Using Surveys at Every Stage of the Buying Funnel Jessica Lunk The more that you can customize your content and recommendations to your audience, the better chance you have of guiding that audience down the sales pipeline. And even in the age of data-driven marketing, where every tidbit of information related to consumer behavior is mined, tracked, and analyzed, sometimes the best way to learn what you need to know is just to ask.Prospect and consumer surveys are powerful tools for marketing agencies. When used to their full potential, surveys give you reliable insights into what your leads are looking for and what their pain points are. Surveys can also point out flaws in your strategy, or lead you in new directions that you hadn’t otherwise anticipated.The key to getting as much actionable insight as possible out of your surveys is designing them in such a way that your customers — both current and potential — are inspired to not just click on the survey link but to follow through with completing it. In this article, we’ll go over the makings of a strong survey, plus ten types of marketing surveys that you should consider working in to your outreach strategy.What Makes a Good Marketing Survey?A poorly designed survey can be a turn off for customers and a waste of time for your marketing team. It’s important then to design your survey in a way that’s optimized for grabbing (and holding on to) attention. Here are some survey best practices you can follow to make your surveys shine:Keep it short. The average person has an attention span of just eight seconds. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to keep customers engaged with your survey. Let your customers know off the bat how long the survey will take, and aim to keep it as succinct as possible — otherwise you risk responders ending up as part of the 80% who abandon surveys halfway through. As an ideal, aim for the survey to take three minutes or less to complete.Understand how you will analyze results. To get the most out of your survey, think about how you ask your questions. Open-ended questions can be valuable for capturing new insights. However, it can be difficult to sort and analyze written responses. Multiple choice questions, on the other hand, give you a uniform set of data that you can draw conclusions from pretty quickly.Offer something in return. The information you glean from marketing surveys is valuable, so why not pay for it through some sort of customer incentive? Adding on an incentive — such as 5% off a customer’s next order or a free e-book — will almost certainly get you more responses. It can also help facilitate future conversions.As a bonus, many survey platforms, like SurveyMonkey, have built-in tools that make it easy to design surveys.10 Types of Marketing Surveys to Try OutAll stages of the buying funnel stand to benefit from a well-placed, well-designed customer survey.Use them in the awareness stage to qualify leads and learn more about what they’re looking for in a product or service solution.In the consideration phase, surveys can help you parse out what product or service features are big selling points and which could use some tweaking on their appeal.At the decision stage, use marketing surveys to push potential customers toward a conversion, such as scheduling a free demo. You could also learn valuable information about what other options they’re considering and what sets you apart.And in the post-purchase stage, surveys are invaluable for retaining leads and getting feedback on how and where your efforts succeeded.There are many types of surveys, and many of them have value in more than one stage of the funnel. Market Inquiry Surveys. Broadly focused surveys that help you hone in on general market trends and where you stand in relation to your competitors. Pricing & Value Surveys. Insight into what customers are actually willing to pay for your product or service. Customer Profiling Surveys. Narrow down your customer personas, including demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, interests, and more. Customer Service Surveys. Evaluate the customer service experience, including solution provided and process to get there. Funnel Tracking Surveys. Figure out where leads are in the buying funnel and what they need to move forward. Attitudes and Expectations Surveys. Determine whether the product or service you are offering meets customer expectations before and after purchase, as well as general customer attitudes about your company. Customer Retention Surveys. Post-purchase focused survey regarding what went into the decision process, satisfaction with purchase, and what a customer is looking for in order to purchase again. New Product Concept Surveys. Test drive new product or service ideas to see if they meet customer preferences and expectations in terms of purpose and value. Product Fulfillment Surveys. Determine whether customers felt their expectations were met based on advertising, packaging, and the product itself. Media and Message Surveys. Deduce how well your marketing efforts — including PPC ads, social media, email marketing, etc. — succeeded in their intended purposes.Where to Get Survey RespondentsNow that you have the perfectly designed marketing survey, you need to get it into the hands of your survey takers. Depending on the aim of your survey, there are many creative places to find respondents. Your WebsiteIf you want to find out more about the people coming to your website, your website can be the perfect place to gather data. You can create an in-line call-to-action to take a survey on specific pages of your website. A survey exit pop-up is another great way to ask for feedback before visitors bounce from your website. EmailEmail is the best way to reach people who you already have contact info for. Many email marketing platforms, like Benchmark, even have built-in surveys you can send to your list. Trying to reach a more segmented audience, like current customers or prospects in a specific industry? Hatchbuck’s CRM is ideal for this. You can easily select a segment of contacts and send your survey in an email in just a few clicks. In PersonMost survey software tools have a “kiosk” mode that will let you collect survey responses even if you aren’t online. Gather survey responses anywhere you have foot traffic – like your office, a tradeshow or a conference. Invest in a PanelPerforming market research? Need to reach a specific segment of people that you don’t have access to? Tools like SurveyGizmo and Pollfish offer services that will send your survey to a specific audience that meets your requirements.With all marketing surveys, be sure to track not just the responses you get but the open rate and completion rate. Those data points will help you optimize your survey design and display to maximize the utility of your efforts.