21 Mistakes You Want To Avoid When Building Your Survey (and How to Avoid Them)
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21 Mistakes You Want To Avoid When Building Your Survey (and How to Avoid Them)

21 Mistakes You Want To Avoid When Building Your Survey (and How to Avoid Them) - Eric Beer

21 Mistakes You Want To Avoid When Building Your Survey (and How to Avoid Them)

When you’re trying to learn a new skill, there are certain things you can always count on. There is always going to be some kind of a learning curve, and some people will find it easier than others.

One thing is sure – no one ever got it right on the first go. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years, and there’s no doubt that the difference between my first and most recent survey is nothing short of astronomical.

So we all learn by failing at first and getting better as we go. But why we fail and how speaks worlds about the speed of our journey.

In all my years of building surveys and helping others do the same, I’ve seen people disrespect the process countless times. And as long as you’re trying to pull questions out of thin air, hoping you’ll stumble upon crucial information about your audience – you’ll always be a long way from harvesting the true power of surveys. 

You can mess up a survey in many ways, although some are much more common than others. I recently set a challenge for myself and was able to list out the 21 most common mistakes people make when building surveys. 

Today, I’m going to share every single one and explain exactly how to avoid them.


How to Avoid 21 Common Mistakes People Make When Building Surveys


A quick side note. If you recognize you’ve been doing any of these, don’t get discouraged. Adjust and move on. It’s just part of the process.


1 – Understand “The Who?”


Before you start making a survey, you need to understand who it is that you’re trying to talk to. It sounds obvious, but I’ve seen people churn out survey after survey without any direction or vision whatsoever. Understanding “The Who” gives meaning and structure to your efforts.


2 – Score Your Leads


“You want to understand who to listen to and who not listen to.” – Eric Beer


Not all leads are created equal. The opinions of your die-hards are much more valuable, so you need to figure out who these people are. It’s something that I’ve particularly paid attention to when designing my SurveyDetective platform, and we’ve built all sorts of quantitative analysis systems into it.


3 – Even Out Your Segments


In a perfect world, if you were segmenting your audience into four sections, each of them would contain 25% of your audience. This ideal scenario will never happen, but you can’t allow your results to drift from it too much, either. If one of your segments has more than 50% of your audience – it’s back to the drawing board.


4 – Keep Your Segments EXTREMELY Different


Your segments must never overlap, not even slightly. If there’s an answer that would place a member of your audience in more than one section, you need to rethink and redefine your segments.


5 – Create Curiosity With Your Hooks


The hook is the thing that gets people to start clicking. For it to be effective, it needs to create curiosity by promising people that they’ll learn exciting new information about themselves.


6 – Use an Informative Start Page


Before they start answering survey questions, people need to know what they’re in for. How long does the survey last? What do you intend to do with the information? What’s in it for them? If people know what to expect, they’ll be more likely to engage and complete your survey.


7 – Apply the Right Incentive


To ensure you’re reeling in quality leads, the incentives you’re offering have to be relevant to your audience exclusively. It has to be something intrinsically appealing to them in particular, and not just anybody. No iPads!


8 – Make Sure Your Surveys Are Responsive Across ALL Devices


Test out your survey across platforms to make sure it’s working correctly. For instance, if the mobile version has a plain font or a messy image resolution, it might come off as sloppy, and you’ll end up with a higher drop off rate.


9 – Present One Question Per Page


Don’t overwhelm your audience. Asking one question per page allows your surveyees to maintain focus and keeps them engaged longer.


10 – Have a Clear and Concise Outcome Goal


You need to know precisely what it is you want your audience to do after taking your survey. Remember, when building a survey, you’re working from your outcomes backward, which is why they need to be very straightforward and to the point.


11 – Less Is More


“If you’re trying to generate some leads from people that don’t know who you are – less is more.” – Eric Beer


Be efficient with your questions. If you can remove a question and still have the same outcome – get it out!


12 – Do Not Ask Leading Questions


The only way for you to get relevant data is to remain impartial and not use leading questions. If you’re nudging your audience to answer a certain way, the data itself will be useless.


13 – Do Not Use Absolutes


Absolutes such as “always” or “all the time” can create confusion and won’t help you learn much about your audience. In other words, make sure you stay clear of them always and at all times.


14 – Do Not Leave Room For Interpretation


Be direct and on point with your questions. If a single question can be interpreted differently, different people aren’t answering the same question, are they?


15 – Do Not Make Assumptions


Don’t build your survey with the assumption that people know or understand something specific. If you’re wrong, a portion of your audience won’t be able to give you a valid answer.


16 – Do Not Ask Two Questions in One


People sometimes ask two questions as one either because they think it’s more efficient or they don’t understand the situation very well. Combining questions can be extremely problematic because there is a good chance people will have different, or even opposing answers. Keep your questions clear, precise, and above all – separate.


17 – Cover All Options


If you’re asking a multiple-choice question, make sure you have all of the options covered. You can’t allow having a question that a portion of your audience can’t answer.


18 – Use the Right Question Format


Open and closed formats are two fundamental types of survey questions. You need to understand when to use which because if you don’t get it right, it can skyrocket your drop-off rate.


19 – Ask 3-12 Questions


I’ve found this to be the ideal range for surveys. Asking more than 12 can overwhelm your audience, while any fewer than 3 creates suspicion about the validity of your survey.


20 – Indicate Progress


You must allow people to see their progress and position themselves during a survey. You can use a classic progress bar, percentages, the number of questions remaining,… Whatever you can think of – use it. It will keep people engaged while eliminating suspense.


21 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you’re not sure what you’re doing, find someone who can help you fast track your success. You don’t have to suffer and do everything by yourself. There’s plenty of people you can consult out there; all you have to do is ask.



And that’s it! We did it, Performance Marketers!

I really hope this list goes a long way in helping you become a true SurveyDetective.

On that thought, make sure you sign up for my SurveyDetective VIP waiting list and stay updated on our progress. The release is getting closer by the day I can already feel how amazing it’s going to be!

🕵️‍♂️ Sign up for the SurveyDetective VIP Waitlist

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or reach out to me directly through social media.

See you next week!


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Read Full Transcript

What's up Performance Marketer Nation? Today we're going to talk about 21 mistakes you want to avoid when you're building a survey. So let's dive in, now.

I spent the last 17 years building my eight-figure performance business without using any of my own money, working with some of the most brilliant direct response marketers in the world today. Now I'm looking for entrepreneurs to join my affiliate army, built on ethics, transparency, good old hard work. Join me to change the perception of how people view the greatest business in the world, affiliate marketing, and follow along, as I learn, apply, and share performance marketing strategies, working with some of the brightest people on the planet. My name is Eric Beer, and welcome to the Performance Marketer Podcast.

So when people are building surveys, people think they just throw up any questions they want. But ther are really... There are patterns. There are ways you can go about doing this the right way so that you're going to see success immediately. And what I've done is I've listed out a bunch of mistakes that I see people making. For my specific trainings. I have a technique that I teach people. It's very specific. And there's a lot of things that go into building out the survey. But you can be innovative and do other things. You don't have to follow just my technique and things work. But you want to avoid these mistakes, because these mistakes come up, and they hurt performance time in time out. And unfortunately, unless you know it, you're gonna fall into that trap. So today I want to tell you a little bit about what that looks like. And we'll go through this list right now. And now you'll know for the next time that you build a survey on what you should do or what you should look to avoid. All right? So let's dive in. So 21 mistakes to avoid when building your survey. It could be your assessment, it could be your quiz... It doesn't matter. Everybody uses different names. They're all the same thing. At the end of the day, it's just about what's the end goal, which we'll get to. So number one, people don't understand who they're serving. So need to know the who. It's obvious, you would think that's obvious. But believe it or not, people are just firing out surveys and they're not really sure who it is they're trying to survey what they're trying to learn about. So the number one thing before we even get started, is you need to make sure you know who it is that you're trying to talk to. So, number two, you want to score your leads, when people are coming in and filling out your surveys. You want to understand who to listen to and who not to listen to. Especially when you're doing more on the research side, when you're investigating, you need to identify the highest quality of lead the person that's going to be buying your stuff, the diehard person, and those are the people, you're going to want to take their opinion at a higher value than somebody else that really won't ever buy any of your products. For example, if a wedding dress company was out surveying, on their opinion about different types of wedding dresses from a comfort level, then it wouldn't really make a lot of sense for me to be giving my opinion on that. And if I did, and went through and gave them my opinion, if they actually are going to make decisions off of what I'm telling them, they're going to be leading down the wrong path because I'm not the person that's going to be purchasing this item. That makes sense. So you want to score your leads. And we have different algorithms on how we do that in our system and SurveyDetective. What we try to do is we try to create quantitative analysis. At any given point in time, we try to put some sort of number to what you're doing to give yourself an idea of if you're in the right place or not, if you're moving in the right direction, so you want to score number three, is, you want to make sure that your segments are evenly distributed. So what does that mean? What that means is, if you're gonna break out your segments into four pieces, in the best case scenario, you're gonna have leads in each of those segments, broken out to about 25% each, if you had three segments, 33% each five segments 20% each. That is in a perfect world, it's never gonna happen. But what you want to do is you want to avoid Having one or two groups having 40 50% plus of your leads, if you're doing that, what's then you're taking away You're diluting the efficacy of what this survey is doing for you. The segmentation survey is allowing you to customize your message. And if everybody's falling into that same group, then you need to go back and re segment your target markets, allowing you to now create more of a custom message to each of the people that are coming through. So you just want to keep an eye on it. And the way you do that is simple, right? You look if you had 100 leads, and you had four segments, 25 people each, if you had 100 leads, and you have 75 people in one, that's way too many you want you're going to want to go in and break that up and segment off of the 75 people in that segment. Okay. So you want to try to even out your segments as much as possible. And what happens is you'll slowly, you know, break it up over time, you can get more and more specific. And the more dialed in you are, the more relevant you are and the more you're going to close. So that's an important one. Number four, you want your segments to be different. You want them to be different. No two should be the same. What does that mean? You when you ask a question, and you're going to have one primary segmentation question, you don't want somebody landing on that question where they can fit into more than one of those segments. They have to be extremely different. If I can answer a question, and I can be in one or the other. Then I didn't do a good enough job of segmenting and I need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to make each one of them extremely unique, where there's no other option except for that specific segment. Okay, number five Your hooks must create curiosity. So the beauty of this is that the surveys, the powerful thing about surveys is all about people being able to learn things about themselves, they're able to create some some self awareness around what's going on in their lives. So you want to do something where you get someone interested in learning more about them. So it's, you know, what cook type are you? Who do you match from all the superheroes in The Avengers? That's most like how you run your business, right? Like you just coming up with different ideas on how what's your, what's your entrepreneur score, things like that, right? So the idea is the hook is really the type of survey you're going to be using. And that is what's going to get somebody to start clicking. What we do is we create a poll, right with the ability in SurveyDetective to create a poll and you list a bunch of the hooks that you You're thinking about using and you take that poll, you share it with your audience. And you ask them, Hey, I'm thinking about running a survey, what would be most interesting to you to learn more about, and you show them a few and let them let them vote. And that'll help you with deciding on, you know which one you want to go out with. But you can always test multiple ones, and put them together and see which one's perform better. But if you're not sure, over time, that's the idea. But so your hooks, it's just all around creating something compelling, something that will get somebody curious so that they can learn more about themselves. Everybody's selfish, right? Number six, your store page. I see people just have this store page even if you have your your curiosity, which is great. They don't tell you what's going on. You want to you want to be upfront and give these people an understanding of what's the goal. How long is the survey? Like what are you gonna do with the responses that you're getting from the surveys. All of this stuff needs to be Told on the front end. So there's no surprises and people feel like they understand what's going on. So they'll be more willing to take this survey. Number seven, use the right incentive. You can incentivize somebody to take your survey or to enter their information. But you want to be really specific on what you do what you give away, because that's going to help you with the quality of the traffic that you're getting into your surveys or signing up for your surveys. And the ideas around people will offer $50 gift card or an iPad or Mac computer and that's very general and anybody would want that. So there's like these professional survey takers out there that will just go and sign up just to try to get whatever the prizes you don't want that what you want to do is you want to make something very specific. That's a value to your, your audience to your diehards, right so in a scenario like for me, I could give away a nine day kill An email sequence that has made me millions and millions of dollars that I'm going to give to you that all you really need to do is just swap out my name for your name, right? It's proven it's working. Someone that's not interested in that in my world won't sign up. They won't go through the process. They don't really care about that. Right. So the idea is to give something away, that's of intrinsic value to your diehards, right? So no, no, iPads, brings down your quality. Number eight is you want your surveys to be responsive to all devices. So before you launch your survey, make sure it works on mobile tablets, desktop, you know what happens? And I it's interesting, I'll run into this a lot. When I'm building my surveys when I'm going through the process, and I'm looking at it I'm always working off of my computer, and I'm looking at it based off of the desktop, but the majority of my traffic over 85 to 90% of my traffic is from mobile, but I'm putting so much time and effort into the desktop and then I go over to look With the mobile, and the fonts off, or something is below the fold that I don't want. So it's very important to make sure that one it's responsive and that the look and feel is working towards the majority of where you're getting your traffic. Number nine is one question per page. I see. I see a lot of people doing these surveys where there's a lot of questions on one page. It's overwhelming. It you want to create these these micro commitments, you want to be able to get somebody to see one question, focus on that one question one at a time, start getting them to click getting them to engage early on in your survey, you want to have the questions that are more of a easy, simple question to answer so that they start and they feel like they're making progress. So you want to have one question per page. You don't want to overwhelm your audience. Number 10. have a clear and concise outcome goal when you're serving You're not just asking people to question just ask people questions, you have a reason you have to have a reason you have to know what it is, what's the goal at the end that you're trying to accomplish? So are you trying to get somebody to book a call, watch a webinar via a guide or an E book, that you need to understand what it is that you want out of the people coming through your survey, you got to have a clear and concise outcome. And you need to know exactly what it is you're doing, because you're going to start from the outcome and work backwards. And that's how you build your your surveys. Right? So, number 11, less is more. You don't want to have tons of questions, right? You want to overwhelm somebody, you don't have 100 questions, especially if you're trying to drive traffic from a cold lead. If you have somebody that purchased something from you, and then you want to get more information they've already paid, they're invested. Different, completely different. And you can certainly ask more questions because now they'll take the time to focus But if you're trying to generate some leads from from people that don't know you are, less is more, if you can remove a question and still get the same outcome, then do it, the more questions you have the higher percentage that someone is going to drop off before they complete the entire survey. So number 12, you don't want to lead a person in a question, do not lead a person in asking the question. example would be, how bad Did you think that event was? Really bad? Terrible, not so bad. I liked it. You don't want to lead somebody down a path of asking them based off of it was bad. You want to you're just not going to get the same results. Right? So when it comes to the event that you just went to how would you compare it to all the other events? You've been at? You know, in regards to the event that you were just at, what were your thoughts? Would you think of it and then yes, but just be completely General and let them tell you what they're thinking. Do not use absolutes. You don't want to use anything about always, all the time. Yes, no, you're going to start to confuse people. If, like, for example, do you read books? Yes or no? Well, okay, great. You got you got that. But like, what does that mean? Like, you read books once a week you read books once a month, you're so you want to get some detail and get them answering questions where there's not an always, or all the time type answer, right? So how often do you read books? I read books at least once a week. I read books. Once a month. I read books on vacation. I don't really read books, but I read every day online blogs and articles right so you're trying to learn more about the consumer. So don't use any absolutes of always, all the time etc. Right for Do not leave room for interpretation. So when you're asking a question, you want to be able to explain what you're looking to learn from that person, or identify where they belong. So as an example, if you were to ask a question like, what entrepreneur Can you most relate to? And the answers are Oprah, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos? Well, I may perceive Oprah very differently than you perceive Oprah. So what you want to do is you want to list Oprah, but then you want to go into some detail. So the right way to do it would be Oprah. And then, you know, you could build that out. Because if someone's there, right off the bat, they see it, boom, they're there. Oprah they relate, they get it, or you go into some detail, after you write Oprah with. She's someone who believes you should be true to yourself. She believes that if you haven't failed, you haven't walked and there There's no such thing as failure. She believes that you should follow your gut and make your own luck, right versus Mark Zuckerberg would be someone that has a vision, and that sticks to their vision. And for him, it's not about money, money never really mattered. And he's also somebody that likes to work in comfortable clothes, where he'll wear a hoodie, right? So it's whatever it is you're trying to get out of the person that you want to learn about them. You want to go into detail about when you're trying to make comparisons. So you don't want to leave any room for any interpretation. And number 15. That is, do not make assumptions, no assumptions. Don't assume that people know something. Don't assume that they understand something. You need to be very clear in the questions and answers and what you're talking about and how you're going about doing it. Because you have no idea who's going through that survey and where they are. What stage they're at in their personal situation. Number 16 is do not ask two questions in one, as an example, someone might ask, when it comes to our coaching program, how do you feel we're doing in regards to our service? And the quality of the trainings? Right there? You asked two questions. So you're not going to get the right answer. You don't know? Are they going to answer how your service is doing? Or are they going to answer? How is the quality of your trainings? So what you want to do is you want to break it up. So you normally do in regards to our coaching program. Now, how are we doing in regards to servicing you? Then another question? How do you feel the quality of the trainings are in our coaching program? I'm going to break it up. Be very clear. Number 17. I see people not give enough options. So they'll ask a question like, how long have you been in business and they'll say, the answers will be 123 years, three to 10 years, 10 years plus? Well, they left that Less than one year, or haven't started their business yet. So you need to make sure that you have all of the options covered, you can't leave out certain items. Otherwise, it's just going to be confusing to the customer and may not relate to everybody that's coming through your flow. Even if you don't want to work with someone who doesn't have a business or is, you know, just starting their business, you still want to have a place for them to be able to answer the questions accurately so that you now can look at your database and understand who belongs where, and you never know, you know, people that are just starting a business you might want to reach out to in a year or two from now. Right? So you may wait a year and then reach out and follow up to see how their business is doing. Right and they then may be relevant. Number 18. The format is extremely essential format of your questions. When you're trying to learn and investigate. You'll have some open ended answers open ended meaning that you don't give multiple choice you're alone Allowing somebody to write in what they think in their own words. And that's huge for when you're investigating. You always want to do that. But when you're getting into your segmentation funnels, you don't want open ended questions. It's going to be one, it's going to increase your drop off rate. And two is when you're segmenting, all you're doing is you're just trying to identify where do they belong? Which segment do they belong in? Your investigation surveys are the ones that are helping you determine what your segments are. Your segmentation surveys are the ones that are helping you identify where the people coming through belong, okay? So it's essential to your business with if it's open ended or closed, open and closed, open is going to increase your drop off rate. You don't want to have a ton of open questions because it takes longer and more time for people to fill that out. Maybe if somebody bought something from you, and now you're trying to learn more about them, that's where they're going to take the time to invest but When you're doing it with cold leads, they're not going to stay there, they're going to drop off, you're going to see a poor performance. So just be careful with that 19. You don't want to have more than three to 12 questions, not too short, not too long. It's usually around that range between three and 12. You don't want to overwhelm them. But you also don't want to ask a few questions to where if you're going to give somebody a result, they're going to think, alright, this is baloney. Like, how do you even come to that result? When you ask me two questions, you know what I mean? So you want something in the three to 12 range that's showing that you're listening to them. They're going through, they're giving you the information you need, and you're able to then give them the results and show them where they are what's going on in their situation. And obviously, then you start to transition into what you're going to try to solve their problem with, which is you selling so 312 questions usually where you're at 20 Use a progress bar. I see people asking surveys, in the surveys in quizzes and systems, they see them asking questions and they don't use a progress bar. People are going through the process. They don't know where they are. If it's seven questions, three of seven, four of seven, five of seven, help people know what's going on, and how many more questions they have. Or they may just be like, This is crazy. I'm out. I'm leaving. So you want to use a progress bar, you can use percentages, you can use Seven of Nine questions answered. Right. Two questions left, just something to show them that you're communicating on how much more they need to do to complete the process. And number 21, which is one of the most important things is to not be afraid to ask for help. Okay, there are experts out there that can help you. Obviously, I know what I'm doing. There are a lot of other people that know what they're doing. If you're not sure, go ask somebody that is doing it as well. Help Fast Track your success, rather than trying to learn it all on your own and go through all the heartaches of things not working. Work with someone that can help you. Avoid all those mistakes. And fast forward your success so that you can now focus on your business and find a way to serve whoever it is that you're talking to, in the best possible way. obsess over your customer like Jeff Bezos says, so don't be afraid to ask for help. That's it guys. We got 21 mistakes marketers are making when they're building their surveys that you now can avoid by just following this simple checklist. So just to recap, number one, you need to know the who number two you want to score your leads. Number three, you want to make sure your segments are evenly distributed. Number four, make sure that each segment is uniquely different. No two sets can apply to one person. Number five, create some curiosity with your hooks, with the type of surveys you're going to be using on your store page, be very clear and upfront with what's going on, what are you doing with the data? How long is it going to take? Why am I going to be taking this? What's in it for me? Number seven, when you're going to give something away for taking the survey, and incentive, make sure it's relevant to your specific product or service. If you give away an iPad, you're going to have terrible quality. You want to give away something of value to your your tribe, your diehard audience. Number eight, make sure that your surveys are responsive to all your devices. Number nine, one question per page don't have tons of questions on one page don't overwhelm the person when they're taking the survey and they see it in like oh my goodness, and then they'll drop off for the start. Number 10. Make sure you have a clear and concise outcome goal, make sure you know what it is you want to get that person to do at the end of your survey, what action you want them to take book a call, watch a webinar, sign up for a training or buy a guide or an E book number 11. Less is more, don't ask tons of questions, if you're going through your survey, and you can. And I asked you, why are you asking this specific question? And you can't give me an answer and how you're going to be using that right there. And right, then take it out. You don't want to ask questions, maybe I'll use it later. No, you don't want that you want to use whatever it is that you're going to be using for the outcome to sell them, or whatever the goal is at the end. Number 12. Don't lead the person in asking questions and be very neutral. You don't want to get in the mind of somebody. How bad was that event? Because now they're thinking more obviously was bad. Like How bad was it? You don't want to ask that. So what do you think of the event, right? And then the answers will allow you to understand what their thoughts are on where they stand without any bias number 13. You don't want to use anything that's absolute, like, all the time, always, yes and no. Or you just don't want to do things where it's to the point where you're not really learning anything about what the user actually does, and you don't want to confuse them. Right? So it's, you want to use things along the lines where you give them options where I do it once a week, I do it once a month, I do it once a year, etc. give them options so that they can figure out where they fit in the answer. And then you can get a more clear understanding of who this person is. Don't leave any room for interpretation. When you're asking questions and you're giving answers. It's okay to have those one bold, like, that's the word for the answer that you want to use. But then give a description if you need to, where there's no interpretation for the example we gave earlier. Right? So, are you like Oprah? Well, everybody thinks of Oprah in a different way. So whatever the characteristics are that you want to apply to the person taking that quiz, you want to list that inside the survey so that they can read it and then be like, "Yeah, that's me. I'm that person doesn't believe in failure." So, number 15. No assumptions. Do not assume anything. Don't assume anybody knows anything. Knowledge, etc. Okay. Number 16. Don't ask two things in one question. You want to break it up. Number 17. You do not give enough options. You need to make sure everything is covered. You need to make sure that there's a an option for every person that takes a survey to the point where if it's the complete opposite of what you're trying to accomplish, then it's no interest or under one year, like I described earlier, things like that. Number 18. The format is essential. Open and closed questions. Open is where someone's writing something in and giving you their thoughts and opinions and writing their language on how they describe what's going on versus closed is like a multiple choice where you're giving the answers for them to choose from. Okay? Number 19, you want to about three to 12 questions in a survey, no more than 12 really no less than three. You want to make it seem like you're getting enough information that you can give them result. And you also don't want to overwhelm them and just... They're gonna drop off. Right? Number 20 is use a progress bar. Use something showing them every stage in the survey so they know where they are, and how much time they've spent, where they are, how much they have left, before it's over. Okay? And number 21 - ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help. That is the most important thing. You will fast track your success if you go to somebody that knows what they're doing. They'll be able to help you get all the value out of what surveys do for you. And you can focus on your business and it will fast track your success and it'll increase your revenues and increase your your your engagement it'll be you'll become relatable to your audience because you're not just marketing to them one way. So hope this was helpful guys 21 mistakes to avoid when you're building your survey. Good luck, keep on asking questions and serving your audience. Be wel, take care! Bye-bye.

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