Conducting an online survey is a great market research tool that can give you invaluable insight into your target market’s attitudes, behaviors, and make up. But creating an effective online questionnaire or poll (even a short one) involves much more than just throwing together a few of your burning questions. It is a thought-out and thorough process at the end of which, you not only need to know what to ask, you also need to know how to attract quality participants and keep them from abandoning the survey mid way through.
So, before you go about creating your next online survey or poll, you should keep in mind the following points:
Keep it short and simple. Unless you are offering some phenomenal incentive, you stand a better chance of keeping potentially click-happy respondents from abandoning your survey if it is brief and to the point. Make sure your respondents know in advance how long the survey will take to complete. If your survey involves several questions then you should consider adding some kind of progress bar. Generally speaking, however, you should try to keep your survey completion time to no more than ten minutes.
Keep it clear. If your participants cannot understand what you are asking them, then you’re results will be worthless even from those who forged ahead and completed the survey anyway. Make sure that each question is worded in a clear and concise way. You should also pay attention to the flow and consistency of your questions- is there a logical “thread”? Finally, make is a point to define the purpose of the survey, how long you will be running it for, and what you hope to accomplish with it after you get the results.
Provide an incentive. One way to get people motivated to take your survey is to offer them a “prize” for doing so. This prize can come in the form of a free give-away, such as an ebook or a free class in a workshop series, a discount, or an exclusive offer of any kind. Alternatively, you could hold a drawing among the respondents to win either cash or prizes. Keep in mind, however, that the incentive should match the effort expended.
Keep it anonymous. There are two main reasons why should generally refrain from asking for names, email, or any other identifying info. People may be wary about giving you their personal information since they don’t know what you will do with it. Second, your respondents may be more open and honest if they can hide behind the veil of anonymity.
Post the results. Your visitors will be more motivated to complete your short survey or poll if it is something that interests them and they can see the real-time results. Where that is not possible, you could mention that you will be writing a post or a press release about your findings. If even this is not an option then it is a good idea to explicitly state why you are giving the survey and what you hope to accomplish with the data you collect as mentioned above.