cf #54: was this awesome, good, meh, or bad?
You are reading contentfolks—a fortnightly blend of sticky notes, big content ideas, and small practical examples. Thank you for being here! ~fio
Hey there 👋
Designing surveys and analysing results is one of the most energising marketing activities of all time—at least according to me! I love a well-planned survey and could spend hours (and indeed I have) diving into spreadsheets full of answers that need categorising.
I’ve been running a few surveys at work these past few weeks, and as the enthusiast that I am I decided to walk you through some examples… in the not-so-secret hope you’ll be inspired to launch one of your own next 😉
1. Blog survey
🎯 Why run it: to understand if there are errors, missing elements, or information gaps in the pieces you have been publishing.
📝 How to do it: set up a Hotjar poll on the pages you want feedback on. Ask readers if they found what they were looking for, then use conditional logic for a follow-up question:
If folks answered ‘yes’, ask “What else should we add?”
If folks answered ‘no’, ask “What can we change to make the page work?”
For this one, I review the feedback weekly and fix any mistakes or major gaps that take fewer than 10 minutes to address. I then add longer fixes and useful suggestions to an ongoing list that I revisit and action periodically.
2. Customer survey
🎯 Why run it: to understand who your customers are, why they chose your product, what they are using it for, and what they wish it could do differently.
📝 How to do it: build a survey in Hotjar or Google Forms and share it with the relevant audience segment (for example, customers who have been particularly active or had positive interactions with your support team).
For Postmark, I built an extremely yellow survey (to stay on brand 😉) and asked a bunch of questions including:
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
How is your team using Postmark currently?
If you could add one feature to Postmark, what would it be?
What advice would you give other folks in your role?
I’m using this survey to collect useful quotes and stories to feature in upcoming blog posts, case studies, and newsletters, but you could use it to discover bugs that need fixing, influence the product/service roadmap, define your ideal customer personas—the possibilities are ENDLESS!
3. Team survey
🎯 Why run it: getting opinions and feedback from the folks you work with helps you evaluate project results, do more of what works, and change/fix what doesn’t.
📝 How to do it: build the survey in Google Forms then send it to your team via email or Slack. The questions you ask depend on your project; in our case, we are trying to establish whether a “No-meetings Wednesday” initiative has been successful and what else we should do to improve our meeting culture.
💡pro tip #1: alternate closed- and open-ended questions. The first type helps you collect quantitative data points (e.g. 78% of respondents agree with something), and the second helps you get in-depth, actionable feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and what you should do next.
💡pro tip #2: always acknowledge your teammates’ feedback and thank them for it. I mean it: there is no point asking folks to invest their time into giving you feedback if you’re then going to act like it never happened.
4. Newsletter survey
🎯 Why run it: get feedback about the content and format of your work, especially if you’ve recently made changes and want to understand how your audience is receiving them.
📝 How to do it: this really depends on whether your email marketing tool has a built-in poll functionality. Ours doesn’t, so we hacked this solution together using Google Analytics:
Build a thank-you page that people will land on after expressing their vote
Define your voting scale and build a different UTMs for each option, where campaign= the name of the campaign and content= the option itself (e.g. in my case, utm_campaign=2022_nov-newsletter&utm_content=awesome or utm_campaign=2022_nov-newsletter&utm_content=meh)
Send out your email and track results in GA:
I got inspired to run this specific survey after reading that the Financial Times surveyed its newsletter readers and got 78 thousand (!) replies. I’m keeeping it real and hoping for ~100, but can you imagine asking ME to analyse a spreadsheet with 78,000 rows?!?! 🤩 🤩 🤩
Wrapping up + will you do me a favour?
As I was writing this issue, I discovered that Substack has had a survey feature since July. Me being me, I really want to use it—but I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this as an email, nothing will happen when you click the form below.
…will you pleeeease go back to the top of the email, click on the ‘open in browser’ link, scroll down to the form, and answer this question? That’d make me very happy today.
Love this post! FYI Fio, the poll feature does work out of email (for me anyway; I’m using Spark on iOS). Tap on the answer you want and it opens up the page in browser, revealing the response rates with a tick next to the one you chose. Same thing on a poll I responded to for another Substack newsletter too :-)
Absolutely love the idea of adding survey forms to blog posts.
Thank you Fio