Can’t figure out what customers want to buy? Maybe it’s time to try digital polling


What are your customers willing to buy, besides Taylor Swift tickets? That’s the holy grail for many small business owners, and it’s probably different from what interested them a year or two ago.

Online survey tools can make it easier to gauge the pulse of the market. For insight into how to use polls effectively, I spoke with John Li, co-founder of Choose Fu, which he describes as a digital focus group, for ideas on how small business owners can learn what their customers want. “It’s about connecting with your audience and asking them for direct feedback,” he says.

Li suggested three main ways to do that: open-ended testing, comparative testing (such as A/B testing of book covers and titles), and click testing, where you place an image and use a heat map to see what people are clicking on . .

  1. Open-ended testing: Suppose you want to start an eco-friendly car wash business and want to know if the customers are flocking. You can use PickFu to ask customers a focused but open-ended question, such as “What factors are most important when choosing a car wash,” segmenting customers based on demographics, such as what sports they are interested in or how often they using nutritional supplements. You can get on a list with convenience and price, efficient service and no scratches on their vehicles. You can organize and filter comments by respondent type and keywords.
  2. Comparative polls. That initial list should get you started, but to understand which price and service options are most attractive, you’ll want to do some comparative polling. For example, you could ask if survey respondents would be willing to pay a little more if you used recycled water instead of eco-friendly soap. Or you can test pricing options for something they like. For example, you can ask if they would prefer a standard car wash for $10, a standard wash with eco-friendly soap for $12, or a standard wash with recycled water for $12. test with your target market,” says Li. You can also use comparative tests to let them choose between logos, video or audio commercials, or radio jingles. If the results are inconclusive, he says, you may need to expand the poll to a larger sample size.
  3. Click Test. If you’re designing an ad and aren’t sure what’s eye-catching about it, you can place the image with a heatmap that tells you where people are drawn to it – and ask what they’d change to make it more appealing. “Using Pickfu doesn’t guarantee success, but it can reduce the risk of failure,” he says.

When Thrasio, the largest provider of Amazon-based e-commerce stores, acquired Angry Orange, a commercial-grade pet deodorizer concentrate, in 2018, the four-year-old brand generated $2 million in annual revenue, according to a report. case study PickFu set up. The creative team decided to revise the look of the brand, starting with the bottle. Using polls of 800 people on PickFu, the company came up with a bright orange design that respondents said stood out. After the relaunch on Amazon, the brand sold 180 more bottles than the day before. Annual sales are now $23 million.

Polling is not the answer to every marketing challenge. “You can’t detect when people are lying to themselves or a poll,” says Li. But the tools help reduce inaccuracy by using machine learning to filter out panelists who aren’t paying attention.”