No matter what line of business you’re in, if you’re operating a website (which you should be), you better know who’s visiting it. This not only represents your overall market, but an important cross-section that may be looking to engage you. So, the more you know about this specific group of people, the better chance your company stands of seeing improved results. Survey software is an absolute goldmine in this regard, because you’re literally just reaching out and asking your visitors about themselves—there are no tricks, tactics, or underhanded methods involved. Aside from this type of platform, though, you should also consider the below advice.
You should already have a pretty good idea of the information you’re after. Based on your industry, ideal customer and resources like social media, your online base should not come as a surprise to you. What you’re using surveys to do is to either drill down into specifics or find out auxiliary information about your market that can build on your understanding.
Never a launch a survey until you know what it is you’re looking for though. Specific goals get specific results. They may not always be the ones you were hoping for, but they’ll be much more helpful than the kinds of results you get from having vague goals. The feedback you receive from a lackluster survey can go right into the trashcan.
As soon as you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your survey, you can start designing it to meet these goals. This also means you can get rid of unnecessary questions. Does it actually matter to you what a customer’s age and gender is? Where they live? Their job? Level of education?
These answers may very well be vital to your operation. If so, ask. But don’t include questions because you’ve seen them elsewhere or they seem obligatory somehow. Long surveys are a great way to scare people off before they provide you with so much as their name. Studies have shown that after five minutes, most people will ditch.
Now, you may have just used your survey software to develop the perfect questionnaire of just four questions. Great! But if each question is a paragraph long or has 30 potential answers, hopefully you can see how this will be a problem.
As much as possible, keep everything simple. For example, don’t necessarily assume your market knows all the same acronyms you do. Also, don’t assume they’re in the mood to keep it short and sweet. Compare the following two questions:
How has your experience been with our customer service?
On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate our customer service?
You could argue that you’ll get much more information from the first question, but that response may go the exact opposite direction too and, in either case, it won’t be very quantifiable. The second question makes things simple for both parties.
If you’re going to use your survey software to propose a “scale” question like the one above, keep things consistent throughout. This means that each question should have answers that fall on a scale and the measuring stick should be the same (i.e., 1 to 10, 1 to 5, etc.). Some exceptions may exist where you need to ask a simple yes or no question, but anytime a scale is involved, make sure the numbers are the same. Consistency is key so people don’t become confused or otherwise answer erroneously.
This may seem like bad advice when you’re trying to leverage survey software to get to know your audience in the first place, but again, you should have some idea of whom you’re speaking to. If nothing else, analytics up until this point should paint you a reliable picture.
Understanding whom you’re speaking to means crafting a better survey—offering it on days when you know your audience is more responsive, knowing if an incentive is necessary, etc. The more information you use to build this survey, the better it will do.
Acquainting yourself with your market is essential. While survey software is absolutely essential for doing this, you’ll get much better results if you apply the above suggestions too.
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