As an award-winning customer service rep in my 20's I know a thing or two about creating surveys for your customer. Today I talk about asking your audience and how to get more people to fill out your survey.

Last 5 in 5 with John Wilkerson

John Wilkerson of was on episode 440 discussing podcasting with seven kids in the house. Today he shares with us the last five podcasts he listened to:

Spirit Blade Podcast – Geek Entertainment and Faith

The Sci -Fi Christian – Sci Fi Topics from a Christian perspective.

Scott Sigler's Books – Sci -Fi Author

School of Podcasting's Morning Announcements _ This Podcast

Homeschooling in Real Life – Telling it like it is in the world of homeschooling


Podcast Rewind: [8:32]

I recently appeared on the Coachzing Show talking about how to Create a Compelling Podcast. on the Relaunch Show I talk about Overcoming Personal and Financial Bankrupcy with with Joel and Pei. The Coachzing show is dedicated to helping coaches, therapists, speakers and authors work less, earn more, and help more people through creative content marketing strategies. The ReLaunch show is a Daily Radio Show for Career Changers, Difference Makers and Those with a Dream. Features interviews of today’s most in-demand experts, thought leaders, and ReLaunch! artists.

When in Doubt – Ask Your Audience [14:04]

PolldaddyYou can win a free year at the School of Podcasting by taking our Audience Survey.

It would be interesting to see how many times I provide the answer, “Ask your audience.” It is what appears to be an obvious choice, but I'm not sure if we don't want to bother them, but we often use an audience poll as a last resort. We might feel that we are bugging them. In the end the people who take part in your survey (1 – 5 % of your audience) are the most engaged in your audience and are doing it to support you . As your audience is made up of adults, it not a bad idea to explain why you are doing the poll, but we will get into that later.

What Can I Learn From An Audience Poll

Demographics (age, sex, income, location)

Expectations (Tell your potential audience the topic of your podcast and see what they would expect to hear).

Find a gap (What is the most common frustration when listening to podcasts).

Help you choose a name or logo when you are launching your podcast.

What language they use to describe your show (this is valuable in marketing material – it is the native tongue of your audience).

Have them rank your segments (you may find there are segments that nobody consumes)

Psychographics (lifestyle, interests, dreams, pain points).

Behaviors (How do they consume your show, how often, how long).

Before You Design Your Survey

What is the objective of the poll? What are you looking for? Write down the objective? (future content, sponsors)

What is the goal of this survey?
Why are you creating this survey?
What do you hope to accomplish with this survey?
How will you use the data you are collecting?

You will use your objectives to help create the questions

Short and To the Point

Survey Monkey research (along with Gallup and others) has shown that the survey should take 5 minutes or less to complete. 6 – 10 minutes is acceptable but we see significant abandonment rates occurring after 11 minutes.

When Surveys are Too Long

People drop out: They simply quit taking the survey.  Having a reward for completion can reduce drop-outs, but you can’t stop it completely.

People stop paying attention
: Remember your Jr. High School friend who just filled in random bubbles during a test? He grew up. If it takes too long to take your survey, he might do it again.

Keep it Clear

To ensure that you collect valid survey results, make sure you include instructions on how to answer the survey.

Each question should be clearly stated so that there is no misunderstanding about what is being asked.

When developing your survey questionnaire, you want to make certain that you are asking the questions in a neutral way, ie that you are not leading them toward a particular answer. This may seem simple, but when you are writing questions you will often find that the way you phrase the question may reflect your underlying opinion. Here is an example of a leading question:

Instead of doing you think this microphone sounds better than the old one? Instead, it might be “What do you think about the sound of this microphone?”

Survey Flow

There are some rules of thumb:

1) Questions about behavior (factual information) should be before those about attitude (opinions, emotions, preferences)

2) General questions should be before those that are more specific

3) Potentially sensitive questions should be asked later in the survey, once rapport has been established

Question Strategies

It is best to use non-structured questions when you are exploring new ideas and you don't really know what to expect from the respondents.

Any easy way to get insights is to use a scale. Always use an even number of choices. If I say rank this 1 – 5, people can go right down the middle and choose 3. If they have to rank 1-4, they have to choose 2, or 3. One is a little better tthanthe other.

One key ingredient when dealing with adults is to include the “Why.” As easy as it is to click a few buttons, in the end knowing “why” will help them push through to the end of the survey. If they understand that they may receive better content, a better schedule, etc. it may inspire them to answer.

Keep your answers private.

When In Doubt Bribe Them

Even if your survey is short, you might have to provide some incentive to get more people to participate. Amazon gift cards, lottery tickets (is that legal), a free product can be used. The good news is the more you get to know your audience, the better bribes you will be able to come up with.

Free Tools For Creating Surveys

There are tons of plugin (see here and here). There are websites like that allow you to do a free survey (up to 100 respondents with 10 questions).]

The tool I use is Polldaddy. it is owned by the people behind WordPress and their free service is almost unlimited (1000 responses per month).

Take Our Poll and Win a Free Year at the School of Podcasting

Take Our Survey!

Mentioned In This Episode

Podcasting Good to Great: How to Grow Your Audience Through Collaboration


Check out Google Forms for a free tool with unlimited questions.

Daily Podcast Tips

Daily Podcast Tips! Put Your Inbox to Work

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.
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