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25 Greatest Practices for Surveys

Surveys can be an effective research tool for small businesses. You can use them to gather customer feedback, learn about the needs and desires of your target audience, or even learn how your employees view your company's business.

However, it is not that easy to ask your customers or team members just a few basic questions. Ultimately, best practices for surveys can help you collect more answers, more accurate results, and clearer data that will point your business in the right direction.

Best Practices for Surveys

A carefully planned survey design can help you get better results from your market research initiatives. Most small businesses should complete surveys on a regular basis, including sending questions to customers after purchase, researching the market before launching a new product or service, and ensuring that employees are happy with their current working conditions. Before you start creating your questions, there are a few best practices to consider.

1. Set goals

Before you start designing your survey, you need to consider what you want to achieve with it. These goals determine many of the decisions you make when creating, implementing, and analyzing the results of the survey. Think about your goal of limiting the number of questions and ensuring that everything is focused. You can always do another poll later on topics that don't match your current goals.

2. Select your target group

For best results, you need your survey to get to those you actually want to hear about. If you're considering a new product that appeals to your target customers of women in their fifties, a number of questions for millennials will not produce the desired results. Clearly outline who you want to hear from and why before designing your survey.

3. Keep it short

Respondents are unlikely to conduct lengthy surveys. You will get more results if you keep it under about five minutes. Anything longer than ten is likely to be abandoned a lot, making it difficult for you to get a representative sample. You can even specify in advance how long the survey is expected to take, or keep track of how many questions are still open so that respondents can track their progress over time.

4. Start with simple questions

People are also likely to cancel surveys if they believe the questions are immediately difficult or invasive. Facilitate them by asking simple questions with given decisions so they are more likely to continue. This means that all open or leading questions dealing with personal or demographic data will be saved until later.

5. Provide options

There is a time and place for open questions. However, you get more data that is easily quantitative if you provide multiple options. These questions are also easier for people to answer. So try to limit most of your questions to this style.

6. Avoid duplicate questions

If you ask two questions in one, it is difficult for people to answer precisely. For example: Do you love pancakes and bacon for breakfast? Well, some people might like pancakes, but not bacon, so how should they answer? Separate these types of questions or clarify the wording so that respondents are not confused.

7. Avoid key questions

Questions like "Wouldn't you like to see such a product on your store shelves?" You are more likely to get positive responses than, "How likely are you to buy this product?" With this type of question, respondents may be more likely to say what you want to hear. However, most small businesses should look for accuracy rather than security. Therefore, keep it as neutral as possible to awaken people's true feelings.

8. Keep options balanced

Another way to move responses in one direction is to provide options that clearly lean in that direction. Do not give answers such as strongly agree, agree, agree something, neutral, disagree. This clearly offers people more opportunities to agree with your statement. Instead, balance everything around a neutral option.

9. Use open questions sparingly

There are cases where you want people to give indefinite feedback. Just try to keep one or two questions per survey, as they tend to take longer and are difficult to answer. In addition, you should include them mainly towards the end of the questionnaire so that participants will move on rather than end a survey as soon as they have a difficult question early on. In these cases, explain what type of answer or length you are looking for so that respondents do not feel they have to write a novel to answer a specific question.

10. Provide mutually exclusive options

There should never be a case where more than one answer to a single question can overlap. This is usually done with numbers. For example, if you need to include a range, you may think that answers like 0-10, 10-20, and 20-30 make sense. If someone answers this particular question 20, they can realistically choose one of the last two options. Instead, clarify with options like: 0-10, 11-20, and 21-30.

11. Use consistent formatting

It is likely that you will have some survey questions that offer similar options, e.g. B: Agree fully, agree, neutral, disagree, disagree at all. If you offer the same options, try to keep them in the same order and format so that users don't get confused. If people are used to right-clicking the option when they agree to a statement, they can accidentally do so when you toggle the options.

12. Adapt the language to your target group

It can be easy for people in an industry to use jargon or insider terms when describing a product or concept without even realizing it. However, when you interview customers or potential customers, they may not understand these terms clearly. Always put yourself in the position of the respondent when you explain questions, or ask people who fit your target group for contributions when you ask questions.

13. Use a precise language

You also want to be very specific when you ask questions about surveys. Try to keep each question as short as possible and use the active voice to make the points as clear as possible. Do your best to avoid redundancies or additional languages ​​that are not necessary to understand every question.

14. Provide more options for higher accuracy

If you're looking for really specific data, give respondents more options to choose from. If you just give people the option to choose between a positive and a negative answer, you may miss the fact that there are a lot of people in the middle who feel fairly neutral about the concept you are describing. With more options, you can find out more and get to know people's true feelings.

15. Delete repetition

There are several ways to ask a question. However, if you ask very similar questions more than once, they may become confused or frustrated, which can confuse your data. This also makes your survey unnecessarily longer, which means that you collect fewer responses overall.

16. Consider adding pictures or videos for clarification

Some survey platforms allow you to add photos or videos with questions. If it is difficult to describe something in words, these functions can help you keep your survey simple and quickly clarify points or ideas. This can be particularly relevant when launching new products or comparing multiple options. Just make sure you have high quality pictures or videos that exactly match your needs.

17. Save personal questions for the end

Respondents are likely to leave a survey early if they are immediately asked personal or invasive questions. Once you've built up a certain amount of trust and explained the reason for collecting their information, they may stay. Even details like first name, last name, email address and demographic information should be placed towards the end.

18. Find a representative sample

If you want to interview your customers, you will receive more detailed information if your sample reflects your entire customer base. You are unlikely to get answers from everyone, but your data won't be as reliable if you only interview one customer type. Instead, divide your respondents into groups by demographic and location, and try to get answers from people in all of these groups.

19. Think of a number

It is also important to collect enough information so that your survey data is reliable. This number can vary depending on your goals. For example, a survey in your small team may only require 20 responses, while a survey on a new product may require 1,000 or more for customers.

20. Consider incentives

If you want people to actually complete your survey, give them a reason. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. You can simply send a survey to your email list and those who fill it out can take part in a raffle for a free item.

21. Explain your goals

People are also more likely to complete surveys if they understand the purpose. When you interview employees, you can tell them that their responses will be used to create a better work environment. When you interview customers, you can explain how you want to improve customer service or expand your product line and ensure that the new products appeal to them.

22. Test your survey before sending

Even if you have taken all of these best practices into account when creating your questions, your survey may result in simple errors or things that are not clear that you simply did not understand them when you wrote them. Take the survey yourself before you actually send it out, or have someone else fill it out to make sure each question makes sense and works toward your original goals.

23. Visualize feedback

Once you've collected answers, it's time to actually break down your results. This can be easier with graphics such as charts and graphics. Some survey tools do this for you, or you can use a design program to create these plots. This can be helpful when giving presentations to team members or to help you process the data of any questions that respondents answered.

24. Split answers into categories

You should also take a closer look at your findings to look for underlying trends. For example, your overall customer base likes your new product idea, but if you split them into demographic groups, you'll find that older consumers love them a lot more than younger consumers. This could help you figure out who you are marketing the new product to and ultimately give you the best chance of success with your new initiatives.

25. Act according to your findings

Your surveys won't do much if you don't use what you find. Not every survey question requires immediate action, but you should look at action items based on general trends and consider whether changes are necessary or not, whether they are improvements to your customer service strategy or a new marketing plan for specific customers.


How to Create a Survey

There are many ways to create a survey, both online and offline. Some of the most popular are:


SurveyMonkey offers a variety of survey solutions for companies of various sizes. You can choose templates such as customer satisfaction surveys, HR surveys, and opinion surveys. You can also use their online platform to distribute surveys to relevant consumers, or use your own email list to distribute questions to current customers or employees.

Zoho Survey

Zoho Survey is a free online survey tool that contains a variety of question types and topics. You can distribute surveys via email address, website embed codes, Facebook or even offline. There are also pre-made templates and paid plans for those who want to create a more thorough survey strategy.

Gizmo survey

Survey Gizmo is a business tool for creating and distributing surveys. With the tool, you can ask questions in simple surveys, perform A / B tests or even create brand surveys that are specific to your company. There are a variety of paid plans to choose from, including customized business options.


Whether you are considering starting your first market research strategy or dealing with a specific question for survey respondents in your company, always think about your survey design and strategy. The best practices above can help you keep your company's goals in mind and ultimately achieve more accurate results and better results.


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