Many marketers would agree that superior content marketing that creates high quality Content is no easy feet. There are many hours, blood, sweat and tears that go into the planning and execution of months of content and not to mention, a lot of questions that need to be answered. Who exactly is viewing your content? What is their perception of it? Is your content influencing the decisions they made?
…And the list goes on.
As you may recall from your high school Statistics class, the best way to answer these questions is to conduct surveys. As a content marketer, you always want to make sure your content is attracting the ideal customer, positioning the brand the way you intend and creating quality results. Developing survey questions that support these three objectives can give you a lot of valuable insight, which you can use to adjust your content accordingly. The key, however, is to learn how to accurately analyze the results of a survey before making decisions based on its data. Even the most perfectly designed survey is useless if you relay incorrect perceptions of results to the stakeholders. Truly understanding your results is what makes the difference between a good content marketing and superior content marketing.
Now before you jump in to analyze results, remember that asking the right questions is just as important. The type of questions you include will determine how you analyze them. You can find tips on how to write good survey questions here.
See the Big Picture
The first step in interpreting survey results is to take an overall look at your data. Consider questions such as; How many people participated in the survey? What was the response rate? What was the average time respondents spent completing the survey and how well do these people represent your target audience? This will help in determining how valuable your data is to begin with and identify if there are any potential biases skewing the results.
Focus on Large Differences
When you take a first look at your results, don’t get swept up by the small details, no matter how unusual they are. Prioritize the large differences in data first and try to identify trends. Also, you want to remain skeptical of your results until you have conducted your survey multiple times. This will help you get a feel for what is considered “normal” and identify defective questions. If you get very different responses for the same question each time, its safe to say that question is an unreliable indicator.
Choose the Correct Visual Representation of Data
As a rule of thumb, you want to represent your data in the form of graphs rather than tables. Visual representation of data is much easier to interpret and can help make sense of large data with many factors. Tables are more useful when you need to focus on precise numbers, but graphs take huge chunks of data and simplify them.
Don’t Get Stuck on Your Hypothesis
If you design an impeccable survey, get the results back and notice the responses do not reflect what you had expected, don’t panic! Most people refuse to believe things that are contrary to their expectations but it is important to refine and re-conduct your survey multiple times until you’ve confirmed the findings are legitimate. Do they reflect poor brand perception? No worries, this may just be a blessing in disguise. The truth is sometimes ugly but its better to find it and take care of it sooner rather than later.
Cross Tabulate Demographic Characteristics
Cross tabulation is a statistical tool used to analyze categorical data (data separated into different mutually exclusive categories). This tool allows you to compare the relationship between two different variables and really delve in to the meaning of your data rather than just skimming it on the surface level. Without completing this integral step you can highly skew the interpretation of your results and lead to poor marketing decisions. For example, you may want to divide responses by demographic characteristics such as age and gender. When you know the relationship and associations between your data points, you can pinpoint differences in target market attitudes according to gender, location, age groups, etc.
Okay, I know this part sounds exhausting and complicated but that’s what commercial grade survey technology is for. Almost every survey software available today already comes with built-in cross tabulation capability to do the work for you.
Open Ended Questions and Customer Language
The cream of the crop in superior content marketing is the “Open Ended Question” where participants are free to answer in a text box using their own language. Although it can be a pain to have to manually read through each answer in order to collect its insights, it may be the most valuable survey question available to Content Marketers. The reason for this is that it exposes you to the tone, writing style, and language your audience uses to communicate. Making decisions on tone and writing style for your content has never been easier! Make sure to add one open-ended question to your survey for this purpose solely.
So, the next time you want to get useful, actionable feedback about your content, use your survey know-how to find out what people think. They are great at reducing the uncertainty around important content decisions. However, they also create expectations so once you’ve made sense of your data don’t forget to act on the conclusions you’ve made!