Not all online surveys work out as planned. That’s a sad message to start an article with – especially coming from a survey site – but it’s the truth. Sometimes, after all the planning and hard work, the results raise as many questions as they answer. That is, of course, not always a bad thing. Any piece of market insight, even if it is not what the survey initially was all about, is useful. But wouldn’t it be nicer if all surveys returned a full and detailed picture?
Well, there are tricks to every business, even this one. If you're planning on doing an online survey any time soon, here’s what you should look out for.
Constantly Be Careful
Again, such a sad message to start with. I’m sorry. But allow me to explain.
See, not all free online surveys are what they claim to be. Most will in fact be free, but many will also be unfit for a detailed, usable survey. Usually, the problem is that the free survey package is a trimmed down trial package with extremely limited features. This means that you will create your survey they way you have to, not the way you want to.
Some free offers may also be no more than a trap intended to make you commit to a contract or submit your credit card details before being dragged into purchasing the real thing. At best, they will waste your time.
Tip #1: stay away from any free survey package that requires you to sign a contract or submit your credit card information. Also, double check the Terms and Conditions of any free offer to be sure that it is not a limited trial package.
Avoid Assuming the Answers Are All
Most leading survey sites will have a market-perception scoring tool. An example would be the Net Promoter Score, a simple tool that calculates the overall perception level over a range from -100 to +100.
But although survey scores are useful, in themselves they are usually not enough for managerial decision-making. Managers shouldn't just want to know how well or how poorly the market rates the company’s brand, product or service, but also why. If the Net Promoter Score is +20, then why is it at that level and how can we improve it?
Tip #2: question every answer, however good they may seem.
Deliver a Dashing Design
Online respondents decide, often within the first few seconds, whether or not a survey questionnaire is from a respectable, serious source, and if they’re going to continue filling in your survey. Good design is often overlooked when creating a survey, but it should actually be one of your highest priorities, as it can make or break your survey.
We try to help you as much as possible by allowing you to easily choose your own visual effects. That includes the placement of your logo, your own background background, and your overall color scheme. Or, if all that sounds like it’s too much for you, feel free to take a look at our creation service. That way, we’ll have it all covered for you.
Either way, put some serious thought into your design, because…
Tip #3: design matters.
Fight the Fatigue Factor
Lots of surveys get few or poor responses because they tire the respondents, so the number of questions asked matters here. Try to avoid asking unnecessary questions, for example first asking for a birth date and then asking for their age. The latter is unnecessary since you can calculate it from the first. This might seem obvious, but keep in mind that these types of questions can present themselves in lots of different forms.
If it’s not absolutely necessary to help you get your answers, don’t put it in your survey. This will help you by having to analyze fewer responses, but – more importantly – it will probably also improve your response rate, as it will put less pressure on your respondents.
Tip #4: keep it short, keep it simple.
Corny Caring Conclusion
There’s not much we can help you with regarding Tip #2 and Tip #4. However, Tip #1 and Tip #3 we can help you with. No, we will help you with.
We believe in transparency, so we have no contract, no need to fill in credit card information, and you know exactly what you get. We also believe in you, so that’s why we allow you to fully style your survey the way you want to.
Thoughtful tips or genuine garbage? Let us know in the comments what you think!
Photo credit: Tasty Suite (thanks, Tasty Suite)
Dec 20, 2013