Using questionnaires in your business – the key to your success?

Recently, we’ve been helping out businesses to use questionnaires successfully. We’ve had some fantastic results and we wanted to share the formula we use so you can implement it in to your own business.

These questionnaires have helped build sophisticated sales funnels and drive the business strategy for Facebook Advertising, Content Marketing and Email Marketing.

Firstly, this formula isn’t original (nothing really is anymore) but we learnt it from one of the best and implemented it for our industry. We credit Ryan Levesque, author of the ‘Ask’ method. His book totally changed the way we think about questionnaires and how you can change your business using them. His book is currently on Amazon for free if you want to grab your version of it.

In this blog post about questionnaires I want to cover 4 things:

  1. Why finding out more about your customers can really change your business
  2. How you can ask the right questions so you can get the right results
  3. How to get people to actually fill out your questions (sometimes the biggest sticking point)
  4. How you can use the results.

Why questionnaires are important to your business

We’ve used them with clients with success to find out insights about them that they had no idea about their target customer.

You might be sitting there saying, “Well Dan, I know who my target customer is.” That’s great. If you think you know exactly who your customer is and the language they use to describe your products, how your industry makes them feel, what their biggest challenges in finding your products, using your products or engaging with your industry…then you don’t need to be here.

If you would like to know, or like to be able to find out more of those things, then keep reading.

Being able to solve some of those problems around their biggest challenges, and the language they use, builds the biggest thing that businesses can get with their customer base – trust.

If we can get potential customers to trust us, we’re 90% of the way to be able to converting them to a long term customer.

You look at the biggest organisations in the world, like Apple, Uber, Tesla; the one big thing they have is trust.

That’s why you see line-ups around the corner to Apple stores, because they know that when a new product comes out, they can just trust that it’s going to be high quality.

Getting people to have that reaction of ‘This business actually gets me, they understand me,’ that is absolute gold.

You probably had that before when you’re looking at advertisements, or you’re looking at the way that someone communicates to you. Like, ‘Wow, it’s like this person can read the exact thoughts in my head.’

Chances are that’s probably not a coincidence.

It’s probably because they know exactly how to talk to you, and how to deal with those pain points, and those trigger points around the challenges that makes you trust them.

How to ask the right questions

Secondly, I want to talk about how you can ask the right questions. This is really important.

I’m sick of seeing questionnaires out there that ask people ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this to a friend?’ Care factor = zero.

I’m not going to go around for the next 24 hours and every person I bump into, “Hey, I used this product yesterday,” because I said that on a scale of 1-10 I’m likely to recommend it to someone else, I’d like to talk to you about. That’d just be weird.

You should always ask questions that deal with the one thing above all others, that people care about. What’s that? It’s themselves.

The one main important question you can ask is how you can help them. You do this by dealing with the problems they’re having in your industry or with your product type.

Questions such as; What’s their biggest pain point? What’s their biggest challenge? What’s their biggest difficulty?

The reason you ask what they don’t like as opposed to what they do like comes down to human psychology.

We all know the saying from Henry Ford “If I had of asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses” BUT let’s turn that on it’s head.

If he had have asked, “What don’t you like about the horse and carriage?” they may have answered with things like. ‘Well the seats in the carriages are uncomfortable’ or ‘I hate when it rains and there is no cover’ or ‘I wish horses could travel further without having to stop’. These answers may have produced the same result of him inventing the car.

When if you ask someone what they actually want, and what they like about it they often can’t answer you. This why you ask what their biggest challenge is.

So that’s one key tip for your questionnaire, is asking them what they DON’T want. Here are some ways you can word that question and change it accordingly to suit your industry:

  • What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to purchasing [your product]?
  • What do you find difficult about [your type of product]?
  • When you think about purchasing [your product], what do you find most difficult?

Keep this question open ended. You don’t want to try and pigeon-hole them into different answers so have it as a long form paragraph answer.

The insights you’ll get from this question can completely change your marketing strategy. I’ll tell you why in a little bit.

You don’t want to ask it straight up because it’s quite an intimidating question. It makes people think.

As far as the structure of questions that you want to ask, the first question should be something that the user doesn’t have to think about.

It could be what gender are you? What age group do you fit in? Are you married, single, children, no children? Something that they just choose, multiple choice, or one or the other option, they don’t need to think about.

It’s basically just to get them in the flow of answering questions, and immediately they think, ‘Oh, this is pretty easy, this is a simple questionnaire.’

Then you hit them with that question about their challenges, so ask that as the second question.

The rest of the questions should be something that is relevant to your business, and be able to provide valuable information.

You also want to make sure that you’re asking questions that help create that persona of the customer that you’re targeting.

So you can basically create 2, 3, 4 target markets and link their challenge with their demographics.

As far as the amount of questions you want to ask, you want to ask enough questions to give you enough insights, but not enough that it gets annoying for the user, and that can be a fine balance.

I like to keep it around 6, 7, 8 questions max. Anything after that the customer will bounce out.

You need to make sure it seems valuable to the user to answer that question and not look like you’re mining for data.

So to recap:

  • 1 simple to answer question – are you male/female? Age group? etc.
  • 1 open ended question about their challenges
  • 4/5/6 questions around demographics or behaviours

How to get people to answer your questionnaire

It’s one thing to come up with the right questions, but it’s no use if no one will answer them.

Here are a couple of tips. Firstly, have you noticed throughout this whole blog I haven’t mentioned the word ‘Survey.’ When you advertise your questionnaire, NEVER call it a ‘survey.’

Surveys just evoke these feelings that make people cringe. They turn away, they keep scrolling, they don’t click on it.

Use something different, I like the word questionnaire. It might be quiz, it might be research.

Something other than the word ‘survey’ that’s not too formal, sounds relaxed and that people are more likely to through and fill it out.

That’s one of the simplest and easy tips that you can use in any of your sales copy, and when you’re communicating with people to encourage them to complete it.

Another tactic is to give them the right reward when they complete your questionnaire.

There needs to be an incentive for them to be able to give their data over to you, and then be given something back.

You need to make sure that the reward that they get is actually relevant to your business though.

For instance, how many times do you see free iPads or Movie tickets for completing a survey? There is no use if you’re in a industry that it has nothing to do with Apple or the film industry.

The reason that it’s no use to you as a business is because you’re just going to get people that go through and they put dummy answers, and they completely skew the results. The exercise ends up useless and you have just burnt some budget on irrelevant information.

Here are some ideas on a budget you can use that could be relevant to your industry:

  • A free download. Whether it be a checklist, a small ebook or maybe a guide that is useful to customers in your industry.
  • An exclusive. People love getting access to something that no one else can. So maybe it’s first  access to when you open up a new product or program.
  • It might be a small discount (again, not too much that skews your results) on something they can’t immediately cash in on. This helps deter people that are just doing it for the reward.

Communicating the points above are key, but this should give you a good start to generating some responses.

When you advertise your questionnaire, NEVER call it a 'survey.' Click To Tweet

How can you use the results from your questionnaire

This is the best part. Once you get people going through and giving you their answers, you can get some absolute pieces of gold, particularly out of that open-ended question.

A good exercise is to copy and paste all the text from the open ended answer into a word cloud generating website. A word cloud is one of those things where you get all the words jumbled, and they’re different directions, and some are bigger and some are smaller depending how commonly they’re used. This helps find the type of language your customers like to use. An example of a word cloud is below:


You can turn their biggest challenges in to problems you solve. You can then allude to these in sales copy and email subject lines.

For instance, if they say “My biggest challenge is when this happens because of XYZ,” you can then use that for the copy in a Facebook advertisement like this.

“Don’t you hate it when XYZ happens causing this? Find out how you can solve it in 3 easy steps using our product/guide/formula”

People will go “Yes! I do! I hate that!” They know, they have that reaction of “Gee, this company knows what’s going through my head”

You can also take all of those challenges that people mention and product content to solve them.

No more wondering what to blog about, they’ve just created your content calendar for you.

Titles of your posts could be ’10 Things to Solve XYZ Challenge’. Those open ended questions are going to provide a lot of things that you can use going forward.

When analysing your data, you should try link the challenge with the demographics of the other multiple choice questions you asked.

The reason you do this is you can then create ‘buckets’ of audiences within the emails you collected to then send them more targeted emails. Taking this segmented approach will continue that ‘this person knows what I’m thinking’ feeling from your potential customers.

When you analyse the data try to determine if anything stands out. You can use this information in different ways.

For instance, if you’ve got one particular age group that stands out then you might want to change the imagery that you’re using in your ads of people that are in that particular age group. If they can’t relate to it, then there’s no use using those images.

Lastly, use the data to help build your Facebook Audiences (known in the advertising console as ‘Ad Sets’).Using the right demographics into any ad set helps become more targeted and you know that it’s going to be relevant to those people who are seeing the ads.

Your Turn?

How have you used questionnaires in your business successfully before? Is this a tactic you’re going to use? Tell us in the comments or email us if use these tips, we’d love to feature any results.