Great Survey Response

I send a survey to AdWords For Dummies readers a few days after they sign up for the Gold Key section of the website. I do this to find out what questions people have, what level of internet marketing and AdWords savvy they possess, what additional products and services I have a chance of selling to my list, etc.

One of the questions is, "If you could spend 30 minutes on the phone with me, what would you ask?"

Usually, I hear things like, "How to get more clicks… how to choose a market… which tools to use…" Stuff like that.

I just received an anonymous survey response with a really great answer, that I have to share:

Survey: If you could spend 30 minutes on the phone with me, what would you ask?
Respondent: How are you?

Reminds me of a line in one of my daughter’s favorite books, Indigo’s Star, by Hilary McKay:

History test question: "What would you say to Tutankhamen if you bumped into him on the street?"
Student’s answer: "Sorry."

So, I write about this because it amuses me, but I’m now casting about for a marketing lesson to wrap around the story, so you don’t feel like I’ve wasted your time.

Maybe it’s this: most of the other 105 completed surveys have given me an insight into my market that makes it very easy for me to connect with readers. It’s very hard to create from a blank sheet of paper. It’s fairly easy to answer someone’s questions (when you know the answers, that is).

We all know that we need to constantly create new and valuable content to compete for attention online. Yet most of us don’t feel like writers (me included, at least 80% of the time), and wonder how in the world we’ll find anything new to write about our industry.

Just find a way to systematically collect your prospects’ most pressing questions, and you’ll have fodder for more writing than you’ll have time for.

I use – their basic service is free, their interface is simple and intuitive, and I like the color scheme of their website (I know, I’m shallow).

Survey responses will also give you invaluable data about your AdWords account – which words to bid on, what to say in your ads, etc. Nothing like knowing the mind of your market if you want to make them happy.

And to the anonymous survey respondent, if you’re reading this:

"I’m fine, thanks. And you?"


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  1. #1 • David Rothwell said on April 23 2008:

    Hi Howie, you may not remember me but we’ve met a couple of times at Perry’s seminar and last year’s System. I correspond a bit with Bryan.

    Your article puts me in mind of the Turing test – how to discover whether you’re conversing with a machine or a human (since you’re not face-to-face).

    Following this theme there’s a truly excellent book called “The Adolescence of P-1” by Thomas J Ryan (sadly his only work to my knowledge and out of print). It’s SF which may not be to your taste but it’s a great read and even though about ancient computers still relevant in terms of human questions (and where a machine becomes human through programming).

    Also, synchronicity and the ghost in the machine are at work here as i just signed up Today for your Winner Alert service.

    See you in Chicago?