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emma@enotes.co.uk
16-03-2005, 01:10 PM
I am setting up a new business and I'm in the middle of trying to research the market. I have created a questionnaire aimed at individuals, but I'm at a loss as to how to get people to respond and how to send it to people in the first place!

I have looked into buying lists of email addresses, narrowed down by specifics such as household income, etc and these are quite cheap. But I know that most people that receive an email from an unknown address bin it straight away. I could offer an incentive to get people to complete it, but I don't know how effective that would be either. Are people more likely to respond to a postal survey? There's no guarentees and it costs far more to get postal addresses and stamps etc. I've also looked at those survey panel companies like CIAO but they are very expensive. CIAO in particular wanted £1700 to send to 250 peope.

I'm really at a loss now..

Andrewgadd
16-03-2005, 02:05 PM
Hello
I've never done a survey by post to unknown people, but it is accepted fact that only 2% of any 'direct mail' will get any response. Yes, 98% goes in the bin. The only reason business use direct mail is because the maths work out. 100,000 piece mail, 2% reply means 2000 replies, each spend £xx, and the profit more than pays for the mailshot. Incentives do work. You'll have 2 seconds to interest the reader. Lots of overworked phrases still work: "Free". "First 100 replies receive a free..."

Simply being original works too. I once received a small piece of carpet with a small tube of tomato ketchup and some carpet cleaner...

But even if you double the rate to 4%, will it be worth it? Only you can decide what the value is to the information you are trying to gather. A sample size of 200 is very small. A 4% response rate will get you about 8 replies - is that a big enough sample to be representative? Will you base your business decision on 8 answers?

I don't know if the prospective addresses are local to you. Or if enough of them are local to you to perform a small survey. People respond more to people knocking on doors - but you'll have to be careful with your 'opening line'. Words like "I wonder if you could help me..." will probably get the door shut in your face. Appeal to people better nature and say "I'm really not selling anything and I really need your help - can I take 2 minutes of your time?".

Can you get the phone numbers of your target audience? Its more time consuming, but you'll get a better 'hit rate' by phoning people up.

Sorry if this is a rambling amswer, but I don't have enough information from you to narrow it down. Email again if I can be of any more help.

Regards

annepink
16-03-2005, 02:09 PM
What type of business is it?
What do you hope the survey will tell you?
How will the results affect your plans?
Who are you contemplating sending the survey too?

If you can supply this I will try and add to the thoughts aleady suggested

emma@enotes.co.uk
16-03-2005, 02:58 PM
Hi and wow thanks for the info so far.

My business ideas is based around lifestyle management and concierge. Unlike other lifestyle management companies, I'm not there to wait in for the plumber, or sort out your cleaning. I just focus on the leisure aspects. From organising large parties, to dinners for 2. Outing itineries, restaurant/ticket booking, mini break organisation, etc, etc. I'll be charging by the hour, or a subscription where people will also get things like a reminder service, gift suggestion/purchase, etc.

So really I'm targeting people that
a) are busy people. Executives, working parents, etc who don't have the time and want to spend what precious time they have left at the end of the week enjoying it and not organising it and
b) are in the higher income bracket and can afford to have someone else organise things whether they have the time or not
c) people that don't know how to organise parties, etc.

I'll also be aiming at businesses.

The questionnaire is really to confirm that there would be people interested in the service and to gauge what kind of people they are so that I can then market the company effectively.

annepink
16-03-2005, 03:13 PM
Sounds like an interesting concept and I'm sure you will have already surfed the net for similar companies (this is one of the ways of checking demand and you could also mystery shop, ie call as a potential customer and find out what they charge and services offered and even ask for the tyoe of people who have used them).

I would get clear about what you will call yourself - marketing requires clarity of message, eg Lifestyle PA or Life services PA, etc.

I'm a coach and because it is still a relatively new concept, part of my marketing has to sell the concept in the first place and I expect yours will too. May I suggest that if you go ahead with a questionnaire, that the document includes a 'promotional message' explaining the service.

Clealy executive men and women (and their life partners) are the ones who will likely have the money and the need for your service.

Lot s of networking web sites are often keen to assist new businesses with questionnaires, etc. Two I can name readily are Aurora and
WIN (women in networking).

I assume you've already approached Business Link to check out funding assistance and Universities often like projects like this for their marketing students.

emma@enotes.co.uk
16-03-2005, 03:19 PM
Yes you're right about selling the idea whilst marketing it. And in fact Leisure PA and Lifestyle PA were two names I was thinking of.

It would be great if you'd take a look at the questionnaire and tell me what you think so far.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=51765937321

Thank you. I'll check out those two networking websites you mentioned.

SOmeone else has also just suggested running a competition and promoting it on a site like loquax, which is free. They tried it and got quite a big response even by using a very small prize.