Ask the Right People

26.07.2018 |

Episode #5 of the course How to conduct a market research survey by Nick Freiling


You learned how to program your survey yesterday. Now it’s time to find the right audience—people whose opinions will help you refine your product or service idea.

A survey is useless unless the right people take it.

You may have a list of people already—a MailChimp list, your existing customer’s email addresses, etc. That’s great! But typically, it’s tough to get anyone to sit down (even for just five minutes) to take an online survey. Too often, my clients get disappointed when only a handful of their 10,000 customers took their survey.

While it’s good to leverage your network and ask friends and colleagues to take your survey, ideally, you’ll work with a panel provider to make sure you get enough responses from the right people. Below, I discuss three important aspects of fielding your survey through a panel provider.


Panel Providers

Panel providers are companies that maintain lists of thousands, even millions, of email addresses for people all around the world. These include companies like Cint, SSI, and Precision Sample. They organize these lists according to hosts of demographic data so they can send targeted web traffic to your survey. These targeted groups of people are called “panels.”

Working with a panel provider is a great idea, but you need to prepared to pay. Typically, responses start at $1 per complete for an untargeted (general population) survey, and you shouldn’t have to pay for anything but complete responses. If your survey is highly targeted (say, at lawyers or accountants), the price-per-complete can rise as high as $20.

To get a sense of how much this might cost, inquire at It’s a platform that helps access different panels of respondents on an as-needed basis.


Half to Your Guess, Half to Chance

You don’t necessarily know who’s going to be interested in your product. But you probably have a pretty informed guess. That said, it’s still important not to assume that you know who you should and shouldn’t survey. So, choose half of your survey sample based on your guess about who is likely to be interested, and leave the other half up to “chance.”

There are some nuances here. If your product idea is designed specifically for women, don’t include men in your audience. But if it’s, say, a backpack designed for college students, you should probably include non-student adults too—you may find that commuters, for example, are even more interested in your product than students.


Smaller Target, Higher Cost

Finally, keep in mind that smaller your target market, the harder they are to reach, and the more expensive your panel will be. For example, say your product idea is for bakery owners in Kalamazoo. Last I checked, there are only a few dozen bakeries in Kalamazoo, and probably just a few of their owners are part of any given online survey panel.

On the other hand, if your product is for college students, you won’t be paying more than $2 per completed response, since there are millions of college students, and a good percentage of them belong to at least one online survey panel.

Keep these things in mind when finding your respondents. Next, we’ll discuss how to get these respondents to sit down and take your survey.


Recommended book

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 by Ryan Levesque


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