When Did You Last Survey Your Blog (or Newsletter) Readers?

By Ali Luke

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what your readers were interested in?

Well, there’s a very easy way to find out: run a survey.

Every time I do this, the results surprise me.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I asked my newsletter readers a bunch of questions, including how often they’d like to receive the newsletter. At the time, I was emailing once or twice a month.

The majority of readers wanted weekly emails – which surprised me, as I thought that would be too much.

And I know I’m not the only blogger who’s been surprised by the gulf between what they think readers want and what those readers really want. Last year, Michael Hyatt was posting five times a week – but after surveying his readership, he wrote:

To my surprise 81 percent of my readers voted three times a week or less. … In other words, I am apparently creating more content than the majority of my audience wants to consume.

Five Important Questions to Ask Your Readers

If you use SurveyMonkey, you can ask ten questions using a free account (and collect and view up to 100 responses). These are five great ones for any blogger to use:

1. What stage are you at? (Multiple choice.)

Is your audience composed of total beginners, established experts, or something in between? When we surveyed the DailyBlogTips audience, we found that almost a quarter of readers hadn’t yet started their blog.

2. Which topics interest you? (Multiple choice; allow readers to check several options.)

Are you posting about the right topics? Perhaps your blog is full of techy tips when your readers really want strategic advice. When I survey readers of my writing blog Aliventures, I ask them to tell me what areas of writing they’re interested in – e.g. novels, short stories, poetry, freelancing, blogging …

3. Do you have any questions / problems you’d like me to address? (Open-ended.)

Always include at least one open-ended question on your surveys. You’ll find out all sorts about your readers that you wouldn’t have thought to ask. Their questions and problems are blogging gold: easy ideas for posts that you know will go down well with your audience.

4. How much would you pay for … (Multiple choice.)

If you’re planning to launch a new product, ecourse or service, you need to know what readers will pay. This is an important one to ask because the answer will very often not match with what you had in mind! Readers might not have as much to spend as you hoped – or they might be willing to pay much more than you thought. (I’ve had both results!) Make sure you include “nothing” as an option.

5. What’s your email address? (Optional.)

You certainly shouldn’t add these people to your mailing list, but you could contact respondents to ask them to clarify an answer – or to let them know you’ve written a post to answer their question. Always allow readers the option to remain anonymous.

 

So … over to you! If you’ve surveyed your readers recently, what did you find out? And if you haven’t run a survey lately (or ever), when will you get yours set up?




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1 Response to “When Did You Last Survey Your Blog (or Newsletter) Readers?”

  • Shawn Gossman

    I tend to survey members on my various message forums once a year after the 3rd quarter. I like to add something huge to the forums each year to keep them interesting. However, I am waiting a bit before I do it on my blogs – waiting for more readership. I like to focus on writing and developing reputation the first year of blogging.

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