As in all marketing efforts, there are methods to follow when creating online surveys if you want to obtain the very best results – and thanks to the range of free online survey tools out there, it's simpler than ever, provided you take the right path. Here are 10 tips for designing the ideal survey for your purposes:
1. Know your goals: Have a clear objective in mind before doing anything else. If your mind is focused on specific goals you wish this survey to achieve, then all else will follow.
2. Be brief: Customers don't want to spend hours poring over a survey – research shows that on average they will spend 15 minutes on one before losing interest. Keep it brief and focused, according to the principles of point
3. Engage with respondents: Phrased well, a survey presents an excellent opportunity to begin building an ongoing relationship with respondents. Offer incentives to take future surveys and receive promotional emails
4. Order questions to avoid bias: Some questions lead to answers which can influence the respondent in subsequent questions. Randomise your questions after they are written to avoid this pitfall and encourage candid responses.
5. Give respondents a 'write-in' option: With multiple choice questions, offer the opportunity to write in an alternative answer for those maverick thinkers. You may be surprised at the ideas you find.
6. Test your survey before release: Take the survey yourself, and then ask colleagues and friends to take it for a test drive. Spot problems and technical glitches early on before it's out there in the field!
7. Harness the potential of multimedia: Online surveys are ripe for synchronising with other forms of media such as photos, videos, audio clips and sliders. Such interactivity can keep respondents more engaged for longer and encourage more honest answers. Just be sure to use other media formats sparingly, so a novelty does not quickly become an irritation.
8. Analyse this! : Be sure to make good use of the analytic functions available on the better online survey apps. The data you harvest is invaluable and when properly collated and analysed can be even more useful for optimizing and growing your business.
9. Offer incentives: There's nothing wrong with offering prizes such as discount vouchers or other goodies to people who complete your survey, so long as the prizes are not likely to damage the honesty of the answers.
10. Be prepared to act on the results: When respondents identify areas of your business that “must do better”, take note and act. Failing to do so makes a mockery of your own survey efforts!