The Smart Way to Use Surveys to Engage and Grow Your Audience

engaged audience at a rock concert

Last month, you may have seen Copyblogger’s 2015 Cost of Online Business Report that analyzed the results of a survey we conducted on the blog.

The report explores the cost of doing business online, so you can accurately evaluate your current strategies and tactics — and their associated costs — to help you see if there are ways you can improve your online business revenue.

Since publishing your own research creates authority in your space while providing numerous opportunities to present your findings to a wider audience, I recently decided to conduct my own informal online research survey.

And while I am no Nate Silver, I hope to show you today how easy and inexpensive it is to create and publish your own online survey.

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Lessons Learned from Conducting Two Monster Audience Surveys

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You may be creating content in a niche with 1,000 other sites, but only you have your audience. And surveying your audience can be fertile ground for the kind of information and insight that builds your next transformative content series.

Just ask Demian Farnworth. He did it twice for Copyblogger in 2014 — and the results of his second survey will be posted here tomorrow.

We talked about his mentality in conducting these two surveys, his process, and the lessons he learned in the latest episode of The Lede.

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How to Use Customer Experience Maps to Develop a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

a group of people sitting on the subway, a man stands by the door

Customers. Complex bunch.

They pull out their wallets and purses to trade hard-earned dollars for stuff. Stuff we design, organize, grow, program, or manufacture.

Stuff like curved TVs. Endurance events. Spicy vodka. Graphic design textbooks. Massive multiplayer online games. Lilac bulbs. Tax preparation software. Workout regimens.

If customers buy the stuff you make, then you got two things right:

  1. You built a healthy audience.
  2. You built products they love, which, of course, explains their buying behavior — if they have the money and they want it, they’ll buy it.

It’s not magic. There’s a blueprint. A faithful roadmap.

But that’s not all of it.

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7 Ways to Find a Topical Market that Will Fuel Your Digital Commerce Business

closeup of hands holding a map

Before you get down to business online, you need to find the topic(s) and market(s) that can support that business.

And, after answering your questions on digital sharecropping and content curation, that’s exactly what Brian and I get into on this week’s episode of Rainmaker FM.

Listen in and check out the seven-part process for finding the topic market that can fuel your online business …

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The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach

golden retriever puppy running alongside an English bulldog

Outreach is the art of connecting with bloggers or authors and building relationships through social media, email, or other online channels.

It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Earlier this year, I spoke about this topic at Authority Intensive, sharing the insights I learned while down in the trenches — building outreach teams from scratch, and seeing them lose opportunities to gain substantial visibility because of a lack of data-driven research and improper targeting.

Truly effective outreach is based upon deep research, relationship-building skills, and a fundamental understanding of SEO

To form the relationships you want, you need to customize each outreach campaign.

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The Lede: Are You Overlooking This Cornerstone of a Smart Content Strategy?

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Yesterday, Brian Clark published a highly anticipated answer to a question that’s been on a lot of entrepreneurial and marketing minds.

If you missed it, that question is: Isn’t it time for more power and less hassle from WordPress … without breaking the bank?

The answer is yes, of course, and he provides the solution — a turnkey, hosted platform for content management that is already providing the technological engine for many smart content strategies across the globe.

But technology is just technology. It will do its part reliably, but you have to do yours too. That’s why Brian released the New Rainmaker content library well before the platform … and why the library is still available for free. He wants you to have the knowledge to actually make good use of the tools — which, after all, is the Copyblogger way.

That is why we are kicking off the relaunch of The Lede with a three-part series on content strategy, starting today.

And we begin with an element of content strategy that often gets overlooked … but that is crucial to understanding your audience intimately enough to influence it.

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