#55: How to Create a Survey to Find Your Target Market

In the last several weeks, I’ve been getting a product ready for launch. It’s called the Profit Lab…or, if you want the full title,

The Profit Lab:  How to Create Marketing Systems In Your Business So That You Can Find Your Target Market, Grow Your Email List and Sell More Products

I launch this product twice a year, and every year, I recreate it so that it stays fresh and valuable, even for people who have gone through it before. I make new videos, I rewrite the worksheets, all that good stuff.

This year, as I’ve been getting this product ready for launch, I wanted to make sure I was truly connecting with my target audience. After you’ve had some success with a product, it’s easy to start coasting on that success, which means you stay the same while your audience continues to grow and change and develop new needs. Not my style.  ;-)

To find out more about my target market, I needed to find out:

  • Where they are at, in terms of their business goals and growth.
  • What they needed from me
  • Where they were struggling, not just in their business as a whole but with the versions of the Profit Lab I’d released before.

Knowing all this was going to help me tailor this new version of the Profit Lab into exactly what my target audience desperately needs right now.

So I put together a survey. And the responses knocked my socks off!

The thing is, I knew who my target audience was, but I didn’t really know them the way I thought I did. The survey gave me a chance to understand how they think, what kind of language they use, what keeps them up at night, and why they come to me as opposed to anybody else in the online marketing world.

I learned so much from this experience of surveying my audience that I wanted to share some of those insights with you…how to create a survey that gets you into the minds and hearts of your target audience, so you design, redesign or market your products in direct response to their needs.

Image for Podcast 55

The result of this will be that you sell more of your products to them.

And don’t worry if you’re just starting out and your list isn’t that big yet. You can still design a survey that gets you these answers and helps you build your list…and I’ll tell you how.

I’ve also got a great freebie for you to download this week, which will give you lots more insight on creating a survey, as well as how to use the information it yields. Click here to download it now!

First Step: Design Your Questions

Remember, your survey isn’t a Gallup poll. You’re probably not trying to find out whether your audience is in their 20s or their 50s, if they are male or female, or other information like that. So before you start drafting questions, take a minute to think about what your survey is really trying to find out about your target market.

We all know that endless surveys with loads of questions get really, really boring. And you want to steer clear of that with your survey. So make sure that your questions are all focused on the goal of learning something specific about your target market that relates to the product you’re offering them.

You want to include bigger picture questions that give you a clearer picture of who they are and how they define success, as well as more focused questions, such as what products/services in your niche they’re already using, and what specific needs do they have that aren’t being fulfilled?

To get more in-depth guidance on how to design your survey questions, click here for the full episode.

Second Step: Get People Engaged

Obviously, the first step in the survey process is putting together something that they will agree to participate in.

While it never hurts to offer an incentive to entice people to take your survey, it’s a lot more effective to create a survey that is as painless as possible.

Contrary to popular opinion, a survey doesn’t have to be dull or dry. You can create a survey that is quick, enjoyable, and creates excitement around your upcoming product. Simply take the same approach you would with designing a product, answering a complaint, or anything else that involves interacting with your client: offer them a great experience.

Here’s how:

Give the survey your personal touch. Write it the way you’d write your blog, your emails, or anything else. This actually increases your rate of answers.

Make the experience as user-friendly and smooth as possible. Use a platform that you’ve vetted for bugs.  (My favorites includes Survey Monkey and Pop Survey.)  Make sure it’s very mobile friendly, so that people can complete your survey while they’re waiting at the doctor’s office or sitting on the subway.

Skip the long intro whenever possible. The people who receive your survey already follow you on social media or are on your email list…so they already know who you are and what you’re about. No need to announce your survey with anything more than a subject line that conveys the survey’s purpose. (“Help Me Improve My Product with Your Feedback” or “Tell Me About Your Fitness Goals.”)

Keep in mind that answers are for action. When creating questions on your survey, ask yourself this: “What kind of action will I take with the answer to this?” If the answer is “Nothing,” or you simply don’t know, don’t ask that question. There’s no purpose. You should limit your time (and the survey taker’s time) to questions that have a tangible purpose.

Want more specifics on how to make your survey fun and informative? Click here for the full episode.

Third Step: Getting Your Survey Out There

—Email to your list. Studies have found the highest survey open and click-through rates occurred on Monday, Friday and Sunday respectively.

—Promote online. Several survey programs (like Survey Monkey and Poll Daddy) have an option that helps you with this.

—Embed in a post on your own blog and as a guest blogger

—Link to your survey on social media. Again, some survey programs have a code that lets you embed the survey easily into Facebook.  (Make sure to click the “Like” button after you post because this will allow it to go viral faster.)

—Post your survey on LinkedIn

—Post a short video on YouTube explaining why you created the survey and encouraging your audience to take a few minutes to complete it. Give your viewers the URL and also post a link under your video on YouTube.

What if My List Isn’t Big Enough?

You don’t need hundreds of responses for a survey to be valuable. If you’re still working to build up your list, create your survey and reach out to ten friends or colleagues that you think would be your ideal customer. Ask them to fill out the survey, and also to pass it on to just one other person they know like themselves. You can learn about who your audience is from just a few people filling out these questions.

In addition, you can use Facebook Ads to promote your survey. Or you can put links to your survey in your blog post and guest blog posts. When you’re getting ready to make your blog post live, make your opt-in the survey. Offer readers an incentive in exchange for taking your survey–a chance to win something, a link to premium content, a limited-time membership to your service, something like that.

There are tons more suggestions on how to design your survey in this week’s free download. Click here to get it!

The Bottom Line

Sending out a survey is kind of like going on a first date. If you spend the whole evening trying to make sure the other person understands you, you’re probably not going to get to see them again. But if you spend the whole time asking them questions about themselves, you’ll come away with a really good understanding of who they are, and whether you have what they need.

When you’re creating this survey, don’t think so hard about what you’re trying to accomplish in your business. Think about getting to know your target market, and the goals of your business will fall into line.

Links mentioned in this episode include:


Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message

Podcast Episode 54 With Ramit Sethi

Podcast Episode 52

Podcast Details:

Click here to download the transcript.

Click Here to Subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield


  1. Marta Raptis says:

    This is a great post Amy! Thank you for this, I needed this article :)

  2. Pamela Hirsch says:

    I loved this podcast, Amy! Seriously good! I just got an email from someone I admire online (and from I have purchased a class) with a “2 minute survey.” The first question was open ended, the next 2 were Y/N questions, followed by 2 open ended ones. I took one look and thought “WORK! NO!” and I closed out without answering any of them. I really want to send them to your podcast!

  3. Listener says:

    Amy, the content in the podcast was helpful. Thankyou. Could you just take a breather at points in the podcast? You talk without giving us time to let it sink in. I was exhausted from listening because there was no “chunking” of the content. Yes, I could have stopped the podcast but that would defeat the purpose of the journey you take us on. Just maybe a breather in between your major points. A little music — 30 seconds.

  4. Such a good job Amy! I just listened to this on long drive to Vancouver and I was nodding my head the whole way. Great tips: keep it short (do we really need to know their gender and age?), and keep asking yourself: what will I do with the answers.

  5. Alan Ojeda says:

    Great post! I’ve been searching for some type of direction in implement surveys into my marketing strategy and you just nailed it! You got me excited to get the ball rolling, thanks!

  6. Hi Amy, great podcast, perfect timing. I was just wondering how to setup my survey. One question though: do you have an example of a good video to explain the survey? For someone who has no list yet, how should such a video look to use in Facebook ads etc.?
    Thanks a lot!

  7. Great question, Stefanie. Here’s a very bare bones example of a video that could explain your survey to your audience. I’d suggest infusing a little more of your own personality into it, of course. ;)

  8. Amy – where is the download that you mentioned in this podcast?
    “In the show notes, http://www.amyporterfield.com/55 I’ll show you an example of the
    survey post I did on my Facebook Page so you can see it and get a good sense of what it looked like.”

    Thanks! :)

  9. Hi, Sarah! You can find the download for this episode at amyporterfield.com/55download

  10. Right Amy, First we have to Design our Questions.

  11. John Panico says:

    Amy…very insightful tips and just what I needed to kick start my objective. Thanks again!

  12. Hi amy. Thanks for the podcast. I am currently at the research phase of my business and do not have an email list, or a website or followers. I have nothing, but a few ideas that I would like to test out ;-) What are your thoughts on Survey Money Audience service


    Would you recommend it to get the survey in front of the right audience?

  13. DanielDBradley says:

    you like me field give you chance … Online Job Help

  14. OctaviaJDawson says:

    i like me amyporterfield Next Tip Here

  15. Mike Lancaster says:

    Hi Amy! Thanks for such a useful podcast! I have finished my project for now but surely there are more to go. Have you tried any platforms other than Surveymonkey or polldaddy? What can you say about this one – https://cooltool.com ? It seems like a descent one for me…

  16. Nicholasadkins says:

    ……………….1=39Now Get this amyporterfield

  17. Thanks for this, Amy. In this post you say, “To get more in-depth guidance on how to design your survey questions, click here for the full episode,” but I can’t find that episode in that list. Could you give us the name of it? (I see now that you aren’t answering questions. Hope you can get to these!)

    Thanks again!

  18. Amy
    thanks for the entry, could you advise on some examples of questions I could ask my list?

  19. Rob Freeman says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks so much for this session on surveys. I have been reliving it and I am in the process of launching my survey. Hope I can pick up as many great insights as you did. Just a couple of tidbits that I thought I share with you about your counsel.

    First of all, great advice both on getting the survey together and getting your list plus others to take it. What I figured out though is that I might have to create “2” surveys because many of the questions I ask are very customer centric and don’t really go that well with prospective customers. So it is really two different groups here.

    Secondly, want to complement you on both your thoroughness (you are very conscientious!!) and on bringing home some key points like have a goal or call to action for each question (I remembered!). Great advice and it makes the exercise of a survey that much more enjoyable. Thank you!


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