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Should You Survey Your Subscribers?

An interesting question that keeps coming up is whether or not you should bother surveying your subscribers.

The answer to partake in surveying or not is debated by very serious marketing masterminds these days. The answer is counterintuitive to many.

While we’ve done somewhat extensive surveying, it was never to find out what people want. We know what they want. We operate with insights of real experience, a deep understanding of psychology and Google’s wonder wheel. We know our subscribers want it all, they want it bigger, better, faster, cheaper, easier, safer and things to hurt less.

Still we partake in surveying to please our interns and bosses, but it’s funny, too often the questions we pick yield buckets of results which are, eh, what we already knew. Under the hope of insights, still we construct our surveys, and behold, another silly misguided effort by a semi-professional marketer.

So where will truly uncommon insights come from if you don’t ever survey? The question is the problem. Hire someone with some vision, feel and insight for your audience, and hurry. You ain’t gonna get your passion, direction or new focus from Joe or Susie reader.

If you do survey them, do it with the intention of delivering them personalized information and unique value or subscriptions based on their answers. Earnware can do that easily too.

If your readers today are a reflection of those who simply put up with your content vs. those who really love something in particular about it—welcome to the club. We have brands where we’ve really earned our audience, and yet others are just putting up with us. In some cases we’re still searching for the right formula after months or even years. So what to do in those cases?

I personally believe the answer is inside you. It’s in you, your love and passion as the brand creator. You’re the ultimate person who needs to be surveyed. You’re the author of why your brand should exist and you need to get crystal clear about what you were put on this Earth to do for people—specifically for your tribe. Who’s your tribe anyway? Do they recognize that? Do they know you care about them?

One challenging brand we’re working on is When we survey our readers, their answers on any given day are closely aligned with “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” followed by wanting a quick and easy fix for whatever hurts the most that day. This only tells us our current subscriber is human, maybe a bit lazy. Sounds a lot like most people.

The good news is we’re not exactly stuck with her as-is. We’ll either inspire her to pursue a better version of herself with our help, or we’ll part ways. And that’s okay.

In the meantime, we’ll learn, she’ll learn and we hope to make her life a little easier along the way. But, but, but, she may not be our ultimate future subscriber. I believe our future subscriber will “choose” wellness as a philosophy and subscribe to us because we represent exactly what she believes. She’ll seek out and share things that are more holistic, that promote self-awareness, and she’ll appreciate information from us that is easier to trust. We’re her type of people.

So who really needed to be surveyed? Me. That’s my vision for our future subscriber and if my actions as a publisher are consistent with that vision, that’s exactly what my database will look like a year or two from now.