User research is vital for improving your website and digital marketing campaigns. When you get the chance to ask your users questions – via a survey, a one-on-one conversation, or a focus group – take full advantage of the opportunity.
These 10 questions can be great conversation starters for gathering information from your users. Some questions and answers will yield valuable information to drive your strategic thinking. Others will tell you whether or not your current efforts are working.
1. How Did You Hear About Us?
If your sales team isn’t already asking this question, pose it to your users as part of your market research. Their answers can be incredibly valuable in assessing relative effectiveness of your marketing channels. They also let you know which channels users remember.
Users often interact with many lead generation channels before they finally reach out. They might read your blogs, see your advertisements, and read about your brand in trade publications before they act (fill in a form on your website, for example). It pays to ask them which channels left lasting impressions that eventually led them to convert.
2. What Keywords Did You Use to Search for Us?
Many available tools can reveal which keywords lift your site ranking in search results. It’s harder to determine terms your customers actually enter in search boxes as they try to find your site in particular or search your product or service category and land on your site. They could use terms for which you don’t rank highly, and yet those terms are driving traffic.
They might not recall the exact terms they entered, but you can perhaps raise those terms through a prompt: “What terms would you expect us to show up for when doing a Google search?” The answers give you additional data points about terms you should target for your content marketing going forward.
3. How Often Do You Visit Our Website?
This good baseline question yields an understanding of your users’ familiarity with your website. Perhaps customers don’t visit your site often because they get what they need from you through other channels. Maybe newer customers visit the site often, but long-time customers don’t need to. This question can add details to your understanding of who your regular visitors are. This knowledge can guide content decisions; if you know who they are, you can craft content to meet their needs.
4. How Easily Can You Find What You’re Looking for on Our Website?
Answers to this question tell you what’s working and what’s not working today. This knowledge should inform any redesign or update tomorrow. In a survey, consider asking users to rank this attribute on a scale of one to ten. Then you can see, numerically on a unified scale, how all your users rank their experience. You can follow up with questions about specific difficulties in finding what they seek and can apply that knowledge to improve your website structure.
5. What Are You Trying to Do when You Visit the Website?
Answers to this question open insights into user intent. The purpose of your website may seem clear to you, but some users might visit your site for reasons you didn’t anticipate. Whether the answers confirm your assumptions or surprise you – or a bit of both – they’re good to know.
6. What Pages Do You Visit Most Often?
This question is more specific than question five, as it drills down to the page level. This can be helpful, especially when comparing user replies to pageview data from Google Analytics. If your users say they regularly visit certain pages, but in reality, other pages on your site get more views, this may lead to new insight. This may open your eyes to ways users are interacting with your website that even they were unaware of, or even identify a new audience visiting your website that you were unaware was doing so.
7. What Would You Change on Our Website?
This question can shed broad light on areas of user concern. It’s one thing to ask users about areas you already know to be problems; this question can reveal issues that may not be on your radar.
8. What Topics Would You Like Us to Discuss on Our Blog?
Not sure what topics to take up next? Ask your users. You’re writing for them, after all. Let them help you determine relevant topics. Keyword research can help guide you to general trends, but users’ direct input breaks it down to specifics of interest to them.
9. What Are the Biggest Challenges You Face in Your Job?
Your job is to make your customers’ lives easier through the products or services you provide. But how can you ease their pain if you don’t know what hurts? Ask them! Then adapt your products, services and processes to meet their needs.
Answers to this question can also uncover areas of need to address in your marketing messaging. If your customers have a common need, and your product addresses that need, address both the problem and your solution in your marketing.
10. Why Did You Choose to Work with Us?
This simple question can help with both sales and marketing. What primary selling point convinced a customer to work with you? If it worked for one customer, it would probably work for similar prospective customers. Use answers to this question to write targeted marketing messages.
The above 10 questions should be part of your user research, which provides valuable data that guides your marketing. I’ll leave you with an evergreen bonus question: What else would you like us to know?
Always ask it, in one-on-one interviews, in focus groups, on surveys, and in any other format. Because you don’t know what you don’t know.
You might be surprised at what they bring up.
If you need guidance or assistance with user research, we’re happy to help! Reach out to us for a free consultation.