By: Maraea Skeen

Questions and Answers: How to Use Forms and Surveys for Marketing

November 1, 2017 8 minutes

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Focus groups and market research have been the poster children for where to ask questions for marketing purposes. Things have changed a bit in the digital age. We have websites, emails, social media and various other media where we can now catch visitors and potential customers to get more information about them. This shift to the digital has given online forms and surveys a great place to flourish and help your business to grow.

When utilizing forms and surveys, it’s important to follow a few best practices so that you get valuable, useful data to use in your marketing efforts. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering forms and surveys:

What questions can I ask?

You can ask your visitors whatever questions you’d like. Just keep in mind that each additional question can increase the risk of survey fatigue or abandoning your site altogether.

The key is to figure out a solid plan for marketing to your visitors, then craft questions that fit within that plan. Another key is making sure you’re not prying so far as to scare them away from answering. The number and detail of the questions you’re asking should match the value of what you’re offering in exchange for answers. People won’t give up much information for a 20% off coupon, but they may be much more forthcoming in exchange for a free training course.

  • Stick to the absolute necessities when asking questions in forms and surveys.
  • Only ask questions that you have a plan for.
    • Where does the answer fit into your marketing plan?
    • What will you use the data for?

What can I do with the data?

Depending on the questions you ask, you’ll get a range of data back from your visitors. Names, emails, addresses, salaries, etc. Your Privacy Policy will dictate what you can use this data for.

You have some flexibility since your organization writes the policy, but it’s key to keep in mind what a reasonable person would be okay with. In order to use the data as stated in your Privacy Policy, you must mention the policy in the form fill and get the visitor’s consent or acknowledgement of the policy.

  • Be clear in your intentions with the data,
  • Anything farfetched or sketchy, even if stated in the Privacy Policy, will upset visitors and can cause problems.

How will forms help me with my CRM?

Forms and surveys, if done right, can help you create an extremely useful CRM. This takes planning, but it can be done! The questions you ask will dictate the fields in your CRM. This can get really messy if you don’t plan it out ahead of time.

  • Decide on a naming convention for the information you’re getting from customers.
  • Make sure you’re using the same field name if you’re getting the same data from multiple surveys.
  • Structure questions in a way that is easy to understand and answer.
  • Structure your answer format so that the output is easy to understand in your CRM.
  • Utilize data validation and conditional logic in your surveys to keep your data and your CRM clean.

How can I incorporate forms into my website and marketing efforts?

  • Build an Email List: Forms are an excellent way of initiating a relationship with a website visitor. By offering something of value to your visitors, you can get them to fill out a form that will put them into your CRM or an email marketing list. A piece of content or a coupon are common tradeoff for a name and email address. Higher value offerings like a full eBook or a training course can warrant a higher value form fill asking for more information from the visitor.
  • Segment your CRM: Once you begin to engage those visitors on your list, you can send them to more forms or surveys where you can hone in your profile of those customers. As you build more of a relationship, you can ask more questions. The more information you get, the better you can market to their individual needs and preferences.
  • Track Purchase Behavior: When you’ve converted your visitors to customers, you can use your purchase and checkout forms to track which items they have purchased. Cataloguing this behavior allows you to further segment your CRM and suggest complementary products that fit with their preferences.
  • Customer Retention: After purchases, you can use forms and surveys to make sure that your customers had a good experience. Common uses are NPS or customer satisfaction surveys. These follow-up requests will help you to guarantee that your customers will come back to you the next time they need to make a purchase. Even if something went poorly with their experience, following up gives you the opportunity to make it right and win their business again and again.

Forms and surveys are extremely useful for learning about your customers and marketing to them more effectively. While it may be intimidating to see how much planning goes into the successful use of forms and surveys, I can assure you it will be worth it. Information is extremely powerful, and where better to get your information than straight from your customers?

Written by Maraea Skeen on November 1, 2017

Maraea is a marketer at 97th Floor specializing in conversion rate optimization and franchise marketing.

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