Getting online surveys right: 5 market research essentials

As with many areas of marketing, you may know what you want to do, but the challenge is how to do your online surveys well.

What is the importance of the “how”?

How you undertake your online surveys will impact how useful the final results are, how accurate and reliable they are, and ultimately how much they contribute to your organisation’s ongoing growth and prosperity.

Here are our 5 tips to improve your online surveys

1.  What is your objective?

Work with all your stakeholders to brainstorm what the main objectives are for your online survey.  It is likely that your objectives will relate to your corporate and marketing strategies.

You may be seeking feedback from existing customers or clients, in order to improve your service.  Or alternatively you may want to measure the efficacy of a particular health promotion initiative.  In this case you may consider conducting pre and post surveys to understand changes in key measures.

2.  How will you use the results?

Consider the specific and practical ways you want to use your online survey results.  In a way this may feel like working backwards, yet this important step will help you work out exactly what you need to ask survey recipients.

An example where an online survey could work well would be when preparing to launch a new offer.  Input from potential consumers can help ensure you finesse the details of your offer well, in order to best appeal to the market

3.  Who are you targeting?

Your online survey will usually be sent to a sample of people who are similar to your ultimate target market, although this can change depending on your individual situation.

It is often useful to include input from other stakeholders as well as your primary target market.  For example, you may have a new online job management tool aimed at assisting marketing departments in large corporates.  In this example, important secondary stakeholder groups may include COOs and CEOs.

4.  Design of the overall online survey and the individual questions

Survey and question design is critical.  You may well be basing important business decisions on the results, so you really need to make sure the questions will elicit the results you need, without bias.

Consider the audience and make the questions as clear as you can.  Keep the survey short – 5 minutes is ideal.

Make sure the order of the questions makes sense.  Make sure the scale and the actual answer options will make sense for all survey respondents.

Carefully consider which questions you make mandatory.  If the survey becomes frustrating for respondents, they will exit before completing, or will give you an answer that may not be correct, just so they can move on.

5.  Spend time and focus on analysing the results

Many online tools automatically generate graphs and tables of results, but that alone may not provide the most valuable insights.  In many instances you really need to delve into the results and analyse more deeply, to understand how the outcomes should direct business action.  For example, this may include variation among sub-groups or identifying themes across question responses.

For help with creating your online survey, contact us via our website or phone us on 02 9555 6115 for an obligation-free consultation.


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