How to Properly Establish and Utilize Surveys

Why Distribute a Survey?

In any business environment, surveys and polls are a useful way to gain insight into the perspectives of target markets. Feedback from surveys have the potential to move business forward with a new understanding of what customers really want. Beyond that, surveys have proven useful in the realm of employees and learning how to better manage and retain the team. However, in order to receive results that will allow your business to grow positively, surveys must be constructed carefully.


Steps in Making a Survey

1. Picking a Survey Platform

Some of the most well-known survey sites include Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, and Survey Monkey. All three of these survey options are free and easy to use. The website that you choose may depend on your company’s chosen business suite (Google or Microsoft), both of which are great options and allow the creation of meaningful surveys. Survey Monkey is also a great outside-party choice, and it even supplies users with templates for survey questions on specific topics and target markets.


2. Crafting Unbiased Questions

This is perhaps the most crucial step when making a survey. Creating questions that are impartial to any answer will result in the most truthful feedback, whereas a biased question may lead to nudging the surveyee toward a particular answer.

For example, a survey inquiring about privacy protection should not ask something like, “Do you hate when companies collect personal data for marketing purposes?”. There are many reasons why a question should not be phrased this way. First, when the surveyee reads the question, it automatically paints a negative picture in their mind since the question uses a negative connotation with the word “hate”. The reverse would be true if the survey writer had chosen the word “love” or “like”. Using specifically negative and positive words like these will only serve to sway your audience, resulting in them becoming convinced of one side and causing the results to be altered and dishonest.

In statistical terms, this is a type of response bias known as wording bias. As seen in the previous example, wording bias can be destructive of the unbiased aspect of your survey. Instead, that survey question should read, “How do you feel about companies collecting personal data for marketing purposes?”. This way of phrasing keeps the reader's mind open to how they really feel, allowing them to use pre-set options that would cover all bases.

Lastly, ensure the questions are straight to the point and necessary. People will be more willing to take a short survey than one that will take up 30 minutes of their day. A long survey can lead to surveyees clicking random answers to try and get through questions faster with little thought put in, leading to unreliable data. At the end of the day, a shorter survey wins the race.


3. Writing the Description

Most survey templates prompt the writer for a description of the survey. This is so that those taking it know what they are getting into. Make sure this intro is short and sweet, most people will be more likely to take the survey if they don’t have to read a practical novel beforehand. Be sure to remind readers that the survey will be quick and easy, as well as thanking your surveyees in advance for contributing their opinion. Making people feel good about taking the survey is another way to guarantee that they will be more likely to submit thoughtful answers.

In the description, be sure to include why you are performing the survey and how the results will be used. This will further clarify any skeptics and will help to reassure doubters.

If you don’t need participants' emails recorded, then make the survey anonymous. There are options for this on survey sites. Anonymity will further ensure both participation and honesty in the survey, since people will not feel as if they will be judged or punished for their answers.


4. Finding and Reaching your Target Market

Depending on the survey intentions, your questions may be geared toward the targeted consumers for your product or service or toward the employees that you work alongside. Remember that you want to have this target market in mind while you are forming questions as well.

If you have a business that caters toward a certain age group, ensure that those who are taking the survey are within that age range. Or, better yet, include age as one of the questions in the survey to ensure that you are staying on track.

With the high volume of social media, reaching your target market can be easy. A simple post on the company social media pages will most likely do the job depending on how big of a network you have access to. On Instagram, be sure to post about the opportunity with the survey link as a story, as well as link it in your bio. LinkedIn and Facebook are other great platforms to reach followers in the target audience. Sending out an email chain may be beneficial as well, especially in the case of employee surveys. Don’t be afraid to post the survey multiple times. This will allow for those who missed it or clicked past it to have another opportunity to supply their insight.


5. Analyzing Results

Before looking at results, be sure that you have a large enough sample pool. When results are analyzed, consider their significance and what changes should be made, if any, due to the answers received. These results can be very valuable to the business so be sure to interpret them correctly and do not hesitate to release further, more specific surveys if clarity is needed.


Is it Worth It?

Yes! Surveys are fairly quick and easy to construct and they can result in some really valuable data. If certain marketing research is needed, surveys are a great way to collect primary data. In addition, creating and distributing a survey is free of charge. Surveys have many uses and, if they are done right, can lead to some important findings that will help guide your business in the right direction.


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