Tips for Preparing Better Surveys

An online survey is an easy and cost-effective way to acquire information. However preparing good surveys which elicit good responses from participants is not such an easy task. As yourself; how many times have you started a survey only to stop in the middle because it was either too long or too complex? If we do this, why wouldn’t others? Such surveys don’t serve the original purpose of acquiring information to gain insights and end up being a strain on your organization’s resources.

So how do we prepare good surveys that encourage participation from respondents? How do we ensure that they don’t stop in the middle but take time to complete the entire survey? Are there any resources that can help me prepare good surveys? How do I start planning?

Goal-oriented approach. Too often, we focus so much on getting the questions right that we tend to lose focus on the objective of the survey. The first step instead should be to define the goal or objective of the survey and the target audience. Begin by asking yourself these questions.

Is this survey to gauge customer satisfaction or for market research for a new product? What kind of profile fits my respondent, and what kind of sample should I select?

Also important is to define the tools/techniques that you are going to use to dissect the responses and the medium of delivery.

Incentivize prospective respondents with Gamification/rewards. Unless there is money involved, remember that the participants are voluntarily taking valuable time out to respond to your survey. In such cases, they really don’t have any incentive to complete the survey.

It is up to you to offer them some kind of incentive to complete the survey. Gamification is one of the techniques you can use for this purpose. Make your survey fun and offer virtual rewards/points to increase survey response rates.

Alternatively, you could offer them something tangible. If you are an FMCG company, offer them samples of some of your products. If you are a company that deals in professional services/information, you can offer them a peek into an important publication or a copy of the latest research into current trends.

Get your questions right. In a series of blog posts earlier, we talked about the importance of questions in a survey and the different questions you can employ to elicit different responses. Don’t test the respondent’s patience by asking questions that are out of context or vague. Keep your questions short, simple, and focused.

Want to share more tips about preparing online surveys? Leave a comment below.