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In content marketing, it’s always nice to be able to accomplish two things at the same time. If you can gather useful information that will help you create future content at the same time that you’re giving your audience interactive content, you’ve uncovered the holy grail of content marketing. And that’s exactly what you can accomplish with a content marketing survey.

When you send out a content marketing survey to your customers or followers, you’re giving them an engaging piece of content to interact with. At the same time, you’re gathering info that can help you pick and choose subjects and formats for future content, and that can help you put together or adjust your content marketing strategy.

What Is a Content Marketing Survey?

A content marketing survey is a type of interactive content, meaning that it allows your audience to engage with it. Without input from the audience, a survey won’t be much use.

Surveys and other types of interactive content marketing give you a better insight into your audience and customers than basic demographic information does. For example, you might know that most of the people who visit your website or follow your brand on social media are women between the ages of 24 and 40, but so what? That doesn’t tell you what those women want or why they are following your brand, as Inc points out.

A survey would. Additionally, a content marketing survey helps to capture your audience’s attention. As Time noted, recent studies have revealed that the average person loses interest or stops paying attention after just eight seconds. Goldfish are more likely to pay attention for longer than most people.

But a well-designed survey hooks people in, getting them to keep advancing to the next question. Every time a new question pops up, the attention span clock resets.

What Makes a Great Content Marketing Survey?

A well-designed content marketing survey is more than simply a string of questions. A great survey is like the porridge Goldilocks finally settled down to eat. It’s not too long and it’s not too short. The questions aren’t so complicated that no one wants to answer them, but neither are they so shallow that you don’t get any real info from them.

Just like your content marketing strategy, the surveys you create should have goals. What do you hope to accomplish by having people fill out the survey? Are you looking to find ways to better interact with your audience, or do you want to know what else you can do to meet their needs?

Usually, the most effective surveys focus on just one subject area. If you’re a shoe company, you can send out a survey to customers to find out what styles they are interested in wearing. If you’re a restaurant, you can send out a survey to learn more about what types of foods your customers want to eat.

Try to do too much in one survey and it will lack focus. It’s also likely to be too long. Remember, you have a very limited amount of time to grab and keep people’s attention.

Examples of Great Content Marketing Surveys

You can turn useful content marketing surveys into new content for your brand, from blog posts to infographics and from white papers to ebooks. A few good examples of surveys that got transformed into engaging content include the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends – North America report, and LinkedIn’s The Secret Sauce.

Both reports compiled data taken from a range of surveys into graphics-heavy ebooks or white papers.

How Your Brand Can Use Content Marketing Surveys

If you find that you need a few ideas for content or want to get a sense of where your customers are and what they want or need, creating a survey is the way to go. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Use a survey creation tool.

You don’t need to code a survey yourself. There are several tools online, such as Google Surveys and Survey Monkey, that let you create surveys and send them to people. Some of the tools are free. But if you want more advanced features and the ability to brand your survey, you will have to pay a fee.

Ask closed questions about the past.

No one can see into the future — not even your customers. To get the most accurate and relevant results, ask about past experiences, not about the future. Keep the questions closed. Ask for a rating from 1 to 10 or yes/no questions. That way your audience doesn’t feel pressured to come up extended responses.

Don’t ask too many questions.

No one’s going to want to fill out a 25- or 40-question survey. Instead, you’ll get people who start the survey, then bail when they realize how long it will take. Give people an idea of the length the survey. One that works well is “this will take less than three minutes.” That way they’re more likely to answer it.

Know how to promote the survey.

Have a call to action somewhere that will direct people to the survey. Whether it’s at the bottom of a blog post or in a separate email message, make it clear and conspicuous. The Content Marketing Institute stresses the importance of timing when it comes to asking people to complete a survey. You don’t want to ask too early, before they’ve had a chance to get to your brand.

Offer an incentive.

You don’t have to. But if you give your audience something to sweeten the deal, they might be more likely to complete the survey.

Social Media Today points out that PaperSource offered customers 10 percent off of their next purchase for completing the survey. A small discount or a small freebie will go a long way toward convincing people to fill out a survey.

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