Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Polls for Market Studies

I sent out a poll today asking for ideas for this week’s Blog entry, and realized that polls would be a great topic.

I want to establish some definitions so we all have some common points of reference.

First the definition of Marketing. Marketing is the activities which attract potential customers to your company’s product or service. Marketing can take the form of a number of activities such as:

o Blogs and other Social Networks
o Advertisements
o Printed literature
o Trade shows
o Word of mouth
o Video postings

In each case the goal is to deliver a message to a specific target. In classic marketing terminology there was the Shotgun and the Rifle approach. The concepts are still the same; you can choose to target a wide range of potential customers with a broad general message, or a very narrow range with a specific message.

So using the examples above we can see that Blogs are a way to send a message to a broad range of potential customers or clients. I sent out about 2500 notices that I have updated this Blog, and look for a fraction of the recipients to reply back to me, looking for my consulting services to grow their business.

I have a friend who does direct mail for his clients. He uses a more targeted approach. He mails out offers from a cable company to people who have just moved into a new home. The message targets a specific potential customer at the exact time when they are deciding on their phone, internet, and cable TV needs.

Now the Second Definition: Sales. Sales are the exchange of products or services for money. Profits in a company are derived for the sales of products or services. Marketing is an expense that causes the Sales to occur. The two go hand in hand. Without actively marketing you product or services you will not get sales.

Now on to the main topic: Polls.

A Poll is a way of asking a series of questions to a potential customer or another target group. I have used polls to ask a number of interesting questions, for example:

• Looking for feedback about my company’s technical support
• Asking reps what types of products they would like to sell
• Looking for the next topic for this Blog

In all cases, I had an idea of the questions, and the potential answers I was looking for.

Polls are easily available on Linked In, Blogger which is a Google product, and Constant Contact. In each case you can very easily set up a Poll to ask one question and offer a range of potential answers to select. Try to think about the goal of the Poll and ask the questions in such a was as to gain useful information from your potential customers.

Remember in every case your goal is to gain information about you potential customer, and move them to the point of closing the sale. Why did Ronald McDonald always ask “You want fries with that? “ It was an easy way to Poll his customer at the exact time of the decision, and move the decision process in favor of closing a sale.

Remember in the last Blog we profiled Bob. You can use the Poll to ask Bob questions and then expand your profile of him. The more you know about Bob, the easier it is to influence his decision, to purchase your product or service.

Here are some specific guides to setting up Polls:

On, select Dashboard, then Layout, then Add a Gadget. Polls are in the Gadget section. I have selected to add the Poll Gadget to the right side so that the Poll would not be lost at the bottom of the Blog page.

On Lined In, select Applications, and the Polls follow the installation instructions to get the Poll set up. Once the Poll app is set into your Linked In you can select it and then the Create a Poll tab at the top of the main section.

On Constant Contact, select Surveys and then create a Poll or a Survey. The Survey in Constant Contact is a Poll with more then one question. The poll is sent out the same way as a newsletter to your target population. Constant Contact has a great feature that lets you track who took the survey, and look at the responses. The Survey was so easy to use, even Ed could fill in all the answers.

Next Step: Create you own Poll!

To grow you sales in the United States contact Seth!

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