Why A Survey?

I created this tactic because I noticed that I was attracting the wrong kind of people to sign up for product demos of my email followup product called Bluetick.io. Often times, I’d show up to give a demo and within the first five minutes of the call it was obvious that the person had no intention of signing up. They simply wanted to “pick my brain” or see what my product looked like.

So I created this survey technique to filter out people with low purchasing intent. People, that unfortunately would be a waste of time to pitch. The results showed that this technique was very effective and I’m happy to share it with you.

This technique does two things. First, it cuts down the number of demos you waste time on for prospects who are simply not ready to become a customer. Second, the people who do attend a demo are highly targeted, already warmed up and ready to make a purchasing decision.  
They are also more likely to respond to your emails going forward.

Building the Survey

How does the structure of this survey and email series work? It’s easy:

First, create a survey for the service that you are offering. The easiest way to do this is to use Google Forms because it’s free. However, if you have advanced needs during your prequalification process, you might need a more advanced tool.

Regardless of the tool, your goal is to filter out prospects who have a high probability of not interacting with your product or service.

Write out a list of criteria that you want your ideal prospect to have. When you have a good idea of what your ideal prospect looks like, draft questions that would test prospects against this criteria.

Add these questions into your survey. And viola! Your survey is ready to go.

Next, you’ll need to make some small changes to your website on the ‘Demo Request’ page. Ask for their email address and THEN show them the survey form. If they don’t fill it out, follow up with them several times and ask them to fill it out. This avoids losing people who hadn’t expected to have to enter anything other than their email address because they can come back to it later. But the main goal here is to capture their email address. After that, you follow up until they fill out the survey.

When you receive each response, review the answers to see if the prospect meets your criteria and whether you want to personally attend the demo request. If not, send them a link to a pre-recorded video.

If the demo request looks like it’s worth your time, send them an invitation to schedule a live demo.

Two Email Followup Series

There are actually two different email series being used here:
Finish the survey – If the prospect enters their email address but doesn’t complete the survey within an hour, the first followup series will encourage them to fill it out.
Schedule the demo – If the prospect fills out the survey, you’ve prequalified them as a viable prospect and invited them to schedule a demo, the second followup series encourages them to schedule the demo.
The two email series are only slighty different. We’ll skip the details of the first and go straight to the second email series because the process is effectively the same.

Email Series #2: Scheduling the Demo

After you’ve invited someone to schedule the demo, you need to follow up on the invitation until they schedule a call or tell you they’re not interested. This often requires a series of emails.

The sole purpose of your email series should be to get your prospect to schedule the call. It’s common for people to set aside that email with good intentions of coming back to schedule the call but then forgetting to do so. If you do not follow up, this technique will not be effective.

Use an automation tool to set up an event trigger and set the conditions so that it will send a certain amount of follow up emails till a person has scheduled a meeting with you on an appointment setting service like YouCanBook.me or Calendly.

You want the emails to feel personal so they are less likely to be ignored. People don’t care about ignoring an automated message but feel somewhat guilty about requesting a demo and then ignoring repeated requests to schedule it.

If you use an automation tool, make sure that the emails don’t look automated. You will want them to provide the illusion that you personally sent each email. Many of the marketing automation platforms out there have tell-tale signs that they were automated, so when evaluating tools, you want to avoid those which provide the impression that you didn’t manually send the emails.

  • Emails should come directly from your email address rather than an intermediary.
  • Followup emails should be replies to the previously sent email. This makes it look as though you went into your mailbox, found the previously sent email and then replied to it.
  • There shouldn’t be an unsubscribe link in the email. Remember that they asked you for the demo and you’re simply following up to make sure they schedule it.
  • You should customize the first email based on information they entered into the survey. This is typically a manual step but can be semi-automated to some extent using email templates that you customize before sending them out. Followups can be automated from there on.

In each of your followups, you should reiterate the fact that they expressed interest in the product you offer, remind them of the benefits and reaffirm your commitment to making them successful.

This is an extremely powerful combination that practically compels your pre-qualified prospects to schedule the demo. This improves your bottom line since now you’re using a population sample that is self-selecting and are more likely to purchase.  
Additionally, they’re more likely to respond to your emails in the future if during the demo it’s determined that they aren’t quite as ready as the survey indicated.  
Warm audiences are orders of magnitude more responsive than cold audiences. This process effectively warms up your prospects during their journey through your sales funnel.

Action Steps

  1. Write down the criteria of your ideal prospect and draft survey questions made to test prospects against this criteria.
  2. Modify your demo request to ask for an email address, followed by the survey.
  3. Automate the first email followup after they’ve requested a demo but not filled out the survey. When the survey is completed, remove the prospect from the first email followup series.
  4. When you receive a demo request and the associated survey results, remove undesirable prospects as you see fit and invite good prospects to a demo.
  5. Send an automated email series that appears personal to the good prospects. Set a trigger that continues to send follow ups until your prospect sets an appointment.
  6. Test your followups and improve them over time.

Bonus: Use automation software to send out automated personal emails so you don’t need to manually follow up.

Result You Will Achieve

Fewer demos to prospects who are prequalified and have a higher buying intent. Additionally, you’ll receive increased open rates and better reply rates for future emails that may be needed to close the deal.

Mentor: Mike Taber

Founder of Bluetick.io. An email marketing tool for warm and cold lead followups. Bluetick systematically automates followups and helps our customers approximately triple their response rates from warm and cold leads.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.