How to Use Surveys for Lead Generation Content

someone holding a magnet as it generates new leads

Lead generation is a process that nearly every company uses to attract prospects with the end goal of converting them into a customer.

It ranges from cold sales calls, networking at events, and our personal favorite: content marketing.

More and more marketers are seeing the value of lead generation content, with 82% of marketers reporting actively using content marketing in 2021. That percentage is up 70% from 2020. 

It is likely due to the fact that 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

But, what if you could at least capture contact information as they're viewing the three to five pieces of content because they're not quite ready to take the next step in their purchasing journey?

Gated content such as whitepapers, eBooks, and reports are a great tool for sharing insight information in exchange for someone’s contact information.

Many of our clients utilize surveys for these types of lead generation content because they provide their readers with original research and exclusive data of high interest.

Keep reading to learn more about the process of how to use online surveys for better content marketing.

Background and Objectives of the Content Survey

The objectives for a content survey are critical to understanding. 

Before a market research team can prepare an effective survey, they will want to have in-depth knowledge of why there is interest in the project, what the team wants to learn, and how the results will be used. 

This will help inform them on how to best ask questions and present the data in the report to best meet the client’s needs. 

For this particular content survey, we were hired by a shipping and logistics company that wished to use a reputable market research company.

The survey data would be used in many marketing initiatives including press releases, downloadable reports, a webinar, and more.

Together, these outcomes would help our client improve brand awareness among their target audience and increase lead generation.

Recommended Reading: Defeating Writers Block: How One Survey Can Deliver Endless Content

Audience Targeting 

When using surveys for gated content, it is crucial to identify your target audience.

In other words, who is your ideal audience that will download a whitepaper in exchange for offering their contact information?

Is it C-level executives? Is it female college students? Is it the general population?

Whoever your target consumer is, their profiles should closely match your survey respondent. 

For instance, because our client is operating in the shared truckload space, they were interested in gathering data from transportation buyers, load managers, VPs of supply chain, etc.

Sample targeting for the content marketing research included:

  • Target industries included food and beverage (non-refrigerated goods), retail, industrial goods, CPG, household goods, paper and pulp, furniture, energy, cosmetics, electronics, other fragile, expensive, or time-sensitive items. A best-effort mix of these industries was obtained.
  • Target titles varied based on the size of the business (i.e., transportation buyers, load managers, transportation managers, VPs of supply chain, directors of transportation, logistics managers).
  • A strong mix of company sizes to segment the data:
    • 25% of $10 to $99M annual revenue
    • 50% of $100 to $499M annual revenue
    • 25% or $500M or more annual revenue

Again, nearly every type of market research has a unique approach, especially content surveys. Typically, these surveys reach out to a specific target audience. 

It’s important to note that as the audience gets more narrow, reaching that audience will be more challenging, demanding a higher price. Alternatively, reaching the audience will be easier and more cost-effective if the audience is more general. 

For more information, read our blog post where we discuss the cost of a PR or content survey.

How to Conduct a Survey for Lead Generation Content

The three basic steps are to outline of objectives of the survey, define the approach, and then analyze the results.

Safe to say there are many other steps and techniques used throughout the survey writing and analysis process.

Here’s a more detailed outline of the steps of writing a survey for content marketing:

  1. Proposal: This step is where the team asks for a proposal from a market research company they would like to partner with to complete the content survey project.
  2. Kickoff: During the kickoff meeting, a market research and client team will have an in-depth conversation about the background, goals, and objectives of the project.
  3. Survey draft: Here is where the market research team gets to work with crafting custom questions to meet the unique needs for the client’s content survey. Check out these survey writing tips!
  4. Fieldwork: Fieldwork can begin after the survey has been signed off on and programmed. During the process, the market research team keeps a close eye on the data as it is submitted for quality assurance.
  5. Analysis: This is one of the best parts of the market research process because the data for the content survey is officially coming together. The market research team works with the data to develop meaningful headlines and insights.
  6. Report: The final step is to prepare the report and hold a debrief with the client to discuss the results. Here are 6 tips for writing a better market research report.

For the sake of the shipping and logistics company, Drive Research recommended using a mixed-mode approach to reach their hard-to-reach audience. 

Due to the nuances and challenges in reaching these roles, titles, and responsibilities within organizations, a combination of email and phone methodology was utilized. 

And for good reason!

Edelman (a major public relations and marketing consultancy firm) stated news publications are more likely to trust and believe in results that use a mixed-mode approach due to a lack of trust in online-only B2B sample sources. 

Results of Using a Survey for Content

The survey took an average of 15 minutes to complete and included 43 questions. The survey received 200 responses.

Fieldwork for the survey began on January 14 and lasted until February 3, 2022. 

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 200 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 7% margin of error. If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 200 respondents, the results would yield within +7% or -7% of the stated totals in the reports.

Last but not least is creating the content survey deliverables. Here is where knowing how the data will be used is helpful.

The market research team will analyze the data and develop insights, headlines, and content to best meet the client's needs. 

The final deliverables from our content marketing research company included:

  • A topline report with data visualizations in Word
  • An online portal
  • A CSV file of all responses
  • A banner file
  • A 60-minute virtual debrief
  • A video infographic

The client was able to repurpose these deliverables into lead generating content such as a gated report, a webinar (where our research team presented), e-Blasts, press releases, social shares, and more.

Recommended Reading: How Market Research Can Improve Your Content Strategy

Need help executing a survey for content? Contact us.

Drive Research is a national marketing research company that often conducts public relations or content surveys for brands with all different audience types. Our approach to content marketing research is streamlined and cost-effective.

Our team can also help create content pieces such as blogs, guides, whitepapers, press releases, infographics -- you name it.

Interested in learning more about our services? Contact Drive Research today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

subscribe to our blog


Online Surveys Content Marketing Research Market Research Case Studies