SPQ 047: Polling Your Audience: How to Identify What Your Crowd Really Wants

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When Steve started the Self-Publishing Questions podcast, he assumed people wanted new episodes seven days per week. Then he thought about the “Ask Pat” podcast. Steve travels a lot, so when it comes to a daily podcast, he tends to lose track. Then trying to catch up on past episodes is too much work, so he ends up listening to a one-day-a-week podcast so it’s easier to keep up.

He started to wonder if daily episodes were overwhelming for the SPQ audience, so he sent an email with two questions. How many episodes per week do you prefer? What information product would you prefer?

Surprisingly, 76 percent of the people who responded said they want three episodes per week. Therefore, Steve is switching to three episodes per week to see how it works.

Steve would love to hear your opinion, so please take the poll and let him know what you think.

Biggest Takeaway


The lesson here is that you should never assume you know what your audience wants. If you ask questions, your audience members will tell you things you have never even thought about.

There are many ways to use audience polls to guide your business.

  • What book do you want me to write next?
  • What is the #1 problem you experience with ___?
  • What social media platform do you prefer?
  • What books and websites do you like?

Get into the habit of polling your audience every one to two months. You don’t even need to give something away for free; you’ll be surprised at how many people respond.

Here’s a good example of how Steve has used polling in his business. Last summer, he asked his audience what they struggle with when it comes to their habits. More than half of the people said they struggle with exercise.

Then he followed up with another poll to ask about specific obstacles people face when it comes to exercise. He will be following up by publishing a book on the exercise habit when he gets back from Africa.

So how can you apply this? It really helps to have an author platform: an email list, podcast, blog, social media accounts, and so on. You could also find an active forum or Facebook group, become a regular part of the group, and then ask questions.

Steve recommends brainstorming two or three ideas. Don’t overwhelm people with a ton of options. Make responses anonymous as possible; people are a lot more honest if they think you aren’t tracking them. Steve uses a free WordPress plugin called WP Polls.

Again, never make assumptions about your audience. Your job as a content creator is to give people the content they want. Get in the habit of asking questions and delivering based on answers from your audience members.

Don’t forget to give your feedback on how many episodes of SPQ you want to hear each week.

Resources and Links

WordPress Poll Plugin: Use WP-Polls to create online polls for free

SPQ Poll: Tell Steve how many SPQ episodes you want to hear each week

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