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 your customers want. And if all your leads want the same thing.

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.

Survey best practices: start your sales funnel the right way

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 on her email list. On her landing page, visitors are encouraged to sign up in exchange for educational content.

image of eventual millionaire's landing home page

So far, the sales funnel probably looks familiar. We’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 a simple survey:

image of survey best practices: getting actionable data from cold traffic

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:

  1. It builds action-taking momentum. Once people answer this question, they’ve taken an action and will be more likely to continue onwards.
  2. 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.
  3. Answering this question gets them to think briefly about their business. This triggers an 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 life easier. By asking what they are struggling with, you’re basically asking, “What should I sell you?”

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. Take it away, Mr. Ford:

image of Henry Ford's famous quote about people wanting faster horses

People are, however, good at telling you want 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 to boost your conversions

By using this simple survey, Jamie is able to:

  1. Learn surprising insights from every lead
  2. Use those insights to segment people and show the most relevant content
  3. Be aware of changes in customer behavior as soon as they happen
  4. 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 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.

image of a live yesinsights survey using a survey best practice of getting actionable data from new prospects

Our welcome 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 also 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.

image of zapier integrating yesinsights into intercom to update customer profiles

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.

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. It can actually ‘soften’ your leads up for the conversion down the line if you ask the right questions.

If you want to boost your conversions, you must be getting actionable feedback on a consistent basis. When you’re ready for action, get started with YesInsights and let us know if you need any help!

Simple one-question and NPS surveys to improve your business.

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