in Misc

How to Better Communicate With Your Test Participants to Get More Actionable Insights

In many ways, so much of success in term of marketing and in business in general comes down to a very simple idea: you’re trying to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

But when you’re dealing with a situation where “the right message” and “the right person” and even “the right time” are in a constant state of flux, how can you make sure that this actually happens more often than not?

Simple: you need to start communicating with your audience better. In a Venn Diagram with those two circles, that’s the target that you’re trying to hit that exists squarely in the middle.

When you run a test, for example, you’re obviously concerned with what you’re doing right every bit as much as what you’re doing wrong. But if you’re not asking the right questions or using the right channels, you’re not going to get the information you need to strengthen the core foundation that is your brand moving forward.

If you really want to learn how to better communicate with your test participants in order to gain more actionable (read: valuable) insights, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Social Media
In the old days, better communicating with your test participants to get more actionable insights would have essentially be handled in one way: through surveys.

After your test had been completed, you would have mailed out (or emailed) a pointed survey containing what you deem to be important questions for people to fill out and send back to you. Some would, some wouldn’t – but in general, it was a solid information collection mechanism.

The problem with this is that it’s only providing you with answers to the questions you’re actually asking. If a test participant had a particularly valuable observation that falls outside of the bounds of your survey, you essentially had to depend on them to offer it up of their own free will and if they didn’t, you were out of luck.

This is why social media is essential in terms of better communication.

By engaging your test participants on social media, you’re letting the conversation evolve in real-time. You’re having proactive communication, not reactive – and this distinction is one that is incredibly important.

In reactive communication, people are providing you information about something that already happened. Naturally, certain tidbits are going to be lost to the ages – as Roy Batty once said, “like tears in rain.

With social media-driven proactive engagement, however, you’re having the experience WITH your test participants. You’re learning as they do. You’re seeing the mistakes that they’re making or the issues you’re running into as they’re having them. You’re not just a passive observer – at this point, you’re essentially an active participant.

This essentially allows you to go beyond simple words and really see what people are seeing and feel what they’re feeling. Because this is all happening in real-time, you can also guide people and engage with them as they go, steering both the conversation and your test in the direction you feel you need it to go in to gain the most actionable insights moving forward.

Customer Service as Marketing

Many experts agree that customer service is the new marketing – or at the very least, it should be. Providing ultimate satisfaction to customers is something that goes beyond your product or service and the customer service arm of your organization plays a big role in that.

But many people don’t realize that it can also be an invaluable tool when it comes to better communicating with your test participants to get more actionable insights moving forward.

Pay attention to not just the types of questions your test participants or asking but what they’re actually looking for in the first place. Remember that the chasm between “what you were trying to do” and “what the customer was looking for” can be a mighty one, indeed.

However, understanding as much about that chasm as you can will absolutely clue you in on how they think and what they want, all of which is actionable insight that you can choose to use in the future.

Pay attention to their issues. Listen to their complaints. Answer their questions. Address their concerns. Even if you don’t come right out and ask someone “how do you feel about this?” or “did this work for you,” you can still learn a great deal by paying attention to the way people interact with your customer service department.

You can then use those actionable insights to make better, more informed decisions that ripple across other areas of your organization as well.

Communication is King

At the end of the day, it’s important to circle back around to the larger idea of marketing and in business in general: you’re trying as hard as you can to connect with a particular group of people in the most meaningful way possible.

Whether you choose to communicate with someone via a helpful presentation to guide your test or via a Infographic created by a tool like Visme which I”m the founder of) , it’s all about creating the right conversation that you need in the moment to learn as much as you possibly can about where you need to go.

This is the key to everything – it’s what not only sells your products or services, but it’s also one that guides people along their journey from “potential buyer” to “definite sale” to “loyal brand advocate” and beyond.

But you must never forget that your audience has an opinion. Your audience is always trying to tell you something and that level of insight is absolutely invaluable. If you do something right, they will tell you. If you do something wrong, they will tell you.

You just need to know how (and where) to listen to get the most actionable insights you can to make better, more informed decisions moving forward.

Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, a Maryland based award winning Digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.


Alexandru is the co-owner of TopDesignMag. “If it looks easy, it's hard. If it looks hard, it's impossible. If it looks impossible, it's due tomorrow. At 8 A.M.”