[ad#inline]Many businesses monitor and track their website by using web analytic software. This is great for finding out how your customers found your website however does not tell you how all your walk-in traffic has found you. For this reason, polling your walk-in customers is vital to refining your marketing strategy and your marketing budget.
Polling your customers does not have to be a hard or invasive task. In this article, I will go over a few simple ideas that most small businesses can easily do. These ideas are just that, ideas. Each small business owner will know what works and what does not work for their type of business.
Common Ways People Find Your Business
You will want to keep your list short yet still helpful to you. To do this, ask for only a broad range. For example, instead of asking which radio station they heard you on, you may want to just ask if they heard you on the radio. Also if you are doing any special marketing such as business referrals, you may want to add that as an option to your poll. Some of the commons options are as follows:
- Search Engine
- Mobile Phone Search
- Word of Mouth
- Print Ad
- Website Referral
Make It Part of Your Checkout Process
The best way to poll your customers is to ask during the checkout process. As your employees and yourself checks out a customer, simply ask them how they heard about your small business. As long as you are friendly when you do this, the customer should not feel as if this question is an invasion of their privacy. As the customer answers, just pick which category you feel their response would fall under.
There are several ways to log these responses. One of the easiest and quickest ways is to have a tally sheet and just mark off each customer as they answer. Another way to do this is to build the poll into your checkout system. This method may require custom programing to make it happen, however it also may allow you better benefits later on such as advanced reporting.
Create a Survey Card
Another method for polling your customers is to create a survey or comment card. This method easily allows you to add more questions than just the one. It is important to keep this survey short, or your customers will not take the time to fill it out. The major problem with with this method verses the previous method is that you will have to rely on customers choosing to take the time to fill out this card. This may limit your responses.
Another method, which is the most costly, would be to mail out a thank you card to each of your customers, thanking them for taking the time to visit your business. In this postcard, you can place a link to an online poll or allow them to mail this post card back with whatever questions you place on it. Because this method has the customer having to perform an action after they have left your place of business, this method will get the fewest results.
Tabulate Your Results
After you have collected your data, be sure to tabulate your results. If possible, also run a report that shows how much money came in from each type of media. With this information, you should be able to see where you should continue to put your marketing dollars.
I know several companies that have taken this approach. One was spending almost nothing on website marketing, however they were spending around 1,000 a month on radio advertising. After polling their customers, they found that only about 1 customer a month was coming from the radio advertising. They found that most of their customers were finding them via their website. They found that out of the 12,000 dollars they spent over a 12 month period, they yielded less than 12 customers, most of which had spent low amounts.
Remember that one method may work great for one industry, it may not work so great for yours. By knowing where your customers are coming from, you will know where to stick you money