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    Create an Effective Online Survey

    Being asked our opinion about things we interact with is part of our everyday lives. We write reviews on products, ‘like’ images on social media, take part in polls and comment on videos and news articles. As consumers, we exercise our right to give our opinions freely. Organisations benefit from tapping into this insight, hence the need to create an effective online survey to collect the information…

    A smart business can capitalise by acting on data collected from online surveys. In today’s digital world, organisations have direct access to a vocal audience, in real-time. The days of ‘answers on a postcard’ are gone, a business can tap into this culture of feedback by utilising online survey tools to reach their customers in varied ways.

    5 Ways to Reach Your Audience Effectively

    1. Send online surveys via email
    2. Send survey links by SMS
    3. Share surveys on social media
    4. Embed your survey directly into your website
    5. Use a Live Consumer Audience service


    Create an Effective Online Survey Create an Effective Online Survey


    There are many reasons that your business or organisation might use online survey software:

    • For gathering customer feedback on a product or service
    • To record attendance details for an event
    • For pin-pointing your customer demographic or prioritising products

    Getting this useful information allows you to cut the time spent on advertising spend or admin and increase sales. The trick is to create an effective online survey that will provide you with actionable data to drive business forward.

    Tips to Create an Effective Online Survey

    Tip #1 - Keep It Simple

    Fundamental to creating an effective online survey is making it as simple and appealing for the user as possible, first impressions count. Customers who volunteer to take time to complete an online survey will be frustrated if the language is overly technical, the method of submitting answers is complicated or if the survey is too long. The anonymous nature of online survey participation is such that, if a customer can’t get along with it, they won’t bother finishing it.

    Tip #2 – Brand It

    Likewise, a generic, indistinctive email invitation to take part in a survey will be sent straight to the trash. An online survey needs to be clearly branded to let the customer know it’s from a company they use and are willing to communicate with.

    Tip #3 – Target Your Audience

    There are many online survey software options available, often with handy features to enhance the survey experience. Once you know who your target survey audience is (for which you might need to carry out a survey), it’s important to tailor the appearance and content appropriately. For example, some online survey software allows you to use picture response options for younger users.

    Tip #4 – Use Logic & Actions

    Make sure you are asking the right questions to the right people. Don’t ask questions that are irrelevant to the respondent. There may be questions, or even whole sections, in your survey that are unrelated to some customers. Consider using features, such as skip logic, that gives participants the option to skip irrelevant questions where necessary.

    Tip #5 – Choose Survey Software to Meet Your Business Needs

    Shop around to find the online survey software that will gather the information you need.  As with most things, you get what you pay for. If you just need something simple, it’s possible to get online survey software for free. However, if you need more technical features and options, it might be worth speculating to accumulate!

    So, in a nutshell - an online survey needs to be clear, concise, easy to navigate and recognisably branded.

    To sum up how to create an effective online survey, remember you are a user too. The effectiveness of an online questionnaire is just as dependant on how easily the person conducting the research can access the responses and analyse the statistics.

    When choosing your online survey software and using it, be clear in your mind about what you want to achieve and how you want the results to appear, whether it be a graph, chart or spreadsheet. The more useful the data is to you, the more effective the survey has been.

    Please contact our support team if you would like any more information or visit our page on 10 Tips For Creating An Effective Online Survey.

    Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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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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