How to get answers from your niche market

Using qualifying questions to keep your responses relevant

Trying to get to know your target market? Surveys are a great way to capture relevant insights that’ll shape your brand, messaging, product, and more.

And although it’s important to ask the right questions in your survey, it’s just as important to be sure you’re getting answers from the right people.

What do we mean? Let’s say you’re starting an online tea subscription business, and you need to determine what to stock, product and subscription pricing, delivery options, your marketing message, and more.

The last thing you’d want is to get answers from a bunch of people who don’t like tea or very rarely drink it.

How do you know whether people drink tea or not? Ask them, and use their responses weed out the non-tea drinkers from the tea lovers. But if you’re going to be disqualifying people, how can you be sure you get enough responses for an accurate representation of your target market?

The proportion of qualified people who respond to your surveys is known as your incidence rate. You can determine your incidence rate by calculating it before sending out your survey. That way, you can be sure to account for the challenges you may face when trying to get in touch with a niche market.

For example, if you want 100 completed responses for your survey and your calculations estimate an incidence rate of 50%—meaning only half of the people you send your survey to are qualified to answer your questions—you should send your survey to 200 people.

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It’s a good idea to ask qualifying questions at the beginning of your survey, like “How often do you drink tea (hot or iced)?” People who respond “Never or almost never” are disqualified, meaning you won’t waste your (or your non-tea-drinking respondent’s) time.

And even though “disqualify” may sound mean, sometimes it’s best to make sure that you’re not getting useless data from folks who don’t know or care much about the topic. So adding a page logic and a disqualification page to your survey will allow you to take these people out or just direct them to relevant questions.

Now go forth and survey with confidence, knowing that the questions you ask are reaching the right people and the answers you collect are useful.

Looking for more best practices on using qualifying questions (also known as “screening questions”)? Check out “A guide to using screening questions in your survey.”