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Creating an Effective Survey

08.16.12

Author: Isabelle Leichtman 

Surveys can be a great way to see what kind of changes or additions would holistically optimize your business.  For consumers, surveys provide direct communication through which they can express what’s important to them in order to keep them satisfied (and ultimately their business).  Similarly, surveys allow employees to give feedback on what helps them work efficiently as well as allowing them to offer their own ideas for the company’s inner workings.   So here are a few tips to produce an organized and straightforward survey:

1.       Determine the main objectives 

Before you begin crafting questions, you need to clarify what specific topics or problems you want to target.  For example here at AdvantEdge, if we wanted to target client satisfaction, we would probably design a survey with questions regarding our business support services or location conveniences.   If the questions are too broad, you may run the risk of receiving vague information that won’t be of much help.  In addition, this will also guide you (the surveyor) in formatting appropriate questions.

2.       Target your audience

Determining your target audience will help you get the feedback you want.  This will also guide you to choose the best way to distribute the survey whether it’s through email, paper, or an online data base.  You may also distribute through email as well as online databases (such as SurveyMonkey and KwikSurveys), options that are fast, cost-effective, and green in comparison to paper versions.  However, they also have their disadvantages.  Email surveys limit you to receiving responses from only those in your address book (and could end up in the spam box), while web-based surveys run the risk of respondents quitting mid-questionnaire.  On the other hand, paper surveys are recommended only when you are surveying a small population.

3.       Create clear and concise questions in an organized manner

Aj Kumar, co-founder of Single Grain marketing agency, suggests limiting your survey to five or 10 questions.  Having too long of a survey can be daunting to those who don’t want to take the time to fill it out.  A short and convenient survey will be more likely to yield a higher number of participants.  Correspondingly, decide if you want your survey to consist of open-ended questions, closed-ended questions, yes-or-no questions, or a mixture depending on what kind of information you’re after.  Then, prioritize these questions into an order that makes sense to the respondent as to avoid confusion.

4.       Promote your survey

Once your survey is ready to be distributed, broadcast it to your target audience.  Include an announcement and a link to your survey in company emails, social media pages, website, blog posts, and even your email signature.  Putting a link is as many places as possible makes it accessible, increasing your chances that people will participate.  In addition, provide an incentive.  Whether it’s a discount or simply telling readers why this survey is relevant to them, an incentive helps to motivate people.

Once the surveys have been distributed and the results come in, analyze the information and act on the changes.  We hope these tips along with this source and this web-based source can help you format the most effective survey for your business needs!

Written by Trey Jones

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