Annual Survey Results and the Power of Asking Your People What They Want

Annual Survey Results and the Power of Asking Your People What They Want

Every year I do a survey of my community. In reality I’m always checking in with you.

Asking you what’s going on in your world, what’s your biggest challenge and how can I help.

There’s are many great reasons for this, that any smart entrepreneur should know and they are:

Reason #1. Asking better questions gets you and your community and clients better results.

Why? Because the gold nuggets you glean from surveys, conversations and feedback people give you are worth their weight in gold.

From this you can operate from a space of knowing, versus guessing. You can create offers that your audience wants and actually needs.

Reason #2. Asking better questions lets you keep a pulse on what’s important

Things change and you need to keep on top of and ahead of the curve with regards to trends, technology, industry, consumers and the economy.

Right now, more than ever is an example of how things can change rapidly before our eyes.

From a purely business point of view – whole industries are on their knees, businesses that were once giants are shutting down, there’s mass panic, a looming financial recession and chaos.

On the flip side, there are opportunities opening up that never existed and more possibility than ever – in my opinion.

Many businesses are thriving… I mean who else wishes they’d bought shares in Zoom way back, or even in the last 8 weeks?

I’ve been using Zoom since around 2013 and love them.

Yet they started in 2011, not long after a financial crisis. They saw the trend towards more virtual and remote work and created a product to serve this growing audience.

Now as the entire world moves to remote and virtual work (hello to all of us who’ve been doing this already for over a decade!).

As their founder Eric Yuan said in their blog on April 1, 2020

“Usage of Zoom has ballooned overnight – far surpassing what we expected when we first announced our desire to help in late February. This includes over 90,000 schools across 20 countries that have taken us up on our offer to help children continue their education remotely. To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.”

Just as the pandemic reality was hitting really hard, I wrote my highly popular article: 12 Ways to Get Paid to Be You – Even During a Recession or Crisis.

In it I outline ways you can get to work right now and get paid to be yourself, or get paid to promote other peoples’ stuff.

In it I highlight give industries that typically thrive in a recession and boy is that coming true in more ways than one. So make sure you read it.

But so are industries like office furniture and supplies as our world finds themselves in lockdown and working (or going crazy) from home.

Virtual fitness classes and online learning – in fact at 11am I’m off to work out live with a Les Mills Instructor on Instagram for one of four classes they offer up for free each day.

the power of asking

Or I could just switch to their on demand classes they’ve actually had for years but right now have soared in popularity.

I could go on, and I will be sharing more examples on my blog and podcast for you, but let’s stay focused shall we?

Reason #3. It keeps you top of mind in your customers’ eyes and shows you care.

Because you do care! Why else would you be in business if you don’t want to impact other people’s lives?

As entrepreneurs I like to think we are programmed to design, create and deliver solutions that make our people feel better, be better, live better and love better!

We are also programmed to watch and act on trends, the news and grassroots movements so we can stay relevant and resonate.

So if you check in regularly, take an interest, be curious and genuinely care, they notice it.

And a happy customer typically sticks around and becomes a repeat customer and then you form a deep and lasting relationship with them.

Just like the gorgeous Claudia Gross who has been a long-time community member and now client who recently emailed to say:

“Additionally I’m thinking about joining your book writing accelerator – yay!

You might have seen this coming 😉

Feel a bit cheesy to join you in this one too – am I really not able to do it without your support? Will I join every program you offer? Forever? 😀 <3”.

Receiving messages like this really makes my day and touches me because I know the way I turn up, and the energy I put into my business, my content, my clients, my community, my offers DOES make a damn difference.

The Power of Asking Your People What The Want

One of my favourite books for getting to the heart of what you should ask, that has inspired several successful website quizzes I’ve done, is:

Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level

In his book, Ryan Levesque breaks down the art and the science behind figuring out EXACTLY what your prospects want and then delivering it.

When I worked through his book and methodology for my Suitcase Entrepreneur quiz it was a total hit and super popular from an optin perspective.

But more importantly, it clearly segmented up visitors to my website and therefore my audience into ‘buckets’ that were defined.

For me these were:

  • The Daydreamer (in a day job, sidehustle and wanting to start an online business)
  • The Hustler – a few months or years in and doing whatever they could to figure out how to make their business work.
  • The Superhero – several years in business but still doing everything themselves and needing to build systems and outsource.
  • The Freedomist – running a successful business and now looking for more personal growth and to scale, while not working less and enjoying more freedom.

You can probably guess which buckets the majority of people fell into – in the startup phase of the Dreamer and Hustler.

So that instantly told me to make my content super valuable to those starting out and starting to grow, and create offerings to meet them where they were at in their journey.

Had I gone on my ‘gut instinct’ here or what I wanted to produce and offer, I would have been far off hitting the mark, and as a result my business would have suffered.

With this amazing intel, and the nuggets of information gained from surveys, I was instead able to build a thriving online business with happy customers.

Now it’s time to do that again…..

The Results of my Santa Survey Are In

I used my fave survey, quiz and engagement tool Typeform.

It just rocks and is highly worth paying for, even though they have a free plan. Their templates are great from onboarding, to hiring, course launches, to feedback, contact forms to party planning.

The logic functions and tests are great to and it’s got such a beautiful interface to both work with and interact with.

I themed mine around their Santa template because I wanted to make it fun for people to partake in, plus it was December. Each question looked like this multiple choice below or a one line answer.

the power of asking

I had 11 questions total – one of which was your name, and one your email. I probably could have asked less.

My main aim was, as it has always been, to understand where they’re at right now, where they want to be, what they need, what they want to learn, how they learn and specifically how they learn and engage with me.

I’ve shared the answers to the key questions below for you and for my community – I always do, this one’s just come a little later than I anticipated!

What’s one word to describe how 2019 was for you?

Interestingly, looking over these answers now makes it feel like some people already experienced something similar to what we are going through now.

Seems like 2019 people were doing it tough (extrapolating out my results with some bias thrown in).

The words that came up often were less on the positive side.

  • Challenging
  • Tough
  • Busy
  • Chaotic
  • Uneasy
  • Intense
  • Survival
  • Tense
  • Confusing
  • Testing
  • Lost
  • Overwhelming

But this was also mixed in with a few:

  • Transformative
  • Fascinating
  • Growth
  • Transitional
  • Healing
  • Awesome
  • Rewarding
  • Progressive

Then I transition to my all time favourite question, and one that you should definitely use yourself, except don’t make the mistake I did this time, of not specifying the niche or area.

What’s been your No#1 challenge in 2019?

Typically I follow this with [in your business] for example.

You may use [when it comes to X] like fitness, health, finances, goal-setting, writing etc.

The more specific you can be, the more you can identify the area you are a leading learner in or expert, and how you can best help them with their challenges.

I decided to bravely open it up and it certainly created some interesting responses.

However this also allowed me to get a greater sense of the whole person, not just one aspect of their world, which I found helpful for me personally.

Responses included strong themes or recurring patterns of:

  • focus, or lack of it, especially on your niche and your priorities
  • overwhelm, juggling too much and poor time management
  • financial woes, debt and lack of consistent income and making money
  • Business growth challenges and training and team retention
  • Personal growth, imposter syndrome, procrastination and finding your flow
  • Health problems and work/ life balance

Nothing too surprising here. We all deal with these areas on an everyday basis, but by seeing these ones come up most often, it helped me understand the key areas to focus on.

I then threw in a fun question of whether they’d been naughty or nice, to be fair it was part of the Santa themed template and I loved it.

If you’re curious, the ‘I’ve been awfully lovely’ won out at 66%.

From there, I used a logic jump to get them to the next question, which applied no matter what choice they made.

However, the results were separated out on Typeform so I could see whether that impacted their answers. It didn’t appear to.

Which of the following things do you wish for yourself most in 2020?

I asked them to choose as many answers as were applicable to 8 multiple choice answers. The results were:

No. 1: More profit 21.1%

No. 2: Adventure 15.8%

No. 3: More free time 12.1%

No. 4: Personal growth 18.9%

No. 5: Community 10.5%

No. 6 Equal: Accountability | Biz and Life Coaching 10%

the power of asking

Or if you prefer pretty pie graphs

the power of asking

Which of these do you most want to learn and master in 2020?

This next question helped me focus on where they saw themselves in terms of skills and knowledge, and what they personally saw as most important.

No. 1: Consistent content strategy 16.8%

No. 2: Recurring revenue streams 16.3%

No. 3: Profitable online offers 13.7%

No. 4: Email list building 12.6%

No 5: Sales funnels that work | Sassy systems so I can do more with less 11.6%

No. 6: Online advertising know-how 8.9%

No. 7: SEO and Traffic building 7.4%

Other 1.1%  (podcasting)

Again the pretty pie graph is below.

the power of asking

This surprised me actually. While content is important and builds value and your credibility over time, unless it’s tied to a clear profit plan and biz model, online offers that convert and upheld by sales funnels that works, it ain’t going to be very effective.

Sure it may help grow your email list, slowly but surely, and give you more visibility if you’re all over Instagram, Facebook or the new kid on the block Tik-Tok.

But if you’re leading them nowhere, then it’s a whole lot of effort for zero return.

Concentrating on advertising and optimizing your content with SEO to drive more traffic and leads IS however a smart move.

So this shows me a little education gap I can help to serve and correct for people to build profitable online businesses, and get paid to be them.

Note: My question options will have added in some bias here for sure, that’s why having ‘other’ is really helpful to know what else they care about.

How do you like to learn and consume content? 

Actually the original question they answered was: When it comes to how you like to learn and consume content, which of these floats your boat most? 😉

I freaking love asking this question as each year it changes depending on what’s becoming a more effective medium at attracting and keeping peoples’ attention.

The meteoric rise of videos has, at least in my community, finally outdone blogs and podcasts (at least in for these respondents).

Which is great as I have upped my video game in 2020, including my 29 Day Live Video Challenge I did in February that was most definitely a challenge, but also super fun.

Now I have my new ‘lock down’ office at home, AKA guest bedroom transformed, with a really cool feature wall that just happens to look great as a video backdrop, there are no excuses to not create more valuable videos!

Results were:

No. 1: Videos 20.5%

No. 2: Podcasts 17.8%

No. 3: Courses 16.8%

No. 4: Blog posts 13.5%

No. 5: Retreats 9.2%

Other 3.2% (Accelerators, Webinars and Live Events).

While I always want to keep asking this question, more so now than ever when I see Live Videos having a huge uptake as people seek connection or realise they need to take their business online and are seizing the opportunity….or simply to overcome their boredom.

It wouldn’t surprise me that podcast listenership has gone up too, and every form of content to be honest as people voraciously consume more.

To me this is happening to keep a sense of connection, for keep up to date with current affairs around Covid-19 and beyond, to get inspiration and motivation, to learn, to create and out of necessity to communicate with friends, family, coworkers and team members and every other essential person in their life.

Where do you like to learn and engage with me most?

This is the final question in my survey and one I personally am most curious about.

It’s followed only by asking for their email to share the results and follow up with them, and then a call to action to an offer in keeping with the survey theme.

So first off let’s check the responses.

To be fair these results were pretty surprising to me, and I had to dig deeper in my analysis behind why I think that is.

To put it in perspective, all previous annual surveys have shown email and my blog being fairly even as clear winners, then the podcast and Facebook. Not this time!

Results

No.1: Email 33.5%

No. 2: Live courses 14.8%

No. 3: LinkedIn 14.3%

No. 4: Untapped Podcast 9.9%

No. 5: Blog 8.8%

No. 6: YouTube videos 8.2%

No. 7: Facebook 6.6%

No. 8: Instagram 3.8%

This is where I get to ASK myself why this is?

The secret to any good survey is to make sure you analyse it and dig for gold. Sometimes you may need to dig deeper for reasons and answers.

First off this survey was sent out primarily to my email list, so it’s fair to say that email list should feature as No. 1 way they engage with me on the whole.

I’ve upped the amount of live courses and experiences I’ve been running since the last quarter of 2019 so this would have been more top of mind and where new customers found me thanks to affiliates too.

LinkedIn surprised me as my strategy on there is pretty scattered to be honest, and while I’ve seen a lot more people viewing my profile and I’ve been posting more regularly, I can’t say I’ve really paid attention to it enough – probably in my interests too!

The podcast was also a surprise as my downloads continue to increase and have risen around 50% in the last 6 months.

But a podcast listener isn’t necessarily on my email list and I didn’t ask them to partake in this survey. Still it means, if I extrapolate out the data to account for people in my community, people on my email list aren’t necessarily consuming my podcast.

I wonder also if my weekly emails to my list to share my new podcast post, aren’t necessarily converting people to listeners, but instead readers of the post, or who instead go on to read more on my site versus listen in.

Either way, I have work to do as my podcast is a key vehicle to my business – and has always been, and with the growth in listeners I need to make sure it converts into subscribers and customers.

Facebook’s rapid drop off likely reflects my lack of engagement on my Facebook page or directing people’s attention to it. Instead I’ve been enjoying upping it on my personal profile for both personal and business.

And I’ve not been running any ads, until now, which makes a difference.

Finally Instagram. This proves either that one of my fave platforms to engage on is not the fave of my community, or the people who responded to this survey just don’t care for it, or I don’t use Instagram well in order to put the right content out to my peeps.

It’s probably a combination of all three, so feel free to comment below to share your thoughts!

The Call to Action

Never leave engaged folks with nothing. As in always offer up a call to action beyond just a thanks for taking part.

If you want to be savvy in business, you need to keep creating reasons to connect and follow through. Which is why you should always have a call to action in all content you put out.

In every email, blog post, Facebook Live, webinar.

Free valuable content is great, but if that’s all you ever offer people just expect you to do everything for free and when you do put out something valuable that you want to charge for, they’ll be offended.

I might be generalising a little here, but it’s a pretty common oversight entrepreneurs make.

  1. Free doesn’t give you a profitable business.
  2. People don’t value free – not for long anyway!

If you’re interested, was a discount to my Plan Your Ideal Freedom Year online workshop, as a way of thanking them for partaking in my survey, and the uptake was solid.

It was December remember, and everyone was in planning mode for the epic year of 2020 ahead, and a new decade to bring about fresh hopes and dreams.

Who could have known how by February and into March, our worlds would be turned upside down.

What to do with your Survey Results?

First off, don’t leave them to be analysed for as long as I have. Don’t get me wrong I read every answer as they came in.

I’ve scoured the results several times, and created content to speak to many of the respondents needs over the last few months.

However it’s best to honour your word – as in “Hey Natalie, you said you’d share those survey results. When can I expect that?”

To be fair, no-one has bothered to actually ask me that.

But all you have is your word, so honour it…. I’m speaking to myself and you here 🙂

Do you have to share your results publicly?

No. Of course not. But I do because I’m transparent and like to share.

I won’t share names or emails, because that’s a matter of privacy.

If you need to be able to do that in order for your survey results to be valid or stand up to a certain rigour or level, then make sure you ask people if it’s ok to share their answers publicly.

When I ask for people to give me their email it’s in order to share the results. When I ask people to take the survey I tell them I will share the results with everyone.

Use the results to be of service

This should be a no brainer. Create valuable offers that your respondents asked for when they told you their challenges, needs and desires.

If you need to, jump on a phone call with a few of the respondents that best reflect your ideal avatar. Ask them if they’re open to answering more in-depth questions.

This will only help you create a more targeted and solutions focused offer – such as a digital product, service, program, course or package.

If you see something in an individual’s response that you can help them with now, follow them up. 

When I first looked at the results I followed up with people who were wanting to launch a course and shared my Launch Your Damn Course Accelerator details with them, in case it was a fit.

I had a few people answer that they didn’t have time to write, so I shared with them my Write Your Damn Book 60 day Live Experience, in case it was a fit.

Get personal. Be personal. Follow up like a human and you’ll get a human response – usually a very positive one that leads to a new client or customer!

What am I doing with my Survey Results?

Great question, so glad you asked!

The free text responses I got to the one question not featured in this post, which was:

If you could wave a magic wand and get exactly what you want in 2020, what would it be?

As you can imagine, this was gold. It has helped me better understand what’s important to people, what matters in their world, what’s top of mind and what I can personally help them with.

Honestly I’m being called to serve you in more ways than I can imagine right now, and help you get paid to be you.

Which has led me to coming up with not ONE but TWO focused offers to best serve my community.

From these survey results I’m about 88% certain these are going to be immensely helpful and timely.

However, since SO much has changed in the last 3 months, I’ve created a new survey that I’d love you to fill in, that will help me ensure what matters to you still matters.

It will also highlight your most pressing needs right now in light of this pandemic and unique situation we find ourselves in.

You may be just surviving, or you may be thriving, and I need to meet you where you’re at.