How to Analyze Your Findings
So you made your survey. Now you have sent it out to people, and how long should you wait for responses for? It just depends, like in my case, I had 400 responses in something like a week. So it really depends on how it's going for you. And I would also say if you find it's slow to get responses, just remember people are busy. Their inboxes are full. So don't be afraid to send a follow-up email, nudge people along to try and get that. Or try and have a phone call with them too, you could easily use that survey question set and just use it as a script for a little discussion you might have. Or use it as a script for a little focus group you might have. If maybe you feel like your audience, your potential customer might respond better if you said, hey, come over to my place and we'll have wine and discuss topic X, that might be more compelling for people than to fill out a survey, who knows. So after you get the survey done though, how do you make sense of all the results? Because what c...
an happen is, you have 100 responses. Okay, 100 responses, seven questions each, that's a lot of open ended answers to go through. So lucky for us, we designed the survey so that it's going to help us get really specific and focus on goals, values, and problems. And that's gonna make it a lot easier. So the four steps that I really take to go through analyzing survey results are first, I just kinda wanna format the responses. Each survey tool puts it in a different way, I have my own way I like to do it. You can take it or leave it. But next, you wanna look for all the goals and the obstacles, because if you remember a few lessons back where we had where I am now, where I want to be, and what is the obstacle from stopping me. So we want to go find those goals and obstacles. Then, we wanna identify the top ones. So we're going to see tons of different goals. Interesting ones, really out there ones, we wanna kind of look for the top ones that occurred a lot, and those themes. And then what we want to do is go back for each of those major goals we've identified and literally pull out quotes from our survey responses because quotes are really the evidence that are gonna support the goals. And you'll see all this play out. But that's the steps that we're going to go through. But also, this one's very important. Once we identify the goals and the obstacles, pulling out these quotes, the exact quotes from the survey, those are gonna be the basis of the text we put on our landing page, and how we talk about our product. So basically, if you haven't kind of picked up on it yet, this survey is actually helping us come up with the initial marketing copy for how we talk about our idea to our potential customers. Because they have just told us, so we shouldn't go and try and get cute and write our own language. We should just use the language they just gave us. So step one, we want to format the survey results. And make it really readable. So depending on which tool you use, Google forms can put it into a spreadsheet. Sometimes that is kind of ugly to me. I don't know what Typeform does but I find for me it's hard to see everything when it's in a spreadsheet. So what I like to do is throw it into a Google doc or something, yes it takes time but you'll just have to deal with that, but it's so much easier. Like, this is person one's responses, right? And then we'd have like person two and person three. We chunk all their responses together, and then I like to kind of bold either the question or the answer and you can quickly skim that a lot easier than a spreadsheet. 'Cause with a spreadsheet I don't have an example. But like, questions are up in row seven, and then if you're on row 39 you're like, wait a minute, what was the question that was asked for that answer? So format all the answers so it's a lot more readable. This is also helpful if you're collaborating with someone. Maybe you were doing the survey and your buddy friend who's also in on this business idea with you, it's just gonna make their life a lot easier as well. But get it into this format. And then the next step is, like I said, to look at all the goals and obstacles. So here, I haven't put all seven questions, because just for space. But imagine, this is person one, this is person two, this is person three. So now what do we do? Well, we have to go through and look for the goals and obstacles. And you can color code this however you want, really doesn't matter, but let's look at the goals. So let's see. I wanna fix this because I want to have more time with my family. Hire someone to mow my lawn because I want the best lawn on the block. My top three problems are, not knowing how to fix problems, like weeds. Okay. I wanna hire someone to fix my lawn because I want more time for my kids. So we would go through that, find all these goals that people have. Then look for the obstacles. I wanna hire someone to do my lawn because it's a time consuming chore. And you'll notice, I wanna hire someone to do my lawn, that was kind of a goal question we had. But they actually answered it telling us a problem. So that's why we do this step. So we wanna go through and look at all these obstacles. My biggest pain when it comes to mowing the lawn is finding time to mow the lawn. Let's see. Oh, my biggest pain when it comes to mowing and lawn maintenance is you don't have time to do it during the week. So we come up with all these goals and obstacles. And then what we do, and I will admit, this can be really time consuming. But to me it's the only way to do it. Otherwise I don't think you get to clearly see these insights, but if you have another method go ahead, but this is kinda the one that I think works really well. And then after you write down all of the goals, you look at the ones that were kind of recurring. So for us the recurring goals were people wanted to have a great looking lawn. A lawn that we could use. Sell the house. Never have to think about the lawn. Whatever those goals are. And then the obstacles. Don't have enough time to take care of it. Don't know the tools, don't know the products, that would be me. Not being able to find a company. Maybe you're not sure which one is reputable, are they gonna scam me? And then not wanting to pay someone to do it, maybe you're cheap and that's one of the reasons why you still haven't hired someone. So, we want to think through all these goals and all these obstacles. But then, after we have all these goals and obstacles we're not done. Because we want to go back, and for each one of those goals, we wanna go back through all those survey results and pull out the exact quotes that people had. So maybe some people really did write, have a great looking lawn. But probably when you do this you will be paraphrasing to come up with the top goals. Well then after you've paraphrased, you wanna go back through and pull out the quotes that kind of are the evidence, if you will, to support that quote. Because as I mentioned, what we'll end up doing is using a lot of these quotes in our landing page, or as brainstorming for headlines that we might put on our landing page, or how we talk about this product if we were going to make a video, which we're not going to do yet. But emails, things like that. Maybe posts that you put on social media. So that is why these surveys are so helpful, especially the open ended ones because with a multiple choice or something, you don't get it in their own language. And when you get it in their own language, they have written half of the marketing material for you. At least given you an awesome, awesome starting point. And helps us go beyond these symptoms and get to the underlying problems. We know, what is the goal? What is the problem? What are people's values? Why is it so important to mow the lawn? Yeah, it's nice to have a nice lawn, but what else is behind that? And as you can see, that research becomes just gold 'cause it's gonna save us a ton of time, help us with our marketing text, topics for emails we might write, in our email automations, which we're going to get to as well. It's also gonna help us identify the benefits that we need to highlight. So we'll get into this when we do our writing for our landing page, but a lot of companies just focus on the features of what the product does. And the thing is, people care about the features, but what is gonna get them excited is the benefits. It's the outcome. It's not that Evernote has three gig of storage in the cloud for your notes, it's that, the benefit is that everything in Evernote is totally searchable, and their magical search algorithm makes you find anything very fast. That's the benefit. We'll see more examples of features and benefits, but if we don't do this, then we won't know the benefits, kind of those values we were getting at. Also gonna give us tons of ideas for maybe what we could put on social media. Exact language to use, and just maybe some of the unexpected benefits that people have from using the product. And also, the reason that I'm such a fan of treating that research with such great care and formatting it so tediously is that you will refer back to this, if you follow this, you'll refer back to this research over and over and over, because as you are thinking about maybe different versions of it, if it's an app, more features, or if it's a planner, like other editions of the planner. Just different landing pages you could test even, if you all the sudden decide to make some promo video or commercial or something. You're gonna use this research because it's going to be the intel that's letting you get into the head of the people that have the problem that your product is hopefully solving. And more importantly, this is big too. A lot of companies, you've probably experienced this. A lot of companies like to talk in their own language. And when they try and talk to the customer, the customer's not sure what they're talking about because the company's almost developed their own internal lingo, but this research is helpful 'cause it allows you to speak in their language. And so the next step for you is really to think about okay, I need to make this survey. So in the workbook there are sections where you're going to be able to go through what we talked about. And a few other things I should mention too. So, what we didn't have time to go through right now was writing your product's statement. So there's an activity in there that helps you distill down your idea into a one or two sentence summary. A thesis statement, if you will, about your product. And it's a great exercise, and I think I also link over to a YouTube video that's really helpful by this other guy that's gonna guide you through that. And then coming up with a little bit of a customer profile, customer avatar, whatever you wanna call it, there's a lot of names for this. But coming up with this based on your assumptions of the person, so what you know now. 'Cause I feel like it's very important to acknowledge all of our assumptions about who our customer might be. And then we can go validate those assumptions with our research. So then you'll jump into what we just went through. Writing the survey, making a list, brainstorm, where you can find these people. And then, how to make sense of your survey results. But the other cool thing too is, once you have for example this list of where to find your people, then well guess what, when your landing page is ready, we know where to go tell all those people about it. Or if you were to run Facebook ads, we're getting way down the path here, but if you were to run Facebook ads and you were deciding, okay, who should I target for this? You already have an initial brainstorm of the types of people that you might want to be trying to use Facebook ads for and things like that. So these steps are things that are not just specific to the survey, they're really gonna serve us down the road. And then you'll be able to make sense of all the survey results and identify those goals, those obstacles, and then be ready to do two more things, which is coming up with the first version of your product, and then creating that landing page and trying to get email addresses. So go get that workbook, 'cause it's gonna help you do this, and don't forget that Trello board too, in case you like organization. That's gonna help you stay on track as well. I'm gonna turn it back over to Kenna.
Yeah, a question, great.
Thanks Sarah, it's very helpful, and it's great information.
One of the questions I have is, what about all those peoples who don't respond to the surveys? So I get surveys too, I run my own small business, I'm a natural photographer. And for the software that I use every day I'm very passionate about, one day, sent me surveys, I happily replied because I know it'll translate into better products for me. But then I get surveys from Bank of America, Delta, and I'm not passionate about those companies. And I go, why would I want to help you if I actually don't like dealing with that company?
But what about when I send out a survey, and people don't reply to my surveys, but those might be the people who are kind of neutral, they might use my product. But knowing why they won't want to reply, or why not reaching out to them would be as important, are there tricks to analyzing that data and figuring out how interpret that?
Yeah, great questions. So first of all, the cool thing is is when you email people about your survey, there are tools and extensions you can get. Let's say you use Gmail, where you can see, did someone open this email? Did they click on this email? And I forget what it's called but I know you can do that within Gmail. But if you were sending that email from something like Convertkit, for example, which we'll get to, you can see who clicked on that, or who opened the link. So what I would do is I would follow up with all the people who maybe clicked the link in your email and didn't fill out the survey, and follow up with them. Maybe they were busy, it opened in a browser tab, and then they had seven other tabs out, and they forgot. So I think it's important to follow up with people. Also I think it really depends on how you frame your survey in the email to begin with. If it's just, hey, come take my survey guys, thanks so much. That just doesn't feel very friendly, it kinda feels like, just do this thing for me. If you take a little bit of care when you're telling people about the survey, telling them why. Hey guys, I have this idea, frame it, make it more friendly, even you could offer them some type of incentive. I've actually done this where when I ask people to fill out a survey, I said, after you complete the survey on the thank you page you're gonna get a coupon for something. 'Cause I have existing products. You could say, after you fill out the survey, I'm going to do something for them. Maybe it's a discount on some future thing you do, or you could say, if this idea actually ends up happening, you're gonna be the first people in line, or you're going to get some type of discount or thing like that. But I think it's so important to follow up with people. Because we are busy and it could just be a matter of people forgetting. But also too, some of the survey tools, Typeform does this for sure. I believe you can tell who kind of started the survey, and who never finished the survey. So if you're finding a lot of people are starting it and not finishing it, that might mean maybe there was an error, or maybe it's too long. So there's lots of variables there, does that help? Awesome. Okay.
I have another question. If you are not just an individual, but say you have a small team of people, or even two people that are looking to launch something together. Would you kind of go through these exercises separately and then come together and compare?
Ah, for bias.
Or would you kind of take them together?
Yeah, I mean. First of all, great question. And I think that it really depends on your sensitivity to time. If you really want to go aggressively and do this fast, I would say the two of you need to come together and delegate tasks a little bit. But also, make sure from the beginning that you're on the same page about the topic of your company, and the survey for example, because what would be tricky is if you both went off and created surveys and they were slightly different focuses. Now, that could be a great exercise just to do to make sure you are on the same page. But it could also be a big time waster because then you've sent out slightly different surveys and you've also kind of lost the opportunity to have the respondents from survey one, 'cause you've split the difference, you know? But, if you and your friend or co founder or whomever maybe were not in agreement or knew you wanted to do something related to photography, but you weren't sure what, maybe like weddings versus this, or I don't know what, I'm not in that world, but it would be a great exercise to try and get you two on the same page and allow the people to dictate which path you go down, rather than fight it out and decide. You know, draw straws and see who gets to pursue their idea.
That's great, 'cause you could see that if you leave it to, like you said, the people, or the niche that you're trying to solve problems for, and their voice, then that's better than yourself.
But I would say, I think it would be interesting if you, again, had the time, if you both independently looked at the survey results on your own, and then came up with your initial goals and obstacles, I'm guessing there would be quite a bit of overlap, but it depends on your school of thought. Sometimes when I'm doing research, I always do research with kind of a research buddy, for many reasons, but some people think we should not discuss the research until we talk to all people, you know? This is more for in-person research. But my friend that I do research with quite a bit, we are in agreement that after the first interview, we're talking about it. Because it's fresh in our minds, and that's just our kind of school of thought, yeah. But either works, depending on what you need.
Sure. Alright, we research a question from Andrea, who says, if we have a niche, or more luxury product, can we still apply this type of survey, as it isn't so much of a problem, per se, as it is a product that's nice to have?
Sure, so you have an idea for some beautiful air diffuser. (laughs) And there's lots of air diffusers already, and we know, is it solving a problem? Yes, it's helping people make better air and all those things, but if it's like the nicer version of it? This is where it gets tricky because you're not really solving a problem. It's not so specific, so I think that's more doing research around those people and their spending habits around luxury items and seeing like, what other luxury items do they buy? How do they discover those luxury items? But this is really specific to problem focused products. But I would still encourage you to be doing that research because it is interesting to learn how do people find out about products, how do they vet them, things like that.