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Whether you’re testing out a new product, or simply want feedback about your customer service, there comes a time when every business or non-profit can benefit from a customer survey. By asking your customers to answer a few quick questions, you can gain valuable insight.

However, setting up a survey is not as simple as it seems. Plenty of research, planning, question phrasing, and rewriting are all part of the survey creating process. All of these steps can be overwhelming to a first-time survey creator. Especially if you are wanting to create a survey that brings results you can use in a timely fashion. Just stay true to these five tips to conduct effective surveys that turn up the most insightful results:

  1. Do Preliminary Research

To create an effective survey, you want to be as targeted as possible. Simply asking readers, “What topics do you want me to write about?” may not turn up as many good ideas as asking them about specific subjects.

To decide on your topics, you can first look into your past customers’ activity or analytics. Google Analytics provides an easy to understand break down of your customers daily, monthly and yearly activity. This can help you notice trends and help you to tailor your business towards them. If you use google analytics, go to your analytics account and look at your Top 10 content pages. If you see any similarities between these articles in terms of their topics, ask your readers which ones they’re most interested in. Then you will need to nail down what you want your customer survey to accomplish. It is important to have a well-defined goal before you start creating survey questions.

Do you want to improve a particular service? Do you want feedback about your new website? Deciding what answers you want to receive can help with the phrasing of your questions- and make them more useful.

  1. Select an Online Survey Company

There are multiple survey apps and websites available today. When looking for a survey company top best suit your business needs, there are multiple factors that you should consider. You want a company that will pull in plenty of survey completions, that has a wide range of demographic options and doesn’t break the bank.

Pollfish has proven to be a far leading company in this field. Pollfish boasts the use of dozens of targeting features that include basics such as age, gender, and race but extend to phone carriers, income levels and more. They also offer their polling in 114 countries. This is far more than what you can find on google consumer surveys.

  1. Create Questions for the Best Results

For best results, include no more than five to 10 questions in your surveys. Consumers generally have short attention spans, so if you bombard them with dozens of rapid-fire questions, your completion rates can drop significantly.

While writing your questions- you need to revisit your goal. All of your questions should be geared to meet the goal of your survey. While you want to achieve certain answers don’t try to sway your audience. Ask straightforward questions that are free of opinions.

In each question ask about one thing at a time. Don’t try to combine several elements into one question. It’s too difficult to decipher answers in the end. Instead, be specific. For example, a question like, “Do you regularly order office supplies online?” is vague. “Do you order printer cartridges from ABC Office Supply at least once a month?” is more specific and gives you more detailed information.

With all of the questions be sure to cover all possible answers. If you’re asking multiple-choice questions, make sure there’s an answer that fits for everyone. You want to ensure a detailed response that you can use to improve your business, product and more. Make it easy to do this with clear, straight to the point questions.

  1. Offer an Incentive for Completing the Survey

While your survey is still in the planning stages, you may want to come up with an incentive to encourage readers to answer all of the questions. Many websites offer a small discount or another small incentive to motivate people to participate.

You could offer a longer trial of your product or a discount off their next visit. Choose something that will not hurt your businesses revenue but that will be something the customer would spend 3 minutes of their life for.

  1. Publicize your Survey to Readers

Once your survey is ready to go, get the word out to your readers by advertising it on every portal you can. Your website, at the end of your blog posts, within your email marketing messages and more.

Exposing your customers to the survey as many times ass possible can help to ensure they complete it. Think about sharing it to your social media profiles as well. This is one of the best ways to market.

Keep in Mind…

As responses come in, you can finally get a good understanding of who your customers are. While you can look to your survey responses for information on your customers- it may not be a completely honest description. No matter what you do, research has shown that there will always be a small minority of people who will lie on your survey, especially when the questions pertain to the three B’s: behavior, beliefs or belonging. People can also give inaccurate answers completely by accident. Try to decipher your customers needs as best you can and utilize these responses to boost your business to the next level!