebook? Ask them. Or maybe you want to explore a new topic on your blog. Ask readers if they are interested in learning more about that topic, or what questions they might have. Or give them a multiple choice of future blog post topics and see what interests them.
2. Which of the following describes you?
This is a multiple choice question I like to use to make sure that my audience is actually who I think they are, and to give more weight to answers from people who best fit my target audience. For example, I used this when I wanted to write more about business topics and learn what people were interested in reading. So I asked people if they owned a business, had a blog for their business, and whether they worked on their business full-time or as a side hustle.
3. What is one goal you want to accomplish in the next month?
Get more specific with this question based on what you write about or the services you offer in your business. For example, I usually ask people to tell me a goal for their website. Let’s say you write a DIY blog — you could ask your readers one DIY goal they have. Once you know what your readers want to accomplish, you can work backwards from there and come up with post topics to walk them through accomplishing that goal.
4. What are your biggest frustrations?
Again, get more specific based on your topic. I ask readers what their biggest frustrations are when it comes to their website. People love talking about their problems. They probably have something they can’t figure out right now that you can easily answer in a blog post. And it’s probably something that is so second-nature to you that you wouldn’t even think to address it! Ask this instead of “what would you like to see on my blog?” It puts the focus on them, and they’ll have a lot more to say.
5. One thing I wish you’d discuss more thoroughly is… and if I’m being totally honest, one specific critique I have is…
For some reason, it seems to be easier for people to give constructive criticism when you turn it into a fill-in-the-blank response instead of a question. I’ve asked the “what do you think could be improved?” question, and 9/10 people say “nothing!” or “you’re doing great!” Your readers don’t want to hurt your feelings. I think structuring it as a fill-in-the-blank sentence instead shows that you are open to constructive criticism.
And speaking of surveys… it’s time for Elembee’s reader survey! This one is a bit longer than my usual surveys, so as a thank you, I’m offering a free download of my brand discovery journal at the end of the survey. (Update: the survey is closed — thank you so much for your responses!)
P.S. Ready to send out your own reader survey? I’m also sharing how to create a reader survey on my email list this Sunday, be sure to sign up below for more!