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Successful Surveys – Your 5 Point Guide

Successful surveys are the key to understanding what an audience is thinking. The insight gained from an online survey can instantly empower a range of significant decisions. Research can influence changes to business strategy, product development, employee engagement policy and add weight to medical study and analysis. You might fully understand the benefits that well designed research can have and want to begin right away, but what is the best way to get started?

As this blog title suggests, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself when you begin to design your survey. Online surveys are easy to create in a few simple steps, but some initial planning will aid you in collecting useful data that can help you achieve your objectives. It is worth setting aside some time at this stage for planning and to cover all of the essential checkpoints for creating successful surveys.

1.       Plan Your Survey

There are a few easy steps to follow when creating an online survey. Here are a few key points to consider when planning to gather effective data that will help you meet your objectives.

Tips for creating successful surveys Successful Surveys

  • Establish your goals

What do you want to learn? Are you conducting an employee satisfaction survey or a product development survey? Your survey will vary depending on what you are trying to achieve. You will need to choose questions that provide you with the data you need. Therefore only ask relevant questions, don’t ask for anything you do not need? Your goals will determine who you send the survey to and what questions to ask them. Make your goals as specific as possible, this will make it easier to get usable data.

  • Select your audience

Who do you want to survey? Correctly targeting the right population will help you meet your objectives. How many people do you want to survey? The larger the sample size, the more accurate reflection you will get of the target group. What are the main demographics (age, gender, location, job, industry etc.) of the audience sample?

Confirming information about your audience will make designing your survey a lot easier. Knowing your target population is also a key factor to achieving a high completion rate. If you have more than one demographic you may want to consider creating different surveys for each group.

2.       Creating Successful Surveys

If your survey is going to be effective you need to ask the right questions. Relevance is key, so only ask your respondents to answer questions that apply to them, are clear and cover a subject that they understand. Use advanced logic features to ask questions based on pre-determined information such as gender, location or product use. This can increase completion rates, as users are only asked relevant questions.

It’s advisable to make the first few questions easy and satisfying to answer, so that respondents complete the survey, leave any sensitive questions toward the end of the survey. Your questions should remain on topic, whether that’s examining market trends, customer feedback or employee engagement, your questions primary task should be to capture the information you need to move forward.

3.       Promote Your Survey

Think about where your respondent is likely to be when they answer the survey. Are they likely to be ‘instore’ on the move, at home or at work? Are there multiple touch points from where your survey can be accessed?

There are now a range of ways to share your survey and gather responses. A multitude of channels can be used including email, SMS, web link, QR code or kiosk, you can now even collect answers when respondents are offline.

The channel you choose might depend on the data you already hold, if you have not gained consent or have the necessary data to send an email, then look to other options. Social media can be used to spread the word, but be sure to outline what you are researching and the reasons you want the information.

4.       Report

Your online survey tool should give you a range of reporting options. Fast results and real-time insight means you can make changes quickly by acting on the respondent data, testimonials and feedback you collect. Don't wait to make those decisions and improvements.

You can turn your results into custom graphs and charts for reporting and easily export the survey data to CSV (Excel) for further analysis. You can share results easily by sending colleagues a password-protected link so that they can view the results for themselves.

Set up a schedule to export your results on a recurring basis. You can run exports daily, weekly, monthly or just on a one-off basis. This can then be sent to multiple email addresses of your choice, to make your reports are fully automated. This streamlined approach to reporting will make sure you always have the data you need on hand.

5.       Identify Key Issues

  • Low response rate - Think about how you are distributing your survey, is it getting in front the right people?
  • Low completion rates - Are you asking relevant questions? Do you establish expectations at the start by telling respondents how long it will take to answer the questionnaire? Is your survey too long? Try to keep your survey as short as possible so as not to take up too much of your respondent’s time.
  • Poor results - Go back and look at the possible responses to your questions to see if you are actually asking the right questions to get the information you need.
  • Bias responses - Some respondents who lose interest in the survey might just select random answers or even choose a set pattern for answering. To combat this you can apply page and question randomisation to rotate the options presented.

Start creating effective surveys

The process of designing and sending successful surveys continues to evolve and become more effective and cost efficient. Results can provide valuable information to help organisations make good business decisions. Technology has greatly enhanced the ability for businesses to be agile and innovative, always improving, enhancing and streamlining the way to collect data.

For more information about how SmartSurvey’s advanced features can help you design successful surveys to benefit your organisation, get in touch with our support team. Simply visit our Contact Page or call us on 0800 0937 822.

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