Last week I talked about how to identify your “avatar”, that ideal customer whom you need to have in mind when you’re creating, emailing, deciding what shows and events to attend… in fact, every decision in your business will come back to your avatar.

Armed with a clear picture in mind of whom you’re doing all this for, now you can focus your energy in one clear, recogniseable direction that those customers should understand and respond to.

But there’s another step. Finding customers and selling to them is not just about tracking them down and talking at them until they buy. (If you’ve ever been cornered by a pushy stranger at a party, you’ll know exactly why that’s not going to work.) You may have some idea who to talk to now, but if you want to build a relationship with them, a relationship based on trust that leads to a “yes”, that conversation needs to be a two-way street.

You don’t just need to know who your customers are; you need to find out more about them. Ask them about themselves. Show an interest in them, and in doing so, find out what they value, what they really want, and how you can help.

In the Internet age, this is quick and easy – and free. Send them a survey!


Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table

Five tips for successful surveys

  • Keep it short: no more than five questions! Attention spans are short nowadays; if it’s too long they won’t answer.
  • Ask open questions – yes/no answers will not tell you much, but if you invite them to talk, you will find out plenty.
  • Similarly, multiple choice questions are not necessarily helpful. Forcing your audience to choose between a pre-determined selection of answers leaves no room for you to find out anything surprising. Don’t ask leading questions; give them a chance to tell you their own answer.
  • Free tools you can use to create surveys? Surveymonkey and Google Forms are my favourites.
  • Consider offering a small prize to help oil the wheels and get you plenty of response – twenty answers will give you a much broader picture than two.

Now, I’m always one to practice what I preach – and I also want to show you an example. So why don’t you visit this survey (I made it for free in four minutes flat with Google Forms) and tell me where you are with your creative business. Your answers will help me write posts that answer the questions and issues you are really facing – not just the issues I think you might be facing…

…just as your survey will help you give your customers what they really want, as opposed to what you think they want.

See the difference? See how useful this is – for your customer as well as for you? Start a conversation. Get to know your customers, and find out how beautiful (and, dare I say, potentially profitable) a friendship that can be!

Take the survey here