On November 19, browser giant Mozilla Firefox announced a 5-year partnership with Yahoo; making the search engine its default provider. The roll-out will begin for U.S. Firefox users in December, and then in early 2015 for all users. From Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s blog, a ‘better, cleaner user experience’ is to be expected from the deal. In her post, she gives a peek into the new interface that indeed, looks promising.
Recently, Google seems to be doing some small ‘changes’ of its own by providing pop-up surveys. Questions range from ‘Did you find what you were looking for?’ and asking if there’s ‘anything that you dislike in Google Search’. The mini surveys are short and can be answered in a few seconds. This is only available to a select number of users.
Is this a preemptive strike for the number of users that they would be losing once the switch takes place? Or is Google merely doing a tactic that many successful online businesses have done in the past (which is, to ask users what they want)?
The customer may not always be right: but if you’re a business – especially an online one – you need to listen to what your customers are saying. Surveys can be key to getting real leads. Its three main benefits include but are not limited to:
• acquiring additional customer information
• getting competitor data
• customer retention
You’ve probably heard about creating buyer personas for your marketing plan. Buyer personas are sample buyers, a fictional representation of your target market based on research. Although this is critical in some cases, why not simply ask your REAL buyers about what they want? A simple survey isn’t difficult to create, and takes only a few minutes of their time.
Another good reason to perform surveys is to judge competitor products and/or services. Why are they preferred by half of your customers? What are their current offers and promotions? Will your target market choose your competition given certain conditions? Reading your buyers’ responses may hurt at the beginning; but remember: this can pave the way to better customer retention.
This brings us to the most important benefit of surveys: keeping customers. In this day and age of market saturation, it’s fairly easy for a buyer to switch from one brand to another. Your goal should not only be to provide the best products out there. You should also pay attention to buyer expectations. People in general want to feel that their business is being valued. And by asking for their opinion, it shows that you care about their input on improving your company’s performance.
A great example of conversion success thanks to a survey is that of CrazyEgg. Their founders knew a web redesign was in order; but they wanted to draw in more people instead of just changing the site. This led them to conduct a survey. Using email and on-site questionnaires, they were able to gather relevant data about what their users really want to see. The result? A 21.6% increase in their conversion rates.
Before writing down your questions, begin with the end in mind: what do you ultimately want to get from the survey? It pays to be specific. For example: a goal of ‘getting more customers’ is NOT ideal. Instead, go for: ‘get 10% new customers within a month after the new website redesign’. It’s specific, time-bound, and measurable. This way, you can easily track your progress using your favorite online tools.
Here are a few good practices when it comes to conducting surveys:
• keep it short and to the point
• avoid jargon and absolutes (words like ‘never’, ‘always’, and ‘often’)
• stick to objective questions
• avoid words that would otherwise ‘lead’ a person to choose a certain answer
• provide optional blank fields for users who may want to write more specific feedback
• make use of on-site and/or email surveys
• make sure the survey doesn’t take up more than 5 minutes!
Another method is conducting polls. Polls allow users to rate choices based on their own preferences. This is a good option if you want to add new features or products on your website.
Remember: asking the right kind of questions will give you the right answers to get the conversions you want.
When it comes to giving users what they want, there is NO clear winner yet. But it’s obvious that both companies already engage in heavy user focus. It would be wise to follow in their footsteps. Whether you’re a small business startup or a large conglomerate, it pays to ask people what they want. If you have an ongoing SEO campaign right now, ask your SEO service consultant about performing a small survey to increase conversion rates.
With the right strategies, who knows – you could be on the first page of BOTH Google and Yahoo before 2015.