E-A-T Alert! Run a Market Survey, Discover the Missing Statistic, Become the Go-To Source
Of the many types of content available to marketers, the humble market survey may be one of the least used. After all, surveys take a lot of planning; they require lots of people’s participation; they need technology to make them work; and results require some scientific analysis. And those steps are just the beginning, to give you something to talk about!
With so much work involved, can running a marketing survey be worth it?
Content marketer Andy Crestodina says the answer is a resounding yes — if you apply what he calls the “Missing Statistic Theory.” Having just completed a massive survey of 1000+ bloggers for Orbit Media Studios, Andy talked to us about what he learned in a Hangout On Air this week. In the conversation he gives lots of practical insights for running a successful survey and explains how a marketing survey can make a website THE go-to source in an industry for years to come.
Applying the Missing Statistic Theory for Surveys
The results of the recent “1000+ Bloggers” survey have been widely discussed. Copyblogger called the survey “great research, great content.” But nowhere has anyone talked about the why and how of the survey itself — until now. In our discussion, Andy reveals what he considers the key factor to making a survey with lasting marketing value as link-worthy, authority-building content.
The Missing Statistic Theory boils down to this: “Every industry has conventional wisdom: statements that people say a lot, but haven’t necessarily been supported or proven.” These statements are the missing statistics for that industry. If you design a survey that discovers the answer (based on data) and then publish the results, you become the go-to source and authority for that statistic.
For its recent survey of bloggers, Orbit Media Studios chose the conventional wisdom statement “blogging takes time” and designed a market survey that would find out how much time. By including such a large survey population, with more than 1000 bloggers, the results credibly answer the question. The survey proved the truth of the statement “blogging takes time” and actually discovered how much time — an average of 2.5 hours per post.
Expect the Orbit Media Studios stat to be quoted in presentations, blog posts and infographics from here on out. This is exactly the kind of content that demonstrates expertness, authority and trustworthiness (coined E-A-T in Google’s latest quality rating guidelines) that Google is so hungry for.
Finding Your Missing Stat
For every industry there are bound to be similar “frequently asserted by rarely supported” statements that can be surveyed and turned into content-marketing gold. Some examples Andy shared during the Hangout:
- Optometry: A conventional wisdom statement might be: “People don’t get their eyes checked often enough.” A survey could ask people, “When was the last time you had your eyes checked?” The results could be shared that though getting an eye exam every 12 months is recommended, “patients on average only get their eyes checked every X years” — which could be used to support all of the services your optometry business provides.
- Skin care: For the statement “people don’t wear enough sunscreen,” a skin care company could survey dermatologists and come up with a statistic such as “8 out of 10 dermatologists surveyed said people do not wear enough sunscreen.”
- Gum: For many years, Trident ran television commercials advertising their gum that ended with the statement, “4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.”
When you use data to support your claims, it makes everything else you say seem stronger. Yet marketers frequently forget this basic truth. What are the “frequently asserted but rarely supported” statements in your industry? They could be the seed for your next successful marketing survey that will not only back up your own marketing offers, but also attract links, and raise your authority as an industry source.
Tips for Running a Successful Marketing Survey
Andy shares many practical tips on how to do a survey right, based on his experience. Here are a few — watch the full video conversation (embedded below) to hear more!
- Choose a survey topic with industry value: Follow Andy’s Missing Statistic Theory and you’ll be golden.
- Keep it short & sweet: Limit the number of questions and make them straightforward. You want to set the bar low so it’s easy for people to participate.
- Include space for comments: For at least some of the questions, provide an optional text box for participants to write a longer response in addition to the quantifiable yes/no or multiple-choice answers.
- Build a participant list: Use LinkedIn to build your list of qualified respondents. (TIP: Tag them to make follow-up easier.)
Invite people individually, if necessary: Andy calls this using “brute force” — contacting potential respondents with handwritten emails, one at a time, in a massive manual outreach. It’s time-consuming, but addressing people personally increases the chance they’ll participate and builds the relationship.“Anytime you interact with people, you should make it as high-touch and high-quality as possible.” – Andy Crestodina
- Quote participants in the results: By including some of the best comments in your results with the people’s names (and pictures, if possible), you instantly make them co-creators and allies in promoting your content.
Think about promotion: From the very start, consider how you plan to promote your survey results. For instance, Orbit Media Studios surveyed bloggers because they would naturally be inclined to write about and promote the results.“The best content is created with the promotion process in mind.” – Andy Crestodina
Watch the full interview to find out more: