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    6 Tips to Creating Effective Online Surveys

    The increase of online services has enabled 24/7 ‘on the go’ access to both businesses and consumers. These additional services present new options for brands to engage with consumers by using effective online surveys and find out what they truly think about their products, services and business.

    Using effective online surveys is a great way to gauge customers' honest opinions, as well as allowing them to share their own ideas with you anonymously, in a comfortable, secure environment. Online surveys are very easy and straight forward to setup, compared to print, they are also quick to distribute, record and analyse.

    Are you thinking of conducting research online or trying to gather feedback from a specific audience, but are unsure of how to get started? Following these quick tips will get you moving in the right direction.

    Effective Online Surveys let you find out about customers opinion of products and services Effective Online Surveys

    Research objectives

    Before you start your research, set an objective for what you want to achieve with the survey. Make sure you outline your goals so that your questions will help you achieve this outcome. Before you get started, ask yourself the following:

    • Do you want to gather feedback on a product or service?
    • Is the information needed of a general nature or specific?
    • Do you have a particular target audience in mind, or will you be sending out online surveys to the general public?

    How you answer each question will assist with your decision on how to target your survey and how large the sample group should be.

    What do you want to ask?

    Effective online surveys provide you with a range of formats that you can use to conduct your survey. Open and closed, matrix tables, single- or multi-response questions are all popular, however most respondents who complete surveys prefer shorter multiple-choice questions. Consider your audience, how open with their responses are they likely to be, how long do they have to complete the questionnaire and crucially what’s their motivation?

    When first drafting and creating the questionnaire, ensure you use language that is simple, avoid being vague or using double negations. One of the main benefits of online surveys is that you can choose the questions that your respondents’ answer, which means you can make sure the questions are relevant. You can even set up your survey so that certain questions can be skipped depending on the previous answer given.

    Inviting survey participants

    As your survey is accessed online there are many ways for you to distribute it to participants. Before you send it, think about the target audience and the objective of the survey and that will help you decide how best to distribute it. Think about where your respondents are likely to be when completing the survey and also consider the demographics such as age and location, as this might influence how the survey will be accessed and filled in.

    Using effective online surveys gives you the option to send an email to a subscriber list, post your survey on a social network such as Facebook, or design a banner that can be placed on another website if you are looking to increase the reach of the survey. Using SmartSurvey you can also distribute your survey via SMS to mobile devices. Decide which option your respondent will prefer and which will generate the best response rate.

    Gathering responses

    In some cases, where you want to increase the response rate, you could offer an incentive to the participant such as a free gift, the chance of winning something, a donation to charity or a loyalty point’s bonus system. Another way of increasing the response rate of your survey is by promising to share the results with your participants, this develops trust and also demonstrates the reason why you are carrying out the research.

    Analyse your data

    When choosing which software to use, ensure you choose an online survey tool that captures the data automatically and in real-time so that you can start analysing your data immediately. This will provide you with early insight whilst your survey is still open. Many online tools enable you to make a pictorial representation of the data captured with graphs and tables. You can then share a spreadsheet of the data with colleagues for further analysis.

    Producing your report

    All research should conclude with a report of your findings. Successful research delivers data that answers the questions stated in your objectives. Online survey software can be used to measure customer satisfaction, get feedback on products or services, and to gauge key influences.

    Effective online surveys are straight forward and cost effective if you choose the right provider. Academic, personal and business needs can be met with correctly targeted online surveys and the data that you capture can provide powerful insights and priceless results. Call our friendly customer support team on 0800 0937 822 to find out more information.

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    About Author

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    Phil Cleave

    Phil is part of the Content team at SmartSurvey and has over 20 years experience in the PR and Comms sector writing for Tech Companies.

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