As business owners, we all make assumptions about how our customers think and feel. But when those assumptions are wrong, customers will struggle to see the value of our offering.
To validate our assumptions, we do things like:
- Talk to customers and listen to the specific words they use
- Study every click they make on our website or product to track patterns of behavior
- Watch how they react to our content
- Send surveys to collect their thoughts and preferences
All of these help paint a more complete picture of who our customers are and what they hope to accomplish.
There’s another tool though that can help uncover valuable insights on how customers think. It asks questions like an interview, collects data like a survey, and engages users like a good piece of content:
Now, I don’t necessarily mean an entertaining “Which character are you in The Avengers” type quiz. Unless your company happens to be Marvel, in which case go nuts!
And FYI, if my Underoos choice as a kid is any indicator, then I’m definitely Iron Man.
But there are plenty of more business-centric topics that a quiz can focus on as well. And there lots of business-centric benefits that a quiz can provide about your customers.
Benefits of the Quiz Format
Here are some of the qualities of a quiz that make it a unique tool to learn about your customers.
A quiz can:
Show you how your customers see themselves:
Regardless of how accurately customers answer your questions, you’ll get an insight into how they perceive themselves. How you see a problem for your customer is never as important as how they see it for themselves.
Give you both granular and aggregate data:
The analytics from a quiz will show you how users answered specific questions as well as aggregate results. This helps you spot specific points within a topic that your customers overvalue or undervalue.
Let you go deep on a topic:
Unlike surveys which often cover a wide range of topics, a quiz allows you to dive deep on one specific concept for your business. It’s like an interview with targeted follow up questions.
Provide value to your customers:
Surveys center around a value for the business. A quiz may ask survey-like questions, but it’s positioned to provide a result for the user. This transforms it from a chore into an engaging piece of content.
Force you to think about your business in a new way:
When you develop a quiz you go through a similar research process as when you teach a concept. You have to break the concept down into small pieces and understand how each piece relates to the concept as a whole. This is a great chance to clarify your own thoughts on an important aspect of your business.
Reach a lot of people quickly:
Unlike interviews, a quiz can scale with minimal expense. With a small investment in social ads, you can get enough responses to create a useful data set.
The emails you capture from a quiz are coming from folks who’ve shown a real interest around your business. That can be a strong indicator that they’ll want to hear more from you.
That’s a lot of valuable customer data you can gain compared to the small amount of effort required to set it up.
To see how all these elements come together, I’ll show you a quiz I created for my strategy consulting business.
My Quiz Topic: Vitamin or Painkiller
There’s a fairly well known idea that you can classify any business as either a Vitamin or a Painkiller. The idea is that Vitamins focus on long term benefits, while Painkillers are much more immediate.
I’ve always liked this concept because it’s memorable, easy to grasp, and helps articulate an important point on customer motivations. One of the main takeaways is that painkillers are easier to sell due to the urgency customers feel to acquire them.
I thought this would be a useful and relevant topic for my audience so I set up a quiz around it and wrote an article for The Startup about it too.
As I was considering this topic for my quiz I had a few criteria in mind for why I thought it would work.
I felt the topic was:
Relevant to my industry:
I work with businesses on their brand and business strategy. As part of that process owners need to find the best position for their offering and highlight its benefits in their messaging.
A point of curiosity for my customers:
Every company wants to satisfy an important need for their customers.
This topic hits on fundamental questions that influence your ability to convert sales:
When customers see your business will they:
- Care about the problem you want to solve?
- Feel a sense of urgency to resolve that problem?
- Understand the value of your solution?
- Choose your solution over other potential solutions?
- Trust you to deliver that solution?
- Feel social pressure to use your solution?
- Pay the price you set for your solution?
An area where I could provide valuable insights:
The quiz helps businesses identify whether customers see their product or service solving an urgent need. The Vitamin and Painkiller concept uncovers if your offering might be a nice-to-have instead of a must-have.
An idea that lends itself to strong visuals:
The Vitamin and Painkiller idea brought to mind some clear, contrasting visuals that I thought would catch people’s attention.
With the concept in place, the next step was to build and test it.
Build the Quiz, Watch the Results
I used the site Interact to create my quiz. They provide a friendly interface to design, host, and monitor the results for a quiz. I embedded my quiz on my site, but even if you don’t have a website, Interact provides a direct link for the quiz that you can share.
My quiz used a straight forward scoring system with a tally at the end to grade results. For more advanced quizzes, Interact has branching logic to show different questions to users based on their answers.
The design portion of the process was actually the easiest part. In total, I probably spent 75% of my time developing the questions and answers and 25% building it in Interact.
I’ve only had it up a week, but the early results show that:
- 9% of users have a “Vitamin” business
- 29% of users have a “Painkiller” business
- 62% are somewhere in between
The “Painkiller” group can still use my services but may not need quite as much help. The “Vitamin” and “In between” folks (71% combined) will have even more need to create a sense of urgency with their customers.
I’ve gotten a few new leads out of it so far, but the most interesting piece are the results on the questions. The individual answers show me which aspects of their businesses users feel the most and least confident about.
Those insights on how my customers think about themselves can help inform how I position my own offerings to attract more business. That’s a pretty strong ROI for relatively little effort.