Surveys are one of the most versatile and powerful data collection tools available to businesses. Unlike passive observational data collection, which relies on a business capturing data that audiences happen to generate as they interact with them, surveys are an active data collection method. A survey can be crafted to ask respondents about anything a business thinks might be useful to them. From learning more about how their customers feel about their new products, to gauging their reactions to proposed marketing slogans, there’s no limit to the information companies can gather using surveys.
But surveys are not a magic bullet. If you want your surveys to generate useful, high-quality data, you need to design them carefully. The questions that you ask, the order that you ask them in, and where and when you administer them will all impact the results you get. Online surveys enable you to reach a large number of people while keeping your costs to a minimum, making them the preferred format for most businesses today. If you want to maximise the effectiveness of your online surveys and get the most out of them, here’s what you need to know.
Introduce yourself the right way
Don’t assume that every person you send your survey to is going to read past the subject line of the email. If you are only going to send it out to your existing customers, you might get some responses based purely on the email address it’s being sent from. But if you’re planning on sending your survey out more widely, you need to make it immediately clear to recipients that your email isn’t spam.
It is usually best to avoid bulk-email programs unless you have a list of verified email addresses to use. Users who have already consented to receive marketing emails from you are less likely to mark your email as spam, and you have a better chance of making it past their spam filters. You could also embed a link to your survey within confirmation emails, newsletters, and other emails that your recipients are expecting or have already requested or consented to. This is another effective way of maximising your response rate.
Of course, you don’t have to use email at all. Distributing surveys via a QR code or link to the appropriate URL opens up plenty of other options. Spamming links to your survey isn’t likely to attract many respondents, but a few carefully placed links in the right places can work wonders.
Define their purpose beforehand
Before you build a survey, it should have a clearly defined purpose. If you don’t know what you want out of the process, you’re going to find it very difficult to make a survey worth your respondents’ time. Surveys that have no clear purpose and jump from one topic to the next without any rhyme or reason are harder for respondents to follow and less effective at eliciting the information you want.
If you have multiple objectives you want to achieve, consider whether you are better off with a single survey split into multiple parts, or whether it’s worth putting together different surveys for each of your objectives. The best option will depend on precisely what your objectives are and how many questions or data points you need to achieve them. If you can get the information you need in relatively few questions, you should be able to include all the questions in a single survey without much trouble. But if you need to ask a lot of questions, and perhaps follow-up questions as well, it is usually better to use separate surveys.
Take your time building them
Even with the purpose of your survey clearly defined, there’s a lot more to building an effective survey than just coming up with a list of questions. The structure of your survey, the wording of the questions, and the order in which you present them will all determine how much useful data you generate. Don’t waste the time you have already invested in deciding on your objectives and working out what you need to know to achieve them by rushing the process of actually building the survey.
Your survey should always begin with the simplest, least-complex questions first. This enables respondents to ease into the survey and get them thinking about the relevant subject(s). If you give them time to warm up, you will find they can provide much more thoughtful answers to the more complex questions at the end of the survey.
If your survey covers multiple topics that are quite different from one another, you should aim to group questions on the same subject together. Clustering similar questions together enable the respondent to focus their mind on one topic at a time, rather than darting between different topics. Within each cluster, order the questions by complexity.
Find the right survey building tool
It is hard to overstate the importance of using the right tool to build your surveys. Choosing a tool that makes the process of actually putting your surveys together as quick and easy as possible will give you more time to focus on asking the right questions. An app like Tapapp will do just that.
Whether you want to solicit customer feedback, carry out audits of your employees, or conduct field-based reporting, Tapapp’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface streamlines the whole process. For online surveys, Tapapp generates both a hyperlink and a QR code that will take respondents directly to it.
Best of all, Tapapp is free to use and platform-agnostic. You can download the Tapapp app for your smartphone and tablet, or you can use the online browser-based version.
Surveys are incredibly powerful tools; when they are deployed correctly. Distributing surveys online ensures they are easily accessible to as many people as possible while minimising your costs. But this isn’t something you can rush through. If you want your online surveys to be as effective as possible, you need to put some thought into them and plan them carefully. Using the right tools to build and distribute the surveys will enable you to save time without compromising on quality.
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