Making big decisions or implementing big changes in your business can be scary. No one – including you – knows whether it’s the “right” decision or the “right” change to make.
How to Survey Your Audience for Big Results
But it doesn’t have to be all on you.
When you survey your audience, you open the doors for the best input and feedback you could ever receive.
That’s why in late 2017 when John and I were chatting about our big goals and the changes we’d be making in the year ahead in order to accomplish those goals, we decided to put together a survey for Fire Nation.
The changes for Entrepreneurs On Fire
Given the big goals we set for 2018, we knew there would be some big changes we’d have to make in the business.
For example, one of our big goals was to take another epic trip in the Fall – like we did last year when we visited New Zealand, Australia, and London. (You can check out our trip diary here!)
Another goal was to simplify the Entrepreneurs On Fire ecosystem – meaning, how can we leverage the content we already have – and put the knowledge we have on what our audience struggles with the most to work – in order to give Fire Nation ONE path to follow when they visit the website?
A couple of BIG changes we’re making in order to accomplish both of these goals is:
- Scaling back on the Entrepreneurs On Fire podcast (instead of daily, it will twice weekly)
- We hired a Marketing Consultant and Ops Manager (to help us focus in on how to accomplish a very dialed-in ecosystem)
These are just a couple of the big changes we announced to our audience before asking them to share their feedback via the survey we created. But more on our survey in a few minutes…
How to survey your audience
I first want to dive into the step-by-step of how we did it, so that if you’re thinking about creating a survey for your audience, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Then, I’ll wrap up by sharing what we learned from the results of our audience survey after sharing some of the big changes coming up for Entrepreneurs On Fire.
Putting together a survey for your audience is a lot simpler than it seems in terms of the tech, but there are a few things that can’t be missed if you want to be able to leverage the information you get back.
1. Know your goal
Any time you’re creating anything in your business, there should be a clear goal tied to it – otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
Surveys are no different.
What is it that you’re looking to get from the survey?
- New ideas / feedback
- User insights
Make sure you have a clear goal set and remind yourself of that goal as you start to create your survey.
2. Ask the right questions
Now that you have a clear goal for why you want to survey your audience, it should be fairly easy to come up with the questions that will help you accomplish that goal.
However, be sure you’re choosing wisely when it comes to multiple choice or free-form answers. A good way to start the determination process is by asking whether you’re looking for validation or for new ideas and feedback.
If you’re looking for validation on something that already exists, or that you’ve already decided on, then you’ll likely want to go multiple choice: there is already a set outcome, and you’re just trying to figure out whether your audience agrees with you.
Also consider adding an “other” option to your multiple choice if you want your audience to be able to type their own answer in (this can be very informative and still get you the validation you’re looking for).
If you’re looking for new ideas and feedback, then you’ll likely go free-form: you don’t want to put words in your audiences mouth, so allow them to share what their feedback is with you in their own words without being influenced in any way.
It’s good to have a variety of questions – both multiple choice and free-form.
3. The extras
When you’re super focused on the goal of your survey and making sure you ask the right questions, it can be easy to forget some of the extras that aren’t necessarily required in order to accomplish your survey’s goal.
The extras are more of a nice to have versus a need to have, but can definitely add a lot of great info to your knowledge bank when it comes to knowing your audience.
A few examples include:
- Email (in case you want to reach out to them after)
- An open-ended “feedback” question (for example, “Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience with ________?”)
The extras shouldn’t be required questions; their purpose is to get you additional information about your audience if you can.
That said, it will depend on the type of survey you’re putting together as to whether some or all of these types of questions are required. For example, if your survey is the first part of a bigger research project, and you’re choosing to take people on to the second level of that project based on their answers, then you’ll need to know their name and contact info in order to get in touch with.
4. Encourage action
You’ve done a ton of work up to this point to put your survey together and make sure it’s set up to get you the results you want. (We’ll talk about the actual tech and setup behind it in just a minute.)
Now, it’s time to call your audience to action!
Once our survey was complete, we did a few things to encourage action from Fire Nation:
- Wrote a blog post about the changes we were making, and had the call to action be for those reading to take the survey and let us know what they thought
- Recorded an episode on Entrepreneurs On Fire about the changes, and had the call to action be for those listening to take the survey
- Rebroadcast that episode on Kate’s Take, and had the call to action be for those listening to take the survey
- Talked about it in our March 2018 Income report – with the same call to action
- Wrote this post here sharing our experience with creating a survey for our audience, and we’d love it if you’d check it out and submit your feedback, too!
- John created Episode 2,000 around the survey results so we could share them with you!
- Sent an email to our audience with a call to action to take the survey
- Posted on social media about the survey being available
There are several ways you can get the word out about your survey. It’s up to you to decide what the best ways to reach your audience are.
5. Do something with it
Once you’ve surveyed your audience and gathered enough responses, make sure you actually do something with the information!
It’s easy to put in a ton of work upfront, then feel exhausted by it, and finally, kind of forget that you did all of that for a specific reason.
Make sure you’re taking the time to go through the answers and really digest what your audience has told you through your survey.
The language they use and the insights they’ve shared could mean huge things for the continuous improvement of your business – and their experience with you and your brand.
They’ve taken the time to provide you with feedback; the least you can do is answer that feedback with improvements on whatever topic you were bringing to the forefront.
And don’t be afraid to be flexible. Based on the feedback you received, what are some tweaks or changes you can make – ones that you didn’t necessarily think about before – that could make a big different for your audience?
The tech behind creating a survey
There are several different options when it comes to quiz and survey software, and one that we’ve been using for several years now that is easy to setup and FREE is Google Forms.
It’s a part of the Google Drive suite, and setting up a survey has literally never been so easy. It’s what we used to create the survey we’ve been talking about throughout this post, which you can check out here.
You can choose different formats for your questions (multiple choice vs. free form); you can create descriptions for your questions; you can make them required; you can add the “other” option… the list goes on.
However, there are certain limitations depending on how in-depth you want to go with your quiz or survey. For example, with Google Forms you don’t have any logic options, so if you want to take people down one path if they answer a questions a certain way, and others down another path, you’d have to use a different software.
Each has their own pro’s and con’s, so it really comes down to how you want your survey to look, and whether there are other mandatories for you, like integrations.
Fire Nation Survey
I mentioned earlier that we recently created a survey for Fire Nation to get their feedback and input on some big changes coming up for Entrepreneurs On Fire.
We not only wanted to get validation for those changes, but we were also curious to discover some things about our audience that we’ve always assumed were true, but that we’d never actually surveyed them about.
Here’s what we found out after just a few days of receiving responses…
It was really interesting to see that this pie was split pretty equally.
The biggest takeaway for us right now is that we’ve done a pretty good job of continuing to be relevant: we’ve had a significant increase in listeners every single year.
However, another thing for us to consider and look deeper into is the fact that the two smallest pieces of this pie are the listeners who have been with us since the beginning, and our brand new listeners.
These are the types of things you should be looking for in your audiences responses – and then, figure out how you can leverage that knowledge to improve.
This was a really tough question to ask, and honestly, a lot of the responses were sort of hard to read.
BUT, we are so incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support and excitement for this huge change, and we look forward to delivering!
Plus, having this be the next question put everything into perspective…
Fire Nation, you’re AMAZING!
I wanted to include this question and the graph of responses because this is a question we asked as a multiple choice (we already knew there were four definite outcomes), but we also wanted to give our audience a chance to tell us what their favorite part of Entrepreneurs On Fire is in their own words.
You can see from the graph above that many chose one of the four answers we provided:
- The format
- That it’s JLD
- That’s it’s daily
- The guests!
However, you can also see that over 40 individuals chose “other” (that 1/5 with the arrow pointing down leads to 5 ‘pages’ of results for the “other” option) so they could tell us their favorite part in their own words – and this is priceless knowledge to have.
Survey your audience
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to come up to hundreds – if not thousands – of forks in the road.
Do you go right, or do you go left?
Sometimes the path isn’t that clear, and your decisions end up being made based on any number of things…
- A gut reaction
- What other people think you should do
- Which path is easiest
Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll realize there’s an incredible outcome waiting for you when you survey your audience!