A survey is a good way to get in touch with your audience.
You can ask them for their opinion, feedback, or other personal information to get to know your audience better.
In this article I'll give you 9 easy tips about what is important in a survey and what you should or should not do.
What do you want to achieve?
Before you create a survey, ask yourself what you want to achieve with it.
- Who do you want to address?
- What do you want to know from them?
- How do you want to reach your audience?
- Is there a hypothesis you want to validate?
Become aware of what you want to achieve and then think about the questions that will help you reach this goal. This is probably the most complex point and also the most important one for your evaluation in the end. So take your time and talk to others about whether they think your questions fit your goal.
It depends on the individual case, but our experience has shown that 8 questions is a reasonable length for a survey in most cases. If your survey is longer, ask yourself if this is really necessary and delete a question that might be unnecessary. Especially with survey tools like couchsurvey, when there is a progress bar, it encourages the participants to make a big jump with every answer. The bounce rate will drop down and you will end up with a better result than if you had made the survey longer and received fewer responses.
Maybe split the survey into several surveys and send these to your audience in a certain time interval.
Motivate your participants. 💪
Motivating your participants can be very important, especially in complex or long surveys, to keep them going. Start with a short introductory text and explain to them why you are doing the survey and that it means a lot to you that they participate. For longer surveys, insert slides from time to time and tell them, for example, that they are almost done, or that they have only simple questions left so they stay motivated. Also by this procedure we have noticed in the past that the bounce rate goes down significantly, in contrast to surveys without motivating elements. - But beware as with everything you do, there is too much of a good thing. You shouldn't exaggerate, because with such slides in between, the survey gets longer too!
Keep it simple.
A simple tip, but one that couldn't be more important to keep in mind. There is nothing more frustrating than having to read a question several times in a survey because you didn't understand it. Make sure that all questions are easy to understand and that the possible answers are clear too. Also ask yourself whether any prior knowledge is needed to understand the question and whether your participants all share the same level of knowledge.
Is there room for interpretation? 🤔
When you create a survey, it is clear to you what you mean. But you often forget that the participants can see things very differently. Your survey is maybe answered on the side, or while your participants have something completely different in mind. Don't forget to formulate the questions clearly and make it clear in advance in which context the survey is to be conducted. This is the only way the answers are valuable and meaningful in the end.
Do you manipulate your participants? 🧐
Many underestimate the power of formulation. A certain undertone is already present in many things that may sound unbiased to you.
Simple conjunctions can decide whether a statement is interpreted positively or negatively. People work with expectations and from a psychological point of view there are often 'right' and 'wrong' answers in a survey. There are many articles on the subject and I could fill many pages on this topic, but just read some articles yourself if you are interested.
We already had the topic of motivation in point 2. Gamification aims in a very similar direction. It should be fun for the participants to answer your survey. This reduces the bounce rate and increases the willingness to participate in another survey you send them. As mentioned in this article, feedback should usually be a permanent exchange with your audience and not a one-time sample.
Gamification character can easily be achieved by working with emojis. You can use them to loosen up questions, or with tools like couchsurvey you can ask simple questions with 4 emojis as an answer option. Achievements or streaks can also be a good way to bring joy to your participants and motivate them to continue.
Can I find the right answer for me?
As banal as it sounds, but in many surveys in which questions are asked with predefined answer options, several option are often missing. Therefore, you should ask yourself whether you have given all participants an appropriate answer option that makes them feel represented. It can be the reason why someone cancels the survey, because his answer does not exist and he does not know which answer option to choose. In some cases it therefore can be clever to give the participants the opinion to create there own answer. Tools like couchsurvey offer this service.
Give them feedback.
Feedback is not a one-way street! To build a good relationship with your audience, you should give feedback back. Depending on the channel through which you reach your audience, you can communicate in different ways. One possibility would be to publish the results in a newsletter. For example, you can post screenshots of the evaluation or tell the participants which steps you are planning next based on their answers. A simple 'thank you for participating' and updating how to proceed after the survey and what to do with the results is also a good way of interaction and a necessary first step in an exchange. In general you can say that people are willing to give their opinion, but they need a good reason why they should do so. If you speak openly with them and show them that their opinion is important and impactfull, this can be reason enough for them to willingly participate.
I hope this summary helps you when you create your next survey.
These tips are of course very open and general, as it always depends on the specific circumstances. But maybe there is one or two tips you haven't thought of before.