Creating and Conducting Online Surveys

Creating and Conducting Online Surveys
February 25, 2016 Joe Vernon

After working on a few website projects or developing marketing campaigns you start to notice a common phase at the beginning of each campaign/project, research and strategy. This phase will also be required when planning a survey for your website.

Before starting your survey, spend some time up front to develop a plan. This will help ensure that the survey launches without a hitch saving time and money later.

Steps You Should Follow for Conducting A Survey

Determine the Goal

The first step should also be determining the goal of the survey. This will help your team:

  • understand what you are doing and why
  • determine how you will ask your questions
  • plan for the appropriate number of responses (sample size)
  • identify how to interpret the results from your survey
  • select a launch date and duration

Additionally, this knowing the goal might highlight that a survey isn’t the best way to collect this data, perhaps going with a focus group or other qualitative methods.

The quality of feedback will ultimately determine the success of the survey, but you can also measure this campaign by tracking the number of views and conversions. For example, if this survey appeared on your website and each question was on its own page, you can track how many people saw the first question or the last and where users were dropping off.

Identify Your Audience

If the survey is going to live on your website you most likely will want to collect responses from  whoever visits the site. However, knowing who your audience will help with how the survey is designed and distributed. Additionally, knowing your audience may determine that the survey needs to be emailed out or promoted through social media.

Brainstorm Your Questions

After knowing what the goal is and who you are targeting, brainstorm a list of questions with your team. Start this brainstorm session off by asking your team what type of questions are best suited for the goal. Do they need to be open-ended text questions, multiple choice, rank order, etc? After this is figured out, start brainstorming a list of questions.

On the brainstorm list, assign a value to each question and rank them with the most important questions first. Double check that each of the most important questions are in alignment with your goal and your target audience. If they don’t, remove them from the list. Ask yourself how difficult the questions are. If they are too difficult for you, they will most likely be too difficult for your audience.

Now that each question has been ranked, double-checked with the goal, write the final questions making sure they are clear and concise.

Test the Survey

With the final list of questions, test your survey. In this phase you should be looking to see if the survey needs to be broken up into multiple screens, if the questions need to be rearranged, or if the survey is too long.

Surveys should take less than 5 minutes and a user should be able to answer 3-4 questions per minute. That leaves you with only 15 questions to ask within the 5 minute window.

After testing the survey with yourself, send it out to 20 or more people and have them test it and provide detailed feedback on any of their concerns with the survey. Once this feedback is collect, revise your questions as needed.

Launch the Survey

Now that you’ve brainstormed, edited, revised, and tested your survey, send it out to all of your respondents. Monitor the results while the survey is running to identify any anomalies, though there shouldn’t be with the amount of preparation you’ve put into this. Once the appropriate amount of feedback is collected, review the results and put a list of action items together to start planning your next campaign.