This is a guest post by Wilson Peng of YesInsights.
Many businesses are using an online sales funnel where a prospect enters their email address on a landing page in exchange for a free report, educational content, or a free trial. The prospect is then put into a one-size-fits-all email drip campaign where they’re shown a series of emails encouraging them to buy or subscribe to the product.
Does this sound familiar to you? This works great… if you know exactly what you customers want.
The problem is, most people don’t know… but THINK they know what their customers want. This is a huge mistake many of us make. If you’re not constantly asking your customers, there may be a mismatch between how you’re positioning your product and the market. Even worse, you might be offering the wrong product altogether.Surveys can help you boost your conversions - here's how Click To Tweet
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The right way to start your sales funnel
Jaime Tardy is a business coach and the founder of Eventual Millionaire. She’s passionate about helping small businesses and has interviewed over 100 millionaires to get their story and advice. With these learnings, she launched several products — including a popular book and a step-by-step business system — and as a result, she has a large online following.
One of the ways she engages with her audience is through her emailing list. On her landing page, visitors are encouraged to sign up in exchange for educational content.
So far, I bet the sales funnel looks familiar. I’ve created very similar landing pages to collect email addresses too — but it’s what she does next that’s different.
The first thing you get in your inbox is a warm welcome email where she’ll prompt you to take simple survey:
This deceivingly simple two question survey is probably one of the most effective sources of insights for any business and helps Jamie understand the pulse of her customers.
If you only send one survey to your prospects, this is it. Why is it so good?
Let’s dig into the details:
Question 1: Do you have a business?
This is a basic question people can answer without thinking (you either have a business or you don’t), but it accomplishes a lot of things:
- It builds action-taking momentum. Once people answer this question, they’ve taken an action and will be more likely to continue onwards.
- This information allows you to segment people and put them in different email lists. You can then only send them content or products that they’ll find useful. This keeps engagement high and churn low.
- Answering this question gets them to think briefly about their business. This triggers their associative memory which helps people answer the next question in the best possible detail.
Question 2: What are you struggling with right now?
People pay for things that make their lives easier. By asking what they are struggling with, you’re basically asking, “What should I sell you?”By asking what they are struggling with, you’re basically asking, “What should I sell you?” Click To Tweet
Be aware that you should never directly ask people what you should sell them. People are actually horrible at speculating what they want until they see it. Henry Ford once said, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said: “A faster horse.”
People are, however, good at telling you what they DON’T want. By asking what they are struggling with, you are implicitly asking what they DON’T want to do… and will pay money to avoid.
This open-ended question is where the magic happens. If you’ve never asked this question before, you might be surprised at what your customers say. This will prove your assumptions and steer your business in the right direction.
Use surveys for conversion boosting
By using this with simple survey, Jamie is able to:
- Learn surprising insights from every lead
- Use those insights to segment people and show the most relevant content
- Be aware of changes in customer behavior as soon as they happen
- Convert and profit!
We strongly suggest you send this survey early in the sales funnel too. Welcome emails typically have the highest open rate so it’s your best chance to collect this information. By doing this, you automate your user research and save hours of manually doing customer development.
How to get started
You’ll need 3 tools: a survey tool, an email marketing service, and a way to get data out (so you can tag people in your email service).
First, the survey tool. There are a lot of options, but if you use YesInsights you’ll be able to embed a survey to the body of your email.
By using an inline email survey, you make it possible for people to respond painlessly with one click. For this welcome email, 50% of people who open it respond to our survey.
YesInsights then automatically captures the respondent’s email address, and they are then brought to a landing page where they can answer an open-ended question.
Second, the email marketing service. Again, you have a lot of options. We personally use Intercom for YesInsights — it’s a fantastic tool for SaaS companies. But we’ve used Aweber, Drip, Mailchimp, and ConvertKit before for other projects. They’re all great, with different strengths and weaknesses. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already using an email service.
Finally, we use Zapier to get the data out so we can automatically segment people in Intercom.
As soon as someone responds, we ‘tag’ them in Intercom according to their response (the exact ‘segmenting’ action will vary depending on your email service). Then we can put them in a different drip campaign or send them targeted marketing emails that are relevant to their specific needs.
How To Turn The Data Into a Growth Engine
Okay, so now you know what type of questions to ask and how to ask them to improve your email funnel. The next question that comes up a lot is what do I do with the data that I captured from the surveys?
There are a lot of things that you can do with survey data. Turn survey data into actionable feedback, brainstorm upcoming product roadmap ideas, improve the product, perfect your marketing message, and much more. For this specific post, I’ll cover how you can turn the data into a growth engine.
Usually, this will boil down to the type of questions you are asking in your survey, but a few of the questions above can help with this. For this post, I’ll use an actual example of an email marketing company that uses YesInsights. This company provides an email marketing platform, but also blogs often. Their company blog draws a lot of attention and email subscribers. In order to engage with their email subscribers with the hope of turning them into a paying customer, they will reach out with the survey question, “Have you evaluated an Email Marketing solution in the past 12 months?”
Here’s a screenshot of their results in the analytic dashboard:
From this, they would export the ones that responded with “I have not evaluated any of the above-mentioned solution” as well as the ones that responded with “I have evaluated multiple of the above-mentioned solutions.”
After the company segments the responses, the sales team will reach out to those that haven’t evaluated a marketing solution yet. Another method is by reaching out to the ones that have used another solution with a white paper that compares both software platforms.
Another example of a good use case where you can leverage data for growth is how Benji from ConvertandGrow used surveys to learn where their users found out about them.
From the results, Benji discovered two important things:
- A high number of people saying they found out about them through another site
- A good amount of people found about them through a friend
People finding them from another site leads them to think that the more exposure they get on other industry sites, the more traffic they’ll get. This could be spending some of their time guest posting on other well-respected blogs, contributing to round up posts, being guests on podcasts, and more.
People finding them through a friend makes us ask ourselves the question: “How do we get more people to share our content with friends or colleagues?” Is there some sort of referral program they can create? Can they get people to share their emails with others? Is there a CTA they can put at the bottom of their post to get people to share with a friend?
At the end, they chose to add a link that asks people to refer their friends which led to more conversions and referrals.
There’s a lot more things you can do with survey data. It’s best that you brainstorm this with your team.
Make surveys a continuous part of your funnel
You’ll get a lot of insights from this survey, but it’s just the beginning — there are many more questions you should ask further down the funnel. They aren’t just for gathering insights — if you ask the right questions, it can actually ‘soften’ your leads up for the conversion down the line.