The best way to get stats is survey a lot of your readers or users. I have done this many times with free polls in the past, even before I bought a domain. Now I have a domain, a self hosted script is good to have and a powerful survey tool is crucial. I am currently using Lime Survey, which use to be known as phpSurveyor. I think this is one of the most versatile scripts out there that can easily capture the necessary data needed to help with your marketing.
Lime Survey is very user friendly but it takes a while to get use to. So to me it was 'ehh' user friendly and I found myself taking the whole day to just mess around with the system. There are images and the interface is a bit bulky but straight to the point. There are multiple ways to create and edit surveys, the only thing that bothered me was creating the survey.
Creating the survey was fairly easy until I was given the option of choosing, text, check box, options, drop downs etc. The options kinda of go into a more bigger range, for example radio buttons but there are like 3 other categories for radio buttons. Why can not I chose radio buttons and just keep adding radio buttons and its' choices? It was a bit complicated, I still have sometimes a hard time deciding what is what. It is a good thing they have a really good documentation otherwise I would have to download something else.
But back on topic: Surveying your customers or audience is important since you want to know what they want. I tend to have a survey 4-7 days down the road after someone purchases a product from me. The reason for this is I want to know multiple factors, ease of payment, ease of download, errors, opinions, would they purchase again, etc
There are many questions you can ask and many that you shouldn't ask. Also, throwing a survey to your users does not mean they will all participate. You will also notice some trends with different group of people. For example I sent out a survey to the users who downloaded the BANS Themes for free and a small amount of them participated. While the buyers, a higher percentage of them participate and said they would buy a similar product again. This tells a lot about your audience freeloaders vs buyers and what they want.
I also have a poll on my front page for users and my readers to create interaction but it is a purpose for me to see what readers are doing or want. There are even sites out there where users create surveys and are publicly shared so others can see what people are looking for. While some are for fun and some are serious, you really can not tell unless you have a good audience. For example freeloaders vs buyers are 2 different people. Buyers are more serious while freeloaders are just 'ehh whatever'.
What I use surveys and Polls for:
- End user Experience and Opinions of a Purchase Product
I think this is very important. Getting a response from your buyers is crucial because it will help you determine what you are doing right and wrong. Remember each buyer is different from noobiness to expertise. Each has their own experience and vision of your product being better or perfection. Take each response seriously but not too serious. You want to find a common situation which will make you focus more on that wider range than each individual. Grabbing user experiences' several days after they purchase is important as well, give them time to play around with your product before asking them to survey your product/service.
- Case Study on the Market
This is important because you want to know what the general audience feels on your niche. I have a poll on my front page of my blog and its a general study. I usually post results of what my audience is saying and I give my output on what I think the stats are telling me. Case Study surveys are important prior to a product launch as well. Research and Research is repeated throughout marketing, so every piece of data is important. Grabbing these sources from users can help you determine what your next product you should make or promote next.
If you would like to download a great survey/poll system I recommend grabbing Lime Survey. This program has a lot of functionalities that you can do and it is easy to use once you get use to it's interface. You can test and view the demo version to get a first hand experience with it.[metacafe]http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1350179/always_survey_your_market/[/metacafe]