Using a Survey to Learn More About Your Target Audience
Read on for survey tips and insights:
At Modernize, we follow a human-centered design process. This means we work diligently to curate content on our website that is relevant to the current needs of homeowners in the United States. We know that since today’s family is busier than ever, no one wants to waste their time sifting through irrelevant articles while they search for answers to their home improvement and design questions. And that’s why one of the simplest ways to understand what our readers want and need from our home improvement and design website is by simply asking them.
By creating a reader survey using tools like those provided by FormAssembly, businesses can take the guesswork out of managing their website. The tools on their website allow users to custom design the format of their survey, input their own questions, distribut the survey to their target audience, and analyze the data once the survey is complete.
For us, creating a survey was simple, and it didn’t require any special HTML or programming skills—which is great, since home improvement is more our thing! We also felt totally comfortable utilizing the services provided, since all the information is protected by strict privacy policies that are certified through TRUSTe.
Sample Reader Survey Questions
Creating content that is customized to our readers’ needs isn’t easy, and it requires us to ask very specific questions about their lives, their preferences, and their homes. Here are some sample questions that we used to guide us as we plan our website and create articles.
- What home improvements would you like to make in the next year?
- On average, how much do you spend on home improvements each year?
- How would you like to improve the energy efficiency of your home in the next year?
- How important is location specific research and data to you as you plan to make improvements on your home?
- What home improvement information do you feel is missing from popular home improvement and home decor websites?
- When you make major home improvements, do you hire a contractor or do complete the project yourself?
- When you make changes to the design of your home’s interior, do you hire an interior designer or do you complete the project yourself?
- In 2016, will your budget for home improvement and home decor projects be increasing or decreasing? By how much?
These questions are just the beginning of what we can and have asked our target audience about what they need most from a home improvement website with a focus on an energy-efficient lifestyle.
Creating a Survey for Your Target Audience
Are you in the business of creating web content? Or perhaps your specialty is designing, developing, and manufacturing products. Either way, understanding your target audience should be among your top priorities. As you craft your survey, keep in mind the following tips we’ve learned through our own experiences.
Avoid “Yes” and “No” Questions
Questions that require no more than a single word answer like “yes” or “no” are less engaging and should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, build your survey around questions that require a multiple-word or multiple-sentence answer. Questions structured in this manner allow you to gather as much information as possible, understanding your target audience better than ever before.
For instance, consider taking a question like, “Do you have plans for a major remodel this year?” and rewording it to something more specific like, “What are your plans for a major remodel this year?” These extra details are sure to give you valuable ideas and insight regarding your audience that you may have never considered.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Questions Directly Relevant to Your Services
It is important to gather plenty of information in your survey that is directly relevant to the services or products your organization offers. Still, there are more general pieces of information that can be a great benefit to your company. Gather basic statistics about your target audience, asking questions about their income, location, work and interests, and even a bit about the others in their household. This helps gain an understanding of not only what they need, but who they are—a must-have for any successful design process focused on the individual.
Move Beyond the Facts
As business owners, we tend to rely heavily on the facts. We want to know who our readers or clients are, what they do, and what needs we can meet through our services. The truth is, understanding your target audience requires moving beyond the facts. Build your survey to collect information about how participants feel.
For instance, in one of our recent surveys we asked homeowners how much they enjoyed making home improvements and how confident they felt in their ability to perform home repairs or upgrades. This gave us some surprisingly new information that has affected the way we shape our message, content, and services.
Keep Survey Participants’ Identities Private
While there are certainly benefits to requiring survey respondents to reveal their identity when taking a survey, the benefits of an anonymous survey seem to far outweigh the drawbacks. In general, it seems that individuals are more likely to participate in an anonymous survey—and when it comes to answering questions, they feel more free to respond with total honesty if they know their answers are private.
Each time we survey our audience, we learn new things about who we are reaching and how we can meet their needs. By fine-tuning our survey process and using helpful and efficient survey building tools, we have been able to collect useful information concerning their resources, their lifestyle, and the problems they face—and how we can solve them.
Modernize is where you come to get inspired, see what’s possible, and connect with a professional who will make your dream home a reality.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.