Last week a QuestionPro reader sent us a survey that wasn’t getting the kinds of response rates that she wanted. After reviewing the survey, we came up with a few “best practices” that were super easy to do, don’t take much time and best of all, don’t require you to be a big time market research professional to get big time results.
1. Insert a header or logo in your survey design — this tells me who the survey is coming from and if it’s a brand I can trust. It’s a visual image and really lends credibility. Here’s how to do that – http://questionpro.com/help/20.html
2. Send Invitations — Whether you send a link in an email invitation or upload a list of emails and send an invitation from the system. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both.
If you send a link in an email — This is really easy to do and you can also send that link via Facebook and other channels and people can pass it on easily. The DISadvantage — is that it’s also easy to separate the survey link from the message that introduces and describes the survey. And if people don’t have the background – they might click on the survey to see what it is — and then bail on you because they don’t “get it”
3. Write a good intro to your survey — QuestionPro offers a very cool feature called the intro/header — this is where you can tell people about your survey. So if you do send an anonymous link — when people click on it — they can still see a description of what the survey is about.
Here is the how-to info for putting in an introduction – http://www.questionpro.com/help/137.html — BTW don’t get confused by the terms and conditions check box — it’s a great feature – but you DON”T have to use it.
4. Writing the introduction — I’m making this a separate point because it’s SO important. Write your introduction as if you were talking to a SINGLE person (because a single person will be reading it). Imagine that you were VERBALLY going to ask someone to take your survey — what would you say — WRITE that. Pretend like you’re writing an email message to a friend. This is another way to increase your response rate.
Another tip for writing great introductions is to be SURE to tell the person What’s in it for THEM — how will they benefit by taking the time to answer their questions. Remember their time is a gift — make it worthwhile.
5. Set CLEAR objectives — from looking at your survey – I’m not really sure what it’s about. My secret tip is to write down what decision you’re trying to make — AND — you can even put this in your introduction and kill 2 birds with one stone for example “How would you like to speed up your shopping experience? Yeah – we’d like that too. Please take a moment to tell us a little bit about how long it takes you to find and purchase product so that we can speed things up a bit.” (that’s not the best — but you get the idea)
Your goal is to be clear about what decisions you are trying to make — such as — Should I re-design my site? Or Is there a demand for custom made doggie toys? That’s the decision. Now, think about what YOU would need to see to have you move forward. For example — if 100 people say they will buy my $10 doggie toy, then I’m going to make that available. Or if people shop on my site more than 10 times per year, I will buy another server.
Being CLEAR and simple about your objectives and what data you need to make your decisions will keep your survey short, sweet and to the point and increase your response rates.
6. Map out the Survey FLOW –– you gotta go with the flow. A survey is really a conversation with your respondent. Like every conversation — it starts with an introduction of the topic. Then you might ask them a simple qualifying question — such as — do you shop online? If they say yes — you can ask more questions about shopping online — like What kinds of products do you buy online? Finally – you can drill down to which sites do you visit. Think of an inverted triangle — go from a qualifying set of multiple choice questions — to open ended questions to get more of the flavor for what they are talking about.
7. Create sections — QuestionPro has section headers that do a great job of breaking the survey out into topic sections — you could have a section that explains the survey — another section that contains the main questions and a final section that has the demographics — remember — to make these fun to read. Instead of calling your section “Demographics” — you might use “Tell me a little about yourself”
8. Write super clear questions – Remember, each question that you ask is going to help you make your decision. So make sure that you are precise about what you want to know. One of my favorite tricks is to pretend that I already have an answer to a question and then ask myself what I will DO – given that answer. For example, say my question was “How would you rate your overall experience?” and let’s pretend that the results came back as 3.5 out of a 5-point scale. What will I do to improve their experience? If this is the only question that I ask — I will not know. To remedy that, I often ask an open ended question like “What is the ONE thing we can do to improve your experience?” NOW – I’m going to get all kinds of ideas. I can then take those ideas and test them with my customers.
When you write your questions, be sure to think about what decisions you are considering and include all the options as multiple choice answers. This will go a long way toward making your survey tight and focused.
A real life example for you
Check out a survey I created for my community here: http://questionpro.com/t/AS9BZQKtv
Notice how each question is focused on some very specific decisions that I’m trying to make about which information to present and how to present it to each specific audience.
These questions also allow me to use the full power of QusetionPro’s filtering option. And when I analyzed my results, I found that different topics were important to different audiences. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful this was to me as I go forward planning the 2014 content of DIYMarketers.
Feel free to swipe this survey and adapt it to your own business.