Use a survey to make new friends for your mailing list!

Versione Italiana

You wouldn’t believe how many people will give you their time in change of just you listening.

I was in a meeting a couple of days ago talking with the Main Artist and the Social Media Manager of a “very specific” Fashion Company. I call that very specific because it happens that they do just one very important accessory: the one we walk in, but they do so perfectly and beautifully that is craved by the most known people in the Music Industry.

We were, me and my partner Andrea, talking in a very friendly manner about one recent success we had on tailoring a Survey for an other Client, that happen to be also a common friend with the owner of the company, the Main Artist I referred to, above.

The success being a high reaction to the Survey reflecting into the high volume of responses.

At that point, the SMM asked to us:
“ What have you given to them in exchange?”
We turn our look to each other and we quietly reply.. Nothing, we will just turn to them the result of the Survey when is finished.

Silence. “ Impossible! You have to give them something in change, or they will not give their mail etc etc to you etc etc. “


The very dry and unsentimental world of digital marketing, sometimes makes us believing that we live in a world where every relationship is just “transaction” and this is the only and solely expression in the bytes-planet. ( Wrong. )

We do not believe so. We believe in digital human to human relationship based on empathy.
This since many years ago, when we were launching the first forums.
Already in 98' people were spending so much time in typing questions, replies, comments..
They had in the beginning of their online-life, the genuine feeling first and confirmation later that someone was honestly interested in how important was for example: to develope photography film in the proper bath or how to solder a microprocessor to a motherboard or how to repaint an old cabinet of 3 centuries ago. This is one of the inner power of the Internet. To connect people that have something in common, an interest, even if they are thousand of Kilometres away from each other and to develope a dialogue that wouldn’t be in any other way possible. Just like me and you now.

Whenever you are opening a microphone in the web and let people talk you will be astonished on how many people have a lot to say.

But there is a secret. You really have to “ really “ listen.
Most of the Survey today are just dull and dumb tricks to grab your mail. Their questions are addressed to a very generical target group and are inclusive of all the kind of possible people.
And this doesn’t work. The Survey that works is the one where you are perceived as very serious on finding real answers, that could define the market, or shape your business, and getting that out with real questions.

Let’s make an example with 3 different question in a frequently SM talked topic such as Video Making.
One very generical, one very specialised and the third in between.

Generical _ Do you prefer to shot with a DSLR or with a Videocamera?

Very Specialized_ In finishing your clip before publishing do you use the colour grading tool that comes with your editor or you recur to third parties editors.

In Between_ What is your preferred editor? Final Cut, Premiere, Avid..

So. If you want people attracted to answer always go for the most specialised question.

It will filter-off for sure someone of the “very beginner group”, but you will be amazed on how many amateurs and advanced amateurs will be dragged by the challenge to understand how and why a “pro” almost always finish a clip on a third party colour grading software.( that is the very specialized question )
This is the power of reputation. You always will be trying to join that group where is “the coach” that explain the game. It is human. The Same way a question on how finishing a video clip, will definitely be regarded as more intended to Professionals than the choice of a Camera or a Video Editor.

The attractive part of a Survey is to know the answers given by others.


There are other three keys.

First: target properly. As much as your Survey is specific as much your Media plan has to be oriented to that “panel group”.Today with Social Media to identify your public and to narrow to the “specifics” is not really an issue.

Second: use a platform widely recognised and with reputation of being safe, such as Google Form. I know, is not the best in terms of graphic and possibilities of personalizations but has one great point on the matter that .. Hey! It’ is Google! Everybody trust Google! and everybody thinks that Google is safe!
For anyone on the Internet, Google is kind of an institution. So if your Survey is on Google Forms, people will tend to be more comfortable to answer then if is on some tailored stuff, even nicer but in your by then anonymous website.

Third. Do not hesitate to be exhaustive. Meaning: ask, ask and ask more. Make as much as 15, 20 questions. Study the topic before, ask experts to prepare the questions, go trough lot of docs in the internet to understand fully the industry you are putting your attention on, but do not spare the research for the tiny detail, because id that.. that particular attention that will make your survey elected among the elite, and definitely be answered!

TRY IT!