Surveys are notorious, from both sides of the subject…
As someone who gets at least a survey per week in my mail, I respond to very few of them. Sometimes it’s because I’m just plain busy when I first see it, and it feels like a drag on my time (the DELETE key is so very tempting…). Other times it comes from a source I almost never hear from, so I wonder why (s)he wants me to give them input now, when I’ve gotten so little from them of value to date. However, when I do respond, it is usually to a person or organization from whom I’ve gotten some kind of value over time, it is tightly proscribed (that is, won’t take longer than a couple of minutes to complete….), and concerns topics that I care about.
As a business owner and blogger, I take these motivations and concerns into account when creating surveys. During the month of November I ran a survey for those who subscribe to my newsletter and regularly read my blog. The single question was:
What are the topics you wish to learn more about to help you in your business?
I listed six topic areas:
- Developing Strategies (Business, Marketing, Goals, Objectives) and Executing Them
- Late-Breaking Digital Marketing Topics (content marketing, blogging, video, media mix, influencer marketing)
- Cognitive Processes in Business (Mindfulness, Crisis Management, Leadership)
- Business Dialogue and Building Relationships with Customers and Others
- Social Media How-Tos (Facebook Business Page, Audience Insights tools, Different channels like Instagram and Pinterest)
- Web Site Insights (impact of color, visuals, optimizations, update frequency, SEO)
…and provided an open text area for a optional question:
If you have a Big Question you’d like to see more about, please enter it here!
I got an 11% response rate, which I feel pretty good about.
Here are the listed topics again, with the percentages of preference, highest listed first:
- Social Media How-Tos (Facebook Business Page, Audience Insights tools, Different channels like Instagram and Pinterest) – 78%
- Developing Strategies (Business, Marketing, Goals, Objectives) and Executing Them – 61%
- Business Dialogue and Building Relationships with Customers and Others – 61%
- Late-Breaking Digital Marketing Topics (content marketing, blogging, video, media mix, influencer marketing) – 56%
- Web Site Insights (impact of color, visuals, optimizations, update frequency, SEO) – 50%
- Cognitive Processes in Business (Mindfulness, Crisis Management, Leadership) – 45%
Here are a few of the answers to the optional question that warrant further study and more writing in the coming year:
- “Love to hear / read / see real life stories, examples, behind the scenes profiles about how all of the above is being applied by biz owners and their teams right here in the West Sound region and beyond.”
- “Which social media platform actually reaches buyers?”
- “My Big Question is: what to do first?! I’ve been running my home organization business for about 4 years and have just been running it on my own.”
- “What strategies do other successful agencies use? What’s the ONE IMPORTANT THING I should be focused on related to digital marketing?”
So why am I sharing all this data with you?
First, to acknowledge those of you who took part in the survey. What you told me has already impacted my content plan for the year (the articles “STORY: A Must-Have for Your Facebook Business Page” and “Where Should I Be? – The Case for Facebook“ are both written with your feedback solidly in my sights!).
Secondly, to let you in on some of my thinking about what you’ve told me. Social Media How-Tos came in at the most requested topic. I certainly understand that…..figuring out how to most effectively utilize this ever-evolving set of tools and capabilities for your business is tough, and can be time-consuming. That said, as you probably already know, the Internet is jammy-packed with social media how-tos (I believe the official number is “whop-tillion” at last count….). But how many of these are current, and will really work for you and your business? It’s hard to tell without reading through most of them yourself…and NO ONE has that much free time….(that’s why I have a monthly “Best of…” article for you. Read those and you’ll be good…).
Being a solo-preneur and working with many small businesses, my value-add to this particular topic area is to provide you with specific How-Tos, aimed at the swamped small business owner. I intend to:
- Keep listening to my colleagues and clients as they ask me about the challenges of working with their digital marketing.
- Abstract the essence of recurring problems they have, and coaching I provide for them, and write about that (if it’s an issue for them, it probably is for you too…) in a practical way.
Tied for second place in the topic cloud were Developing Strategies and Business Dialogue. This tells me that we all struggle with the “meta” aspect of our businesses, and with all of the various interactions we have (or TRY to have…) with our VACC (Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community) (If you’d like a listing of some of my articles about your VACC, you can find it here.) Still, focus for you will be on how this looks for businesses like ours, given the kinds of resources we work with and goals we have.
The last three topics I will write about a little less frequently, even though the least favorite one still came in at 45%! This tells me that all of these topics are of interest, but some are more so.
The specific questions I received I intend to research and write about throughout the year. The more I think about a few of them, the more they look like questions that deserve a series of posts, or even a white paper. I have a lot of work to do!!
So, that’s the plan.
Look for information you can use for your business with the specific slant on the kinds of businesses YOU have. I won’t be writing about agencies, high-priced tools, or super-resource-intensive projects (unless it can REALLY MOVE THE NEEDLE for you…..).
One last thing: If you have a question or a topic that just doesn’t seem to be in this wheelhouse for some reason, let me know. Don’t wait for the next survey!