The key to learning how to write headlines that clotheslines readers and drags them into your copy is knowing who your reader is.
That’s what I said yesterday to which Brad Holland asked, “Got any tips on how to find out who my readers are?”
Here are four free survey tools, and even a little advice on running a successful survey. Enjoy.
Your Blog’s Comment Section
If you want to know who is reading your blog, simply ask in a blog post. Then let your readers reply in the comments.
It helps if you tell them what to do: “Tell me three things: what you do for a living, what you want to accomplish in your career and life and why you’re reading this blog.”
When you give guidelines like that it makes their answers specific. Plus, it gives suggestions to the person who might otherwise not know how to reply.
If you want to be a little formal and analytical, create a survey. There are at least three great options for doing this.
Right smack dab in that beautiful, free browser-based document management software is a tool that you can use to create HTML forms. And don’t let the price tag fool you into thinking these are pawn store type forms.
Think more like Target.
An abundance of themes and seven question styles will give your survey a robust, professional feel. Heck, even Chris Brogan uses it on his contact page. I’ve also used it with great success.
On the back-end, you can automatically send results to a spreadsheet connected to the survey and even see the data in graphs and charts. It’s pretty snazzy stuff.
Zoomerang is a free online survey software tool that boasts two million satisfied users, including hotshots like Southwest Airlines and P&G.
I really like the support that Zoomerang offers: training, demos and tutorials. Don’t miss out on the videos and instructional blog posts, along with frequent Zoomerang-sponsored surveys that give you a pulse on such topics like “social media adoption across the U.S.”
No doubt, most of the robust perks come when you upgrade, but the free version is sufficient enough to help you reach your goal of learning more about your readers.
Probably the oldest online survey software, Survey Monkey is also the tool I’m most familiar with. I’ve been running surveys through SM since 2002.
You can also choose from basic plans that are free and premium plans that cost a pretty penny [but won’t bankrupt you].
Word has it that Shelia Normile, market researcher at Facebook, even uses it. How about that for an endorsement?
How to Guarantee Good Survey Results
For the most part, people love to give input. That’s why “word on the street” type interviews are so popular.
Public polls punch our self-interest button pretty hard.
What that means to you is you may not need to incentivize your survey to get reader response. However, if you want to maximize reader response, incentivizing is the way to go.
If you’ve got money to burn, give away a book or a $10 iTunes. Tell your readers that every survey response equals an entry into the contest.
If you’re a tight wad like me, tell people you’re going to publish the results AND share some of the primo responses on a future blog post. People like the idea of seeing their name published. [Isn’t it amazing how much you can do with self-interest?]
What’s your experience with surveys? What’s your favourite tool? Why? Did I miss any? Got any other questions about running surveys?
Let me know if the comments. Look forward to hearing from you.