Collecting data and analyzing it is an important part of making smart decisions. One way many of us do this is by deploying surveys. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb survey as, “To query (someone) in order to collect data for the analysis of some aspect of a group or area.” Sounds easy enough, right?
As you probably know, oftentimes it is not that easy. Surveys can be daunting to create and distribute. What questions do you include? How do you create and format your survey? What’s the best way to deploy it? How do you process and use survey data? There’s a lot to figure out when it comes to creating effective surveys.
If your survey submissions are falling flat and failing to deliver actionable responses, here are some simple ways to improve your surveys to get the data you need to make smart decisions.
Clarify questions and language.
Confusion can be a survey conversion killer. Your survey takers are very likely to become disengaged and abandon your survey if they run into a question that is unclear or confusing. Avoid using jargon, acronyms, buzzwords, and slang. If you want to use acronyms to save space, always spell out the acronym on first reference. When creating surveys, the simpler the language and questions, the better the odds are of survey takers getting to the end.
Take some time to review your survey before launching to ensure clarity. Send it to a few colleagues who did not help create it to get feedback on the questions. Ask them if anything was confusing, hard to understand, or unclear. Once you launch your survey, using a conversion rate optimization tool like Formstack’s Conversion Kit can help you identify survey bottlenecks and help you refine your surveys to improve conversions.
Pro Tip: Never ask more than one question in one sentence. For instance, don’t ask, “Did you find our product to be easy to use and cost effective?” Ask each question independently to ensure your data is valid. What if they thought it was easy to use, but not cost effective?
Define your audience.
An important part of surveys is identifying your audience. If you send a survey to the wrong audience, you’ll probably see incredibly low survey submissions and gather data that is not very helpful.
For instance, if you send out a survey focused on first-time product buyers to those who have never purchased your products, what data you do collect will not align with the goals of your survey.
Here’s how to define the audience of your survey to gather more submissions:
- Know your survey goals. What questions are you trying to answer? What problems do you need to solve? Formulate your goals first to identify what data you need to gather, and use those goals to guide your survey creation.
- Identify who you need to survey. Once you know the goals of your survey, you can better identify who your audience is. Do you need to survey those who recently made a purchase? How about those who sent in a customer complaint within the last 30 days? You may also find a need to survey particular groups, like millennials or parents.
- Create your list. Choose a large sample size of your audience to gather accurate data. Utilize your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or other data tools to identify those who fit the criteria for your survey. Although your goal is to create a sample group to survey, be sure it is a diverse group to help deter bias.
Remove open-ended questions.
One of the leading causes of survey abandonment is the time it takes to finish a survey. The longer it takes, the less likely a participant is to make it to the end. Open-ended questions can take a lot of time and energy to answer, so minimizing the amount of open-ended questions in your survey can have a big impact on survey conversions.
If an open-ended question can be replaced with another question type, make the adjustment! Opt for only a few open-ended questions that you really need feedback on. It’s best to ask a few related multiple-choice questions before inserting an open-ended question to get your survey taker focused on the topic.
Rethink your survey campaign marketing.
Half the battle of producing online surveys is getting people to click on the link guiding them to take it. If you’re struggling to get click-throughs on your survey links, it might be time to rethink your survey campaign marketing.
Your survey marketing needs to communicate a simple and straightforward message. You don’t need to tell your audience a ton of information, just include the reason for the survey and the link to access it. If you’re closing the survey by a particular date, be sure to include that in your marketing as well.
Whether you’re sending emails, inviting through text messages, or sharing a landing page, don’t bury your survey link in a ton of text. Make it the highlight of the message and content design. Consider adding a button with the survey link that uses action-oriented language, such as “Tell Us Your Thoughts,” “Share Your Ideas,” or “Tell Us Now.”
Related article: How to Gather Customer Feedback to Improve Your Bottom Line
Collect More Survey Submissions
Whether you’re re-evaluating your surveys or creating surveys for the first time, you’re bound to see a submission spike by using the strategies above. If you’re looking for even more information on how to create surveys that get submissions, check out The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Online Surveys.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about creating, launching, and managing surveys—which will help you gather the data you need to get work done. From picking the right questions and identifying your audience to sending out survey invites and analyzing data, this guide is full of tips that will help you create better surveys.