Every business will need a survey at a certain point, but not every business knows how to make one. Online surveys serve many purposes. They gather feedback, track customer happiness or collect opinions and expectations. Surveys have a place in corporate, academic, SaaS or commercial online spaces. Here’s how to make a survey in 10 minutes.
A good survey is a survey that gets responses you can draw conclusions from. Here’s 5 tips on how to make it happen:
1. Keep it brief
When filling in a survey, people are doing you a favour. Even when motivated by gift cards or store credit, most of your audience will not make it to the thank you page.
Asking too many questions will cause survey respondents to leave before they finish. Learning how to ask less and still get the same amount of information will be your biggest challenge when making surveys.
There are two ways to avoid asking redundant questions: logic jumps and hidden fields.
Logic jumps can jump over follow up questions that do not apply to specific respondents. For example, if Karen says she’s not coming to your party, a logic jump will skip asking her what she’s bringing.
Hidden fields are information fields you’re already collected about a respondent previously. If you’re emailing a customer feedback survey to your existing contact base, you obviously already have their email address so you can skip asking for one.
Hidden fields can also do party tricks like asking “How was your trip to Paris, Josh?” instead of “How was your recent travel experience?”. If it looks like sorcery, it’s probably hidden fields.
See Hidden Fields in action here
2. Stick to one question per page
I know, I just told you to keep in brief and now I’m telling you to make a 5 question survey 5 pages long, I know. There’s a reason why this works.
Filling each page with a laundry list of questions will urge your respondents to rush through them. They will not pay equally as much attention to each question if they are grouped in one page as opposed to one question per page. Just have a look below.
Apologies to your eyeballs if you’re reading this on your phone, but it had to be done. If your quizzes look like the one on the left, this is what you’re doing to people.
According to a recent study, 46% of all email opens are from mobile devices. So if you’re distributing your surveys via email, they have to work and look good on smart phone screens. And a mobile screen only fits one question per page.
3. Say no to yes/no questions
Yes and no questions simply don’t capture the whole spectrum of opinions. A lot of survey respondents can feel on the fence about certain topics and they should be able to express it.
Try replacing your yes/no questions with a broader spectrum of options to identify with. Strongly agree, agree, neither agree or disagree, disagree and strongly disagree capture a variety of nuanced opinions.
Similarly, 1 to 5 ratings like stars or hearts can serve a similar function. Just be cautious to clarify what the scale represents, what option is the “highest” and “lowest”, especially when using this rating across different countries.
4. Ask consistently
Asking the same question again over time gives feedback more value. Many tests and assessments are mocked for asking different variations of the same question, but that’s to assure validity of the information received.
Running the same survey periodically shows how people’s feelings evolve. It can confirm their previous statements adding more weight or give respondents a chance to change their mind.
Set up a frequency at which to send your surveys periodically. You can ask once a year, once a quarter or even once a month if your audience is very responsive. Don’t forget to include response incentives like discount codes.
The first question is the most important question of your survey. You want everyone to want to answer it. Start with something not challenging and quick. Multiple choice questions are perfect for the first page of your survey.
The first question is also the only question many respondents will see, as statistically, more people will click away after each question. Always ask the most important thing first.
Open-ended questions should be saved for later in your survey since they require more effort to answer and might turn people away.
How to make an online survey with no technical skills
You know the what and why, now let’s get to the how. Thankfully we live in a time where it's possible to run a business from a smartphone (not even a flagship one) so the technical aspects of making a smart survey are the easiest part.
1. Pick a template
Let’s leave the designing to designers and pick something that works from a template gallery. Who has time to move each icon slightly to the left and then slightly back to the right because you moved it slightly too much to the left the first time?