7 Tips on asking the right questions to increase engagement

9 min read
26.07.2023 15:12:37

In the world of B2B marketing, the art of questioning is super important. Why? Because the right questions engage, provoke thought, and extract valuable insights that can skyrocket your marketing efforts.

Drawing from a solid foundation of polling 2,000 companies via interactive industry surveys, generating hundreds of thousands of views on LinkedIn, and sending out millions of emails, this guide zeros in on the game-changing power of asking better questions.

Whether you're looking to boost your LinkedIn impressions, get more out of your email marketing, or uncover deeper insights from industry surveys, mastering the art of questioning is your ace in the hole.


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So, let's jump in and see how you can tweak your approach and seriously up your B2B marketing game.

1. Start with Simple Questions

Industry surveys are more than just asking questions—they're about establishing a connection. Remember, the participants might be diving into your survey in the midst of a busy day. It's essential to ease them into the process. When initiating a survey, it's crucial to break the ice and set the tone.

Begin with straightforward, non-invasive questions that have clear and concise answers. This isn't just about getting an answer—it's about warming up the respondent.

As they progress, participants will be more receptive to answering in-depth questions, providing you with the insights you crave. Remember, in industry surveys, your aim is to engage and not overwhelm from the get-go.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

It's harder to write a tagline than a 500-word text. Keeping things concise demands clarity, and achieving that clarity requires a keen understanding of your message. In the world of B2B marketing, having a clear mind will shine through your content, and that's pure gold when it comes to attracting new leads and prospects.

When framing questions, especially for platforms like LinkedIn, a brief and direct question at the end of your post can spark some fantastic discussions in the comments. Questions which consistently generate meaningful engagement in the comments often share a few common traits:

  • Universal Appeal:
    They resonate with a broad audience, regardless of their professional background or industry.

  • Spotlight Opportunity:
    The questions are crafted in a way that anyone answering has a moment to shine. It’s not just about having an answer; it's about providing an answer that can showcase expertise, wit, or a fresh perspective.

  • Network Booster:
    These discussions often become a hub of recommendations. People are naturally inclined to uplift others by tagging them, implying, "Hey, this person would have a great take on this!" or "Their expertise aligns perfectly with this question!" It’s a win-win, where individuals get to champion themselves and their peers.

So, when you're framing your next LinkedIn question, think of it as setting a stage. One where everyone has the potential to be a star, and the community thrives on mutual appreciation and knowledge sharing.

3. Don’t Obsess Over Scientific Accuracy

There's a spot in the B2B industry for meticulous, scientifically accurate data, of course. But when you're leveraging industry surveys to establish thought leadership and positioning, the main goal is to engage and resonate with your audience, rather than aiming for pure scientific precision.

Interactive industry surveys are a goldmine for gathering zero-party data. This means the respondent is actively and consciously choosing the data they want to share with you. When you couple this data with a little analysis, you can craft unique graphs and insights that captivate your audience, positioning your business as a thought leader in your sector.

But here's the kicker: You don't have to be a seasoned researcher to extract value from these surveys. The focus should be on crafting questions that are both educational and engaging. Tools like scale questions, where participants rate a statement from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree), can offer heaps of insight without the need for scientific rigor.

So, next time you dive into an industry survey, remember it's more about the relevance and engagement of the content than strict adherence to scientific principles. Use this opportunity to share, learn, and position your company as a hub of valuable insights in your target market.

4. Create a flow

Here's the scoop: when leveraging interactive industry surveys to engage with your contacts, consistency is your best friend. It's not just about making it look pretty – it’s about creating a flow that participants can easily follow.

Think about it. If every question feels like it's coming from a different planet, people will need to reset their brains with each new one. That's tiring and, frankly, a bit annoying. By choosing a clear format and sticking to it throughout your survey, you're offering a smoother experience. Participants will thank you for it by staying engaged and completing the entire survey.

But here's the kicker: inconsistency doesn’t just frustrate; it can actually eat up more of the respondent's time. By being all over the place with your question formats or styles, you risk doubling the time it takes someone to get through your survey. In this fast-paced world, every second counts. So keep it streamlined, and you'll not only gather better insights but also show respect for your participants' time.

5. Harness the Power of Open-ended Questions for AI-driven Marketing

Let’s get one thing straight: Open-ended questions can be pure gold. They offer a depth of insights that multiple-choice questions just can't match. But, like a good dessert, they're best served at the end. Why? They demand more from your respondent. More thought. More effort. More time.

Now, if you design your industry survey with finesse, placing these open-ended beauties right at the tail end and using them sparingly, you're setting yourself up for success. Because while they can be demanding, they're also immensely rewarding. These are the questions that give you raw, invaluable feedback – the kind of insights that can be an absolute game-changer.

But here's where it gets really exciting. When you're able to harness these responses effectively, you can feed them into your AI-driven lead generation model. This is next-level marketing. By personalising the experience at scale for your contacts, you make each interaction more relevant, more meaningful, and more likely to convert.

Remember this: AI is smart, but it's not magic. It can only spit out results as good as the data it's given. And that's why designing your surveys right is critical. If you're looking to truly leverage AI in your marketing efforts, then it all begins with the art (and science) of survey design. Feed it well, and watch your results transform.

6. Focus on the Present

When it comes to crafting effective questions, especially for industry surveys, anchoring them in the present moment is essential. Think of it this way: just like a weather forecast kicks off with a snapshot of today's conditions before diving into the outlook for the week, your questions should similarly start by tapping into current feelings, experiences, or perspectives.

Why is this so crucial? Because when respondents reflect on their immediate experiences, their answers are often more genuine, accurate, and less influenced by distant memories or hypothetical situations. By centering your questions on the 'here and now', you not only make it easier for participants to relate, but you also collect data that is more timely and actionable.

After you've garnered insights on the present state of things, you can then gracefully transition to questions about future predictions, aspirations, or changes. By setting the stage with the present, you create a logical flow that can make the survey experience more intuitive and engaging for your audience. Always remember: to understand where someone is headed, first understand where they stand right now.

7. Delve Into Trends, Not Just Intentions.

Direct questions about future intentions, especially ones as upfront as purchasing plans, can sometimes feel intrusive or premature to respondents. Imagine jumping straight into a deep-end conversation on a first date – it can be off-putting, right? Similarly, being too direct in your survey can cause participants to hold back or provide less-than-authentic responses.

Instead, a more effective approach is to steer the conversation toward upcoming trends, innovations, or technologies in the IT industry. By asking about their thoughts or knowledge on these subjects, you're not just collecting data – you're sparking interest and curiosity. It's a way of saying, "Hey, here's what's buzzing in the industry. What do you think?"

This method serves as a more subtle and engaging lead-in. Once the respondent has shared their insights or shown interest in a particular trend, you've opened a door. A door that can lead to further conversations, in-depth discussions, or even opportunities to introduce them to your product demos or solutions.

Remember, the goal of industry surveys isn't just to collect data; it's to build relationships and pave the way for meaningful interactions. And by focusing on trends rather than overt intentions, you're laying down the first brick in building that connection.

Bonus Tip: The Future is Interactive

Let's rethink how we've traditionally seen surveys. Gone are the days when surveys were just a one-way communication tool where you throw out questions and hope to reel in answers. In the digital age, especially with the integration of AI, we're looking at a paradigm shift in how surveys function.

Modern, state-of-the-art surveys are dynamic. Imagine an environment where, as a respondent answers a question, the subsequent queries or feedback they receive are tailored to their previous responses. It's not just about collecting data anymore; it's about engaging in an active dialogue with the respondent.

The power of AI-driven surveys extends beyond just the questions. Once a participant has completed the survey, the insights gathered can be used to send them individualised follow-ups. For instance, if a respondent expresses interest in a specific IT trend, you can later share an article or a webinar related to that trend, further enriching their experience.

This new approach transforms surveys from mere data collection tools to platforms of continuous learning and interaction. It's a two-way street: while companies gain valuable insights, respondents receive relevant feedback, resources, or recommendations. It's like having an ongoing conversation with your audience, where both parties grow, adapt, and evolve with every interaction.

In essence, the future of surveys is about creating a loop – a loop of engagement, feedback, and perpetual learning. And for B2B companies, this could be the key to building stronger, more informed, and lasting relationships with their target audience.

In summary, the magic lies not just in asking questions, but in asking the right ones. Whether you’re looking to generate leads, foster discussions, or simply engage your audience more effectively, these tips are your go-to guide!

Key Takeaways

Improving B2B Marketing Outcomes Through the Art of Questioning

  1. Ease Into Engagement:
    Starting with simple and straightforward questions warms up respondents, easing them into deeper insights as they progress through a survey.

  2. Conciseness is Key:
    Whether it's LinkedIn or an industry survey, crafting concise questions can spur meaningful engagement and foster community discussions.

  3. Resonance Over Rigor:
    While scientific precision has its place, B2B industry surveys should prioritise engagement and relevance. The objective is to be educational and resonate with your audience rather than striving for perfect accuracy.

  4. Streamlined Surveys Win:
    Consistency and flow in survey design ensure a smooth participant experience, increasing the chances of survey completion and garnering better insights.

  5. Harness AI with Open-Ended Insights:
    Open-ended questions can provide invaluable insights. When coupled with AI-driven marketing, this data can be a transformative tool for personalised engagement at scale.

  6. Anchor in the Now:
    To extract the most genuine and actionable data, focus your questions on the present before transitioning to future predictions or aspirations.

  7. Trends Over Direct Intentions:
    Steering the conversation toward IT trends and innovations can open doors for deeper connections and interactions without appearing intrusive.

  8. Surveys of the Future are Dialogues:
    The evolution of surveying sees it transitioning from a one-way data collection tool to a dynamic, two-way interaction platform. Integrating AI helps in tailoring the experience for respondents and creates a loop of continuous engagement and learning.

In sum, to amplify your B2B marketing efforts, it's not just about asking questions – it's about asking the right questions. Prioritise engagement, resonance, and relevance in your surveys, and witness a deeper connection with your audience, laying the foundation for more informed and lasting relationships.

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