One of the foundations of Smart Marketing is you need to
know what your customers want and expect from you. If you don’t know, how can
you deliver it?
You can’t. The best you can do is guess, which is what
most businesses do (though they’d never admit it).
So, how do you discover what you customers want and
It’s easy. Ask them. Not just once either. You need to
make it an ongoing part of your business. And you need to do it in a way that
provides accurate information. (That’s the hard part.)
Here are a few things I’ve learned about
getting effective feedback from people.
1. Make it easy to respond.
Use a format or medium they like. With many people in my
network email works well. People can hit “reply” and fire back a response right
2. Tell them it will be fast and be specific.
Earlier this year I sent an email to a small group of
people. The subject line said this:
“8 second question from Kevin Stirtz…”
I was amazed at how quickly most people responded. And
these are busy, successful, on-the-go people. But because I made it clear this
was a quick question, the response was great. (And yes it really
was an 8 second question!)
3. Ask for their opinion.
People like to help. And we love to give our opinions. I
usually feel flattered when someone I respect asks my opinion. Make it clear
that’s all you want.
4. Make your question simple and short.
Make sure they can read your question in under 10
seconds. Make sure it’s crystal clear – no room for misunderstanding. Asking
“either or” questions is good. “Do you prefer A or B?”
Let people know they have they option of offering a
longer answer if they want but make it clear you don’t expect any more than a
short, quick response.
5. Use terms they’ll understand.
Don’t use jargon and industry terms unless your audience
expects them. Cast your question in a context or frame your audience will find
natural and familiar.
For example, if I am looking for feedback on book titles,
I’d send a question to people who read books and those who write books.
6. Have a reason to contact them.
Contacting complete strangers who have no idea why you’re
asking them questions will probably produce poor results. Have a legitimate
connection with whom you contact. It shows them you’ve thought out what you’re
doing and they’ll feel their input is more valuable.
7. Thank them.
I know it seems silly to even say this but many people
never thank others for their time. Thank people again and again when they help
you. It goes a long way toward building a relationship and it’s the right thing