Over the last couple of weeks we have held two different Web 2.0 polls on our Outskirts Press blog. The first poll determined that our clients wanted us to add a Social Media Market Research option to our growing selection of publication services. This option helps authors make the best, market-based decisions regarding their covers, titles, beginnings, endings, or marketing tactics, for example.
The second poll determined that our new and potential clients wanted us to offer a $300 “Mad Money” publishing promotion in October, which rewards new publishing packages with a $300 “line of credit” to use toward any pre-production service/option the author desires, including editing, professional custom cover design, Kindle edition, iPad edition, ghostwriting, or what have you.
But in both polls, the margin of victory between Choice #1 and the runner-up was fairly close. In the poll determining the next option we should launch, Market Research won by only 10%. It earned 50% of the votes while the Featured Book-of-the-Week option earned 40% (author apps earned the remaining 10%). And in the poll asking what promotion we should offer in October, Mad Money won by a margin of just over 1%. The instant 10% discount barely came in #2.
So while these polls helped us prioritize, the results certainly don’t prohibit the other options and other promotions from being offered. In fact, the Featured Book of the Week option’s showing with 40% demonstrated to us that it’s a highly-valued option also, so we are already working on it and will most likely have it available for our authors in October. We’ve always known the instant 10% discount to be a valuable promotion, so we will more than likely offer that promotion before the end of the year as well.
The poor showing of the Author Apps option did surprise me, frankly. But, to be honest, it was also kind of a relief. I was involved significantly in its pre-development here at Outskirts Press and now I feel confident re-prioritizing some of my other responsibilities and putting the Author Apps a little lower on the launch list, which will probably push it out to 2012 sometime. I’m loving these author polls. They help us give our authors exactly what they want when they want them. When you have so many things you WANT to do but a limited pool of resources with which to do them, this sort of insight directly from your clients is invaluable.
So if you’re a business owner, manager, entrepreneur, author, or other professional, I encourage you to start using polls on your blog or website, too. They’re easy content, fun for your visitors, and provide you with actual useful feedback that validates your customers and helps your business.