How to Survey Former Students to Inform Your Future Marketing Strategy

Survey questions to gather meaningful feedback.

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At Muse, we love working with learning clients to help them increase student registration. We relate to their drive to maximize human potential. Whether it’s a virtual learning business in need of marketing support or an instructor transitioning their in-person classroom to a virtual experience, we find their greatest selling tool is often right under their nose: in the stories and successes of past students.

Of course, you know why your online course is great, but there are additional benefits that may be invisible, even to you. That’s where your course graduates come in – there’s no better way to define the positive outcomes of virtual learning than by asking past students what they gained and how it’s impacted them for the better.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Course Survey

If you don’t keep your former students’ contact information, now’s the time to start! Past graduates can provide testimonials and invaluable feedback to inform updated and new course material. We created an interactive survey for our clients to easily gather insights and comments that translate into benefits-driven sales copy. Contact us to customize a complete survey or read on for some essential sample questions that will make all the difference in your messaging.

Our survey tool can help you uncover unexpected insights about the true value of your online course. Use this information to better connect with prospective students and increase conversion.

1) Guide conversion-shy leads. One major insight revealed by past students is a deeper understanding of the obstacles – perceived or real – they overcame to sign up for the course in the first place. These revelations can help you frame a prospective student’s challenges before the course and their accomplishments after. When you understand the bottlenecks in their decision-making, you can ease any doubts to help them visualize their future with success stories of people “just like them.”

One of our clients developed an online college and career readiness course for high schoolers preparing for their next chapter. Over 3,000 students have completed the 12-month course, securing an average of $20,000 in financial aid towards college. The key takeaway? The $300/year price tag proved to be a worthwhile investment that saved THOUSANDS of dollars and placed students in their right-fit college or career. A testimonial video from a successful course graduate speaks volumes to leads on the fence about the value and outcomes.

Sample survey questions:

  • How long did it take you to make the decision to register for the course/class?
  • If you didn’t sign up right away, what was holding you back?

2) Define your greater purpose. With our survey tool, you can find out WHY past students converted and what they found most useful. Sure, there may have been some very clear-cut benefits, but there’s a strong possibility that something you said struck a deeper chord with them –something to help them achieve their full potential. They knew your online course was valuable, but what’s the inherent purpose in the big picture?

The Golden Circle

We use the Golden Circle method, first introduced by Simon Sinek, to demonstrate how the most powerful organizations operate from their “why.” When you understand the reasons for conversion, you can focus on what ultimately drives people to your online courses and what motivates you in your work.

Sample survey questions:

  • Where did you find the MOST value in the class?
  • What one takeaway from this class will you use the most?

3) Be open to feedback. Ask what can be improved to help you develop more and/or better content. This is the best way to take a pulse on what really resonates with your audience.

Sample survey question:

  • We’re always looking to improve our course material. What’s one thing we could have done differently to support your learning experience?

4) Gather powerful testimonials. Social proof is a powerful psychological phenomenon – people look for endorsements from others to signal a wise purchasing decision. Humans also have a natural tendency to seek out stories and experiences of other humans. Our online course survey makes it easy to gather these stories for powerful testimonials. They can take shape as written statements with a photo or a short video shot on an iPhone or Zoom video call. Either way, testimonials are a reliable way to build credibility for your course.

Sample survey questions:

  • What are the three words you’d use to describe this course?
  • Would you recommend this course to a friend?
  • If you were to recommend this course to a friend, what would you say?

5) Activate upsell opportunities. This survey allows you to reconnect with past students to offer them new courses or advanced topics to contribute to their ongoing growth.

Sample survey question:

  • What ideas do you have for additional content that can serve your learning journey?

Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback

Remember, people are happy to talk about experiences that improved their lives. Your past students are not only your greatest sales tool, but they also serve as a reminder for why you do what you do every day.

Do you need a better way to attract and convert new students? Reach out for a free 15-minute consultation for your online course marketing strategy.

About the Author

Lauren Konst is an Account Manager at Muse. With a strong background in integrated marketing and communications, advertising and events, Lauren pitches grassroots marketing ideas and creative solutions to support clients’ business objectives. Throughout her career, she has worked with notable clients including Cleveland Clinic, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

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