Did you hear the story about the Wheel of Fortune contestant, who guessed every letter in the puzzle, but still managed to miss his chance to win $1 million by mispronouncing one word?

What a missed opportunity!

Everything he needed to be successful was right in front of him, and he still let the opportunity slip away.

It seems like mistakes like these are only heard of on game shows or TV competitions, but these types of missed opportunities happen all the time when marketing a small business.

One example of this is when business owners fail to ask for feedback from the people who matter most.

Getting a steady stream of customer feedback is an essential part of efficient growth for any small business.

Maybe you’re not going to miss out on a million dollars. But if you’re not asking for feedback on a consistent basis, you could be missing out on the chance to strengthen customer relationships, and find solutions to some of your biggest marketing and business problems.

That problem could be something simple like coming up with content for your next newsletter, or tying to decide how to manage your time on social media. Or something a bit more complicated, like trying to decide how late to stay open during certain times of the year, or figuring out how to improve your customer service. Collecting feedback from your audience can help!

There are three types of feedback to be aware of:

  • Interaction-based feedback
  • Anytime feedback
  • Planned feedback

Let’s start with interaction-based feedback.

Every time people interact with your business or organization, is a great time to encourage an open dialogue and show you care about them by asking for their opinions.

Just after an event or a sale occurs, the experience is very relevant and fresh in people’s minds. They will be able to recall many details about the experience and you will get more specific feedback. Run a survey campaign within a day or two of the interaction, and keep it short and relevant to the interaction. This way your customer is more encouraged to fill the survey out, and send it back to you.

The type of feedback will differ, based on your audience, industry, or the services you provide. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to decide when to ask, what to say, and which channels you can use to promote your survey campaign:

Collecting Feedback

Then there’s anytime feedback.

People are interacting with your business through more channels than ever before.

What if it’s a great experience? What if it’s a poor experience? Don’t make them wait to share their experience until you decide to ask for their opinion with a planned campaign. That could be too late.

Have clear, easy ways for your customers or members to give you feedback whenever they want to provide it, so you stay in tune with what you’re doing well and where you can improve.

Consider this cheat when mapping out your feedback plans:

Collecting Feedback 2

Planned Feedback

When done right, planned feedback can be exactly what you need to keep people engaged and interested in your products and services.

Maybe you’re deciding on a topic for a new event, or want to introduce a new product or service.

By involving your audience in the planning process, you’ll have a higher response rate when you’re finally ready to promote the new items.

You can also run a feedback campaign, designed to improve the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts. For example, you may want to create a survey to help decide what type of content your newsletter readers are most interested in. Or, you may want to survey customers to learn about how they’re using social media, how often you should post, or what new social channels are interesting to them.

In planning and making smart decisions for your organization, there is no better resource to help you make the right choices than your current audience.

Don’t miss this opportunity.

You’re putting so much time and effort into running and marketing your business; don’t miss the opportunity to improve your results.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of our top resources for collecting feedback from your audience:

Have questions about running a successful feedback campaign? Post them in the comments below.