Tuesday, April 24, 2012

capturing information + insights with surveys

If you think conducting a survey means canvassing your neighborhood with a clipboard and tallying results, you’ve got it wrong.

Surveys are an effective, affordable and underutilized business tool that small business owners and community organizations can use to obtain information and evaluate what’s most important to their customers and neighbors.

All well-planned projects require the input of outsiders to make sure everyone is not just adequately served but also content, and technology makes it easier than ever to tap the audience you most want to reach.

In fact, Neighborhood Notes conducted our own survey at the beginning of the year, shedding invaluable light on who you are and what’s important to you, thus allowing us to tailor the stories we write for you.

This article is not about the particulars of survey design but is rather intended to stimulate you to think about what kinds of information and insights you can creatively capture about your audience, customers and neighbors to help your business or neighborhood project move forward in the right direction.

Why Should You Conduct A Survey?

You could simply capture demographic information and feedback from your customers, but if you’re considering making a change, big or small, in your business, you’d be wise to get the input of your biggest supporters: your customers.

In spring 2008, Jo Carter, the proprietress of the clothing boutique Physical Element, says, “I had made the decision to do away with the last remnants of active sportswear and commit to 100 percent international and local fashion. A big relaunch was underway.”

While Carter made this decision on her own, she was still nervous about how it would be received. A simple survey, conducted via the email marketing software Constant Contact, “really confirmed that the direction we were taking was spot on,” Carter says. “It told us how much our service was appreciated..."

Get more creative tips on how to craft your next survey on Neighborhood Notes.

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