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Create Your Survey

Lesson 21 from: Create a Product Plan & Grow Your Standout Business

Tara McMullin

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Lesson Info

21. Create Your Survey

Next Lesson: Analyze Your Survey

Lesson Info

Create Your Survey

So let's actually create one of these things, 'cause I can talk about it all day long, but until you actually see what it looks like, it's kind of all very conceptual. So here's what to include. I like to start off by asking an open-ended question about the thing I want to learn. Not the thing that they want to learn, the thing I want to learn. So whether that's an obstacle that's in their way, a goal that they have, whatever their most urgent challenge is, I'm asking an open-ended question about that. And then, I use multiple choice questions to ask about other information that will help me analyze those results. So I might add in three or four multiple choice questions, that then's going to allow me to filter through my audience to just find the perfect responses in the survey. I'm gonna show you exactly how I do this. But that's the direction that we're headed. Each multiple choice question can act as a filter for your survey. So let's say you're, well, we'll get there. I'm gonna ge...

t ahead of myself, 'cause I have so much fun with this part of it. But in general, keep it short and sweet unless you're surveying purchasers, and even still, respect their time, respect their energy. They'll give you more, but if it's, if it's your general audience, keep it as short as possible. Only ask that information that you really, really need. And if it's a purchasing audience, still keep it short, but maybe you can ask a little bit more. All right. Let's look at an example here. I'm calling this the Mom Life Survey. Let's say you're a mommy blogger or a coach to moms. Maybe a wellness coach to moms. It could be anything. This could be a survey. (laughs) And I picked moms because I'm a mom, not because I'm mom-centric, so this is just a super-quick survey. It literally should take a customer three minutes or less to answer. The first question here is that open-ended question about the thing that I want to learn. What's the most urgent challenge you have as a mom right now? This is kind of straight out of Brian Leveck's ask method, where he asks about challenges, problems, others' urgencies, top of mind, that kind of thing. There are different kinds of questions that you can ask here. This happens to be a favorite of mine. So what's the most urgent challenge you have as a mom right now? And the answers on this could be anything. Right, like there could be a vast amount of variety in the answers to these questions. So I want to know, where are the patterns? How can I understand better who is having the biggest problems with what? So that's where these multiple choice questions come in. I'm in this case I'm asking how old is your oldest or only child? Because I have a feeling, my hypothesis, is that the challenges of moms change as the age of the child changes. And so I wanna be able to filter, maybe my sweet spot for helping parents is when their child is between the ages of three and five. So I wanna be able to filter down to just the parents who are ages three to five. My work might help people who have kids that are 11 or 13 or older, but I'm really interested in that sweet spot. All of the other answers are outliers. They don't matter as much. They don't matter as much, so I wanna be able to focus on that sweet spot. Which word best describes the area in which you live? Urban, suburban, small town, rural. I have another hypothesis. Maybe the challenges that moms face are different depending on the type of community that they live in. So I might want to filter results based on that. And then last question, do you work inside or outside your home? All moms work. Regardless of whether they get paid for it or not. But I wanna know, are you home? Or are you not home? Because again, I have another hypothesis. Maybe moms' challenges are different whether they're inside the house or outside of the house most of the day. And so the top open-ended question there is the information I want to learn about my customer. And each of the three follow-up questions, the multiple choice questions there, act as filters. It allows me to narrow in on the exact responses that are going to be most helpful to me. It's also, maybe I don't even know which responses are gonna be most helpful, but I can use those filters as ways to spot patterns. What are the differences between urban moms and suburban moms? What are the differences between moms with young kids versus older kids? What are the differences for moms that work inside the home versus outside the home? And so I can start to look at those patterns and adjust my knowledge and my understanding of my target customer based on that information. Make sense? Okay. I'm gonna thrust you guys into the deep end, and we're gonna make one of these things together, so I will bring the flip chart on up here. And I think, Jennifer, since we started talking about what you wanted to learn in your survey, we're gonna create a survey for you on the fly. I will let you stay there. Just so that we can focus on the survey, but remind us who you are, where we can find you online, and then let's dive into the survey. You can find me online at, and what else am I saying? Oh, and where I'm talking about my core offer? Yeah, yeah, what's your core offer? Okay, so right now, I changed it up as of yesterday, and so I am targeting artists, high-end artists, who are looking to move their careers forward and need help in particular with how they, to speak and write more powerfully about their work. Okay, great, so they can get more grants? Yes. Grant applications. Submitted and accepted. Yes, and exhibition offers, things like that. And spend more time in the studio creating the work they want. We went through the whole gambit yesterday, it was great. You changed your offer like 10 minutes in. I know, and I-- And then we were off to the races! And I was a little shocked by that. Not traumatized, but sort of like, oh, well, I did not see that coming. Well, there we go. All right, this is a perfect example, 'cause we're really starting from square one. Right now, you have a lot of assumptions based on really good information that you know about artists. But we need to make sure that they're right. Yeah. And some of this is based on conversations that I have with, like, my accountability buddy, and other folks that are in my artist mastermind group, and just seeing about things, but I'm curious, a little, to dive deeper. I agree. Awesome. So I'm gonna, we're gonna start with you, and then I'd love for other people to chime in, too, just helping Jennifer think through this. What is that one thing you want to learn most as you're starting to develop this core offer? I kind of feel like it's what is your biggest challenge at this point in your career? Okay. And I don't know if that's the right answer, but, because I, I kind of feel like what you were saying when you talked about your clients are interested in marketing and that's kind of what it is, and I don't know if the answer is gonna end up being that they're not making the money they wanna make, or they're not selling enough art, or if it's gonna be other things, but it'll be curious to see. Yeah. You know, it might actually even behoove you, if you don't want people to say, I just need to make more money, like you wanna dive deeper into, you could actually say, aside from making more money, what's your biggest challenge in your career as an artist? Okay, I like that. Yeah. So let's add that. More moola. Okay, what's your biggest challenge in your career as an artist? What's another question that Jennifer should ask as a filter? So we've got our one, open-ended, this is going to be a long form, so, like in whatever survey system you have, this is gonna be a long-form text answer. Give 'em space. Let 'em go nuts. You can even add a description on here that says please be specific and go into as much depth as you'd like. Tell me as much as you'd like me to know. Greg. Yeah, I was wondering, do you wanna tie something back to the grant writing piece. If that's your core offering. And that's a question more than-- Yeah, and that's, I'm still sort of shaping up what I think that core offer would be, but I don't know, I was trying to think about what would be a good multiple choice, you know, do I say, you know, which one of these tasks do you struggle most with, and then maybe, but I don't know if that gets, 'cause when I was looking at yours, it was more of a demographic filter. And so that's where I'm wondering if I need to sort of career filter out people. That's exactly, so that is exactly what I was thinking and I do think Greg's question gets to that. Whether it ends up being one that you stick with, but let's actually form that questions and we'll come over here, or do you have a question about the question? A question about the question. Could a question possibly be, have you written a grant before so you at least know if they've tried it? Yes, exactly. Or how many have you attempted to write? Zero, yeah. Yeah, we could totally do that. So, how many grant applications have you submitted? And then, yeah. Zero to three. Four to six. Seven plus, I don't know. You would know the numbers better than I would, but just as an example there. And then, I might also ask a follow up to that. Have you received any grants, yes or no? One question I would ask is are you a full time artist? I was trying to figure out how to phrase that, if I should do that, or if I even ask, you know, how would you describe where you're at in your career. But that, I think maybe, full time sort of gets in there too. Yeah. I might actually ask the question of, well there's a couple of different ways I think you could do it really well. One would be you make the majority... Just being an artist to pay your bill. You're supporting yourself with your art. Another question that I might ask because I know other revenue streams were interested, interesting to you too, is what percentage of your income comes from selling your art. Yeah, like selling, teaching other. Please fill in the blank. Yeah, I wouldn't have them fill in the blank, only because it makes it more difficult to filter the responses. Okay, so here's my question. What if there... So do I need to prequalify this with a question that's full time or not, because if you have other income streams, are your other income stream teaching, is it, you know, you have a part time job at the coffee shop, I mean. You know, cause there's a difference between things that are, I relate to being part of your art practice and there's other things that are like totally unrelated income streams. But can you just say, related or non-related? Yeah, I mean, I think the easiest way to do that would just be does the majority of the income that you need to live come from you art or art related activities? So, I'm not gonna write all of that out, but let's just write income as a placeholder. Is there anything else you want to learn in terms of just figuring out who the best people to listen to are? I mean, that's essentially what we're doing with the multiple choice questions. Is, this gives us, if you don't know, what the most valuable responses are going to be or who they're gonna be from, which you may not, this gives you an opportunity to look for patterns, but at the other, the flipside of this, it also gives you the opportunity to filter out all of the responses that don't help. All of those outlier responses. So, that's the question of do you have gallery representation, have you had a museum show? Okay, great! Gallery representation. Potentially, you could even make this all one question, cause we're starting to get a little lengthy here, so you could have a multiple choice question that is which of these things do you have in your art business? That's a terrible question, don't ask that. But the idea being, submitted and received grants, have gallery representation, have a museum show. And that definitely gives you a better understanding of where they're at. And you can filter that even by people who answer all three, versus people who answer one, two, or zero. And that would be interesting too. And don't worry, I'm gonna get into what the filtering actually looks like and how that actually happens. Another question that I'll show you, when we do the analysis piece that I sometimes like to ask, is what the actual level of urgency is around a problem. So on a scale from one to 10, how much do you want a solution to this problem? How urgent is fixing this need? How much do you want to hit this goal? Because then I can filter out anyone who answers below like an eight. Cause anyone who doesn't answer an eight or higher, is not gonna buy. They don't care. And, if I get a majority of people saying I don't care about this thing, then I know I should not base my marketing, sales, or product around that thing, make sense? Aleah? It's kind of like when you fill out one of those surveys from a car dealership or like a real estate agent, and they ask you, you know, when you planning to buy? Yes. Now, in the next three months, in the next 12 months, and 12 months, you're like, okay, never mind. They're not, they're putting those in the rolodex, and they're thinking you know, maybe in a year I will follow up with those people. But the people I'm gonna call right now and make an appointment with, are the people who say I'm planning on buying in the next one to three months, right? So you can do, you can use that exact same question. If that's pertinent to you, I'm thinking like for a career coach maybe. If you're a career coach, you might ask people when, what is your goal timeframe for leaving your current job? One to three months, three to six months, six months to 12 months, 12 months or more. And in that case, that might help me even segment my audience to tell me which offer I need to sell to whom. I can't coach you through a career change if you want to make it next week. But maybe I can give you an interviewing guide, you know? And so I might focus then on the people who are three to six months out, just as a for instance. Surveying is so fun. (laughs) And when you do it right, it can be incredibly powerful. But I think most, when I hear from people, oh, I surveyed my audience, but I don't know what to do with it. Or I surveyed my audience, but it really wasn't useful. It's because they didn't do it right, it's because they didn't ask questions that actually give them responses that help them better develop their core offer, or create marketing and sales assets that actually work. And that's the great thing about surveying, is it works both ways. You can better develop your product, and as you're doing so, you can better market and sell your thing to. Which is fabulous. We like doing things that check a lot off the to do list. And surveys is one of them. Anything else, Jennifer, that you want to know? Or would be helpful to you? Or any ideas? Would it be good to ask a question like have you sought help with this? You know, sort of in the past? Yeah, that would be a great question. And then, I might actually throw in a second open ended question and ask what kind of help? Because that's gonna give, especially at the stage you're at, that's gonna give you a better understanding of what the market analysis, and what the market actually looks like so then you can do the analysis. Yeah, so that's a great idea. Yeah, because I don't obviously don't want it to get too big, but, yeah. But it is kind of like, cause also I think to, is this somebody that's been willing to bring people to look at them in the first place? Thank you. You're welcome. Go run that survey. (laughs) Well, it's funny because I actually had made a list of people who I was gonna ask questions, but I hadn't thought about what they were, so now I know what I'm gonna ask them. Yeah, absolutely. So, this applies at scale, like if you're emailing out to a hundred people, a thousand people, however many people you have access to in your database. It also works, or a similar process would work, for interviewing customers. That's one of the things we're gonna talk about in lesson nine, around doing things that don't scale. You need to talk to people. Talk to people on the phone preferably, or in person preferably. Live, not just in email, not just in a survey. So yeah, the same kinds of questions you're gonna want to ask people as well. And in that case, then, if you're having coffee, maybe you bought them lunch, you're having a sit down. Maybe you're just on the phone, you don't have to spend money to do this. Then you can actually ask for more information. So do you have, have you submitted grants, do you have gallery representation, have you done a museum show? Okay, tell me more about that. How did you get that grant? How did you find out about it? What was your process? And the more you get curious about that, the more you learn about what job to be done was, and how they approached it, and all of the different pieces where you might be able to help them, or all of the things that are most important to them are something they need the tool for. So then, again, you're just further refining that core offer and really understanding what your customers need. Cool? What questions do we have? Aleah? Wondering how you typically ask people to do surveys and encourage them to do them? So for example, I have my business business, but then I also have like a networking group, and that one's really easy for me to get people to do, because I say, this is our annual, or semi-annual survey. This helps me determine who our speakers are, where I have the events. So people are like eager to chime in. But on the business side, usually I'm only able to ask one question. Like, I'll be like, send me a reply and answer this one question. That's typically the easiest way for me to get a response. But, I don't know how to approach it, like hey, just fill out this survey, because you feel like answering some questions in your free time. Yeah, so. The bad news is that is actually the best way to ask. Yeah. So, I should say, the incentive for filling out a survey is that you've already done something good for them, or that you've promised that you are in the process of doing something good for them. And all I mean by that, is you've got great blog content, or you have great podcast content, you have great Facebook Live content. You're helping them already. They feel that kind of obligation to you or they want to do you a favor, cause they want you to keep helping them, essentially. It's very selfish, it's a good thing. You're tapping into selfishness. That's always good. And so yeah, you don't want it. Incentivising people to answer a survey gets you worse survey responses. And just like with email subscribers, where more is not necessarily better, more responses on your survey is not necessarily better either. This isn't a double blind sciencey researchy kind of study. This is a survey, where you're looking for information to sell people things. And so don't feel like you need to have 2,000 responses or even 20 responses for it to be valuable. Three customer interviews over the phone might be infinitely more valuable to you then running a giveaway around a survey just so you can get 30 responses. Yeah, I've never done that on the consulting side of my business. And like I said, I've been somewhat successful in an email newsletter, just saying, Hey, I'm working on this, or trying to get ideas on this. And just asking people to reply. Like, that's been, that's worked. But I've never sent to like people on my list a survey and said, Hey, would you mind filling this out? So I was just wondering if there was anything special that you did. No, no, no, no. I try and not do anything special other than exactly what you said. Now I would, I would love to see the difference in the type of and number of responses. If you actually send out a survey form. Because the reply thing, even though it's so easy, and it gets great, it's great engagement, it's good for so many reasons. Some people are also a little twitchy about that too. Whereas a survey is really impersonal, it's anonymous. They don't have to, I mean, you don't have to make it anonymous, but that often is good to do. It's anonymous so they don't feel like you're judging them based on their responses. The other piece of it too, is, when you're asking for that reply and that personal interaction, their goal is to impress you. Whether they know it, they don't know it, right? It's just the subconscious thing that happens. I look up to you. I love your content. I'm a huge fan. If I'm writing back to you, even if I'm telling you what my problem is, I am trying to impress you. And so those responses can be less valuable. I'm not saying don't do it, definitely do it. But remember that every time you do. Whereas with a survey like this, there's a little bit less of that drive to impress you. And so you tend to get a little bit more objective answers. So I'd love for you to just kind of test that out and see. Yeah. And then just in terms of the ask, when I am surveying a big group of people, I may get very clear that this is gonna take three minutes of less. Or this is gonna take five to 10 minutes. Because I want to know, I want them to know, I respect your time and also, you've got three minutes right now, why don't you just go ahead and do this. And that works really well. Cause I know exactly what I've given in the moment, so it's easier to ask for feedback after an event or a webinar. But it's this before I've done anything. I know I've given them value and stuff, but the out of the blue initial survey is what I'm trying to get better at doing. Yeah, they're on your list because you've given the value, right? Otherwise they wouldn't be there. Are surveys ever truly anonymous? I really want to know, because I, you know, it's not that I'm like some suspicious computery, like, you know, have some conspiracy theory that everybody can track you. Sounds like you are. (laughs) I mean, you have to admit. You're doing education things. Like, if you've done a program or something, and you want to give constructive feedback, I'm certainly tried very, write it very, very nicely, because I'm never really completely convinced that they're anonymous. So, a mass survey, unless you have very sneaky ways of, I mean, the survey people are, it's in their best interest, to actually make it anonymous. And so I'm sure, maybe, no I'm not sure, I shouldn't say I'm sure. Maybe there's some crazy way to hack it. But. Just like, if you know you're like, you participate in a program, and there were six people. Yes, that's different. That's what I'm just kind of curious about. I mean, I can personality type you and figure out what your response is. I'm just curious because I've kind of thought about that when I've replied to some of these things. Because you want to give constructive feedback so people can improve. You know, and if I was surveying a group of six people and asking for constructive feedback, I wouldn't make it anonymous. I would make it, I would actually just say, I want to know from you individually, what you thought about it, cause frankly I would want to judge. Maybe I know how much work you did or didn't do. And I want to judge that response properly based on what I know about you. And also then, yeah, I'm just also being honest with you. I could figure out who sent what. So like, let's just be on the up and up. That was just like my side curiousity. No, I love it, I love it. That's a great question. And it sounds like that that might be the perfect opportunity to get them on the phone. Yes, yeah. Again, if you're wanting feedback from six people, talk to somebody. Or like, we have a member at Koch Commercial, Karen Kelba, hey Karen, who does customer research for people. So you can actually have her get on the phone with somebody after a program. So you want to put people at ease. There are ways that you can do that. Spending some money. That are gonna help you get more objective feedback and in kind of also filter through, like maybe you don't want to be the person on the phone getting the constructive feedback. I am that person. I hate constructive. I don't care. It can be the most nice, helpful feedback ever. I just want to know what I have to change. So my team takes care of that and then there's, they'll tell me, okay, this is the issue. Here is a proposed change. We talk about it, we make the change. So we get the benefit of the feedback always. But I don't have to sit in my corner and cry because I still let somebody down. You know? And it doesn't happen often, but you know, it happens enough, that I don't want to. That's not something I want to do. So yeah, that's an option for you too.

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Every time I thought the class had reached a point that I knew "enough" about, Tara dropped yet another game-changer that I'd never even considered. Great experience, great speaker, great class.

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