Give Your Online Surveys an Edge

Give Your Online Surveys an Edge

So far, so good. The survey responses are pouring in. But how does an advertiser know they’ve hit the mark? Generally, the hit is verified when responses supply juicy insights that facilitate reliable decisions. These precious, high-value responses are not exactly easy to come by, however. Striking gold requires thorough, nose-to-the-grindstone planning. Questions must be arranged and structured to coax revealing answers from respondents. Randomness is strictly forbidden.

When it comes to online survey questions, a brand’s first consideration should be simplicity. Long, drawn-out inquires bulging with esoteric terminology will guarantee confusion. And confusion will guarantee one of two outcomes: (1) Equally bewildering answers or (2) Complete abandonment of the survey in favor of less strenuous pursuits. Since both outcomes will crush the hopes of marketers, brands must craft their creations with simple, straightforward questions. Anything else defeats the purpose.

Narrowing the response range is another important consideration tied to survey success. A narrow response range is one that elicits brief, specific, and on many occasions, quantitative answers. The last thing a brand needs is a lengthy dissertation loaded with irrelevant details. Instead of probing with questions such as: How did it feel to sample our toenail varnish? — Structure the inquiry something along these lines: How would you rate our toenail varnish on a scale of one to ten?

Similarly effective are closed-ended questions that limit responses to ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Again, this structuring forces answers into a very tight, easily-managed space.

Brands opting for survey simplicity likely will incorporate rating scales into their strategy. If there is a perfect number of increments for a ratings scale, it has yet to be revealed to the universe. Some scales are built on only three gradations, while others are defined by ten or better. It all depends on brand style and campaign objectives. The important point is this: all scales used in a survey should have the same number of gradations throughout. Consistency in this, and all else, is crucial for maintaining the clarity and user-friendliness of a survey.

If you have any questions or comments about designing questions for customer surveys, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.