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How to conduct an online survey in 5 simple steps

Thinking about creating and sending out a survey? Learn more about how to effectively conduct an online survey.

What is a survey?

A survey is a list of questions that will help you collect information from a group of people.

Why send out a survey?

Sending out a survey is a great way to get feedback from your customers. By learning about what your customers like, dislike, or miss, you can improve your offerings and enhance the value you are creating for them. This will help you improve your customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Ready to create your own survey?

Follow these 5 steps:

  1. Goal: Ask yourself why you want to send a survey. What do you want to learn from this survey? Be specific! E.g. what service, feature, product do you want to improve (pricing, online experience, …)?

  2. Customer segment: Pick your customer segment. Who are you going to survey to reach your goal? Who fits your target demographic? This could be your entire following but also a smaller subset. Be deliberate about it.

  3. Sample size: Identify how many respondents you need to be able to draw conclusions. This could be just 1 respondent, but often you would like more than 1.

  4. Plan: Think about how and when you are going to send the survey. Pick the right moment for it and the right channels.

  5. Create, share & remind: Create your survey, test it yourself, and ideally test it with one or two people. When you’re happy share it with your selected customer segment. Kindly remind them at least once or twice to fill out the survey.

What to keep in mind when sending out a survey?

  • You don’t want to send out too many surveys to your customers, as they will get tired of filling them out. So be smart about when you send it out and avoid survey fatigue.

  • Make the survey short and sweet. Too lengthy surveys will make people drop-off.

  • Make it very easy for people to find and fill out. This includes making it easy to perform on any device (tablet, phone, laptop) – don’t forget to optimize for all devices. The link to the survey should be easy to find too. Don’t bury it in a long email. Preferably advertise it on your different channels.

  • People are wary of sharing their information. Make it very clear why you are doing this survey, and what you’re going to do with the information.

  • Incentivize people to fill out the survey, for example by offering something in return.

  • To be able to draw conclusions from your survey you likely need scale. Response rates vary, but you want to send the survey to a big enough group. If you want to survey only a sub-segment, that is fine, but think about the number of responses desired.

What program to use to make your survey?

We use either Qualtrics or Google forms, but there are many great (free) options out there. Google forms is great for simpler surveys, but I find the question skip logic (make questions dependent on the answer of another question) too basic for some surveys. So for more advanced surveys, I like to use Qualtrics. Some free options for you to consider:

  • Google Forms: Google forms is free and has unlimited surveys, questions, respondents, data export (automatically in Google sheets), design theme customization (including adding your logo, images, videos), templates and basic reporting, skip logic (make questions dependent on the answer of another question). The layout is not as fancy as some other options (in particular Typeform).

  • Qualtrics: The free version permits one active survey (unlimited un-active), 10 questions, 7 question types, 100 respondents, basic summary reports and filtering, skip logic, and online reporting.

  • Survey Monkey: The free version gets you 10 questions, 100 respondents, 15 question types, light theme customization, and templates. No exporting of data or skip logic with the free version. Paid versions start at $26/month.

  • Typeform: This is great for more creative surveys. The free version includes unlimited questions, respondents, data export, design theme customization, templates, and basic reporting. No skip logic or more advanced features (e.g. payment). The paid version starts at $25/month.

  • SurveyPlanet: The free version of Survey Planet offers: unlimited surveys, questions, respondents, theme options. The paid version starts at $15/month and includes branding and data exports.

Conducting an online survey is easy and cost-effective, and has the potential to be very valuable. If done in the right way. It can help you make key decisions and serve your customers better. Try it for yourself!

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