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Become a Quiz Whiz - and Enjoy Increased Sales

by Marcia Yudkin

The phenomenal success of ABC TV's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" demonstrates the pervasive appeal of questions with delayed answers. Creating a TV program to promote your business wouldn't be a bad idea. But you can achieve the same kind of magnetic effect and channel its popularity into sales without multimedia production expenses. How? With a creative, fun-to-take quiz.

Recently I noticed two university presses - not normally cutting-edge marketers - deploying this technique in their print ads. The University of Chicago Press ran an ad with literary quotes in bubbles. "Who Said That?" To find out, readers had to buy the book or visit the book's web site. Likewise, the University of California Press included in a book ad an invitation to test one's copyediting skills at a certain web address.

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Dangling a quiz as a hook in a print ad is only one way to evoke curiosity that increases sales. You could include quiz questions in your print or e-mail newsletter. You could feature them on a postcard sent to either regular or prospective clients. You could enclose them with invoices to tempt customers to visit your new Web site. You could mail them to trade show attendees, promising gifts for those who stop by your booth at the show to check their answers. You could ask the questions in a radio ad, or provide them free to DJ's who agree to mention your web address. The possibilities are limited only by your ingenuity.

Quizzes don't always invite readers or listeners to test their savvy. Besides trivia and "Do you know?" queries, you could devise a lineup of questions designed to raise awareness. For example, a real estate agency could create a questionnaire called "Should You Sell Your House Yourself?" It would ask so-called "Fisbos" ("For Sale By Owner" types) to rate themselves on how well they understand real estate and legal terminology, how much time they're prepared to spend showing the house, how shrewd they are at negotiations and so on. Along with the answer for each question, the Fisbos would learn more about the risk associated with that factor.

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A third type of quiz invites readers to uncover the extent of a need. For instance, a printer could provide a checkoff of circumstances where the scoring  reveals whether a business should shift to digital printing. A plastic surgeon could produce a set of questions and a scoring system for whether or not it's time for a face lift. As with the previous type of quiz, the questions must appear factual in nature and not loaded to steer all quiz takers to one conclusion.

As for quiz formats, I've seen successful true-and-false, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank variations. On the web, you can have the answer to each question appear in a little pop-up screen, give the user a "submit" button to learn his or her score and interpretation or link to a page containing answers. Happy asking!

Quiz Examples

The University of Chicago Press quiz

The University of California Press quiz

Needs-assessment quiz

Quiz for non-profit organization

Quiz using popup answers

Quiz with scoring sent by email

Quiz offering the answers farther down the page

Quiz with unusual scoring system

Quiz with complicated scoring

Quiz Resources

1. Quizmaker #1 multiple choice, seems to work with all browsers 

2. Quizmaker #2 - multiple choice quiz with a popup screen for each answer

3. Quizmaker #3 - another multiple-choice quiz maker

4. Step-by-step instructions on constructing many kinds of quizzes

5. Assessment generator - this for-fee service makes it super-easy to construct a needs-assessment quiz

Copyright 2002, 2004, 2007 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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