Market research is important for just about every business—small businesses and big brands alike. Whether you’re considering launching a new product or service, rebranding your business, or trying to better understand your audience, market research should be step one.
Though market research has become increasingly more important in the past few years, it's also become both easier AND increasingly more difficult to conduct.
In the past, marketers had to send surveys via snail mail, make phone calls, or even stop people on the street to get the answers they needed. Today, online surveys are the new norm, which are easier to create and send.
However, your audience is already bombarded with surveys, ads, and general digital chatter. They've become so desensitized that getting them to fill out your survey has become similar to pulling teeth.
There are so many online survey tools out there to make it easier for you to create your first online survey—but how do you make yours stand out? How do you get people to actually take your survey?
Here are 6 tips for creating online surveys people will actually take.
1. Avoid Calling It a Survey (At All Costs)
Instead ask people for advice. Let's be honest, people hate taking surveys but love giving advice. Just making this small wording change can make a big difference and entice more of your audience to fill it out with their thoughts and opinions.
2. Keep It Simple
The purpose of your online surveys is to gather key information for your business, so it can be tempting to ask a lot of questions. But don’t! Unfortunately, the Internet has caused many of us to have short attention spans, so cater to your audience and keep the questionnaire short and the questions simple. If you need help writing your survey questions, here are some great tips.
3. Offer Incentives
Your audience will be happy to complete your online surveys if you offer an incentive. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe a discount off your products or services, or a gift card to your store or for a discount on the services you offer. But studies show online surveys have a 10-15% higher response rate when incentives are used.
4. Ask Important Questions First
As we mentioned earlier, the public can have short attentions spans, which means your online survey might have a high drop out rate. But many online survey tools will keep data from incomplete surveys. If you ask the important questions first, even people who drop out early will probably have answered them.
If your goal is to better understand your audience (and as a result build out more effective campaigns and messaging) we always recommend including one key question:
'What is your biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to [product/solution/problem you solve]?"
With this one answer, you'll discover what your ideal audience truly cares about. This will inform your content creation moving forward.
5. Make It Fun!
Your online survey doesn’t have to be all business. Put the survey in a fun quiz format to encourage participants to enter useful information for their results. Or make it enjoyable for your audience by asking a silly question at the bottom of every page. You’ll still get the information you need, and your audience won’t mind taking the survey because it’s fun. A win win!
Whether creating online surveys or blog posts, it's important to appeal to your audience's emotions to stand out in the sea of digital content. Check out this post for 6 emotional triggers you can tie into your marketing message to connect with your audience (and possibly increase your sales!)
Online surveys are a great tool and you can use them in a number of ways. Remember these 4 tips to engage your audience and get your audience to fill out your survey. The wealth of information you'll receive from even a few submissions is priceless when growing your brand.
Online surveys are just one effective marketing tool. Here are other tools we recommend to further boost your marketing efforts!
Most small businesses struggle through the year without a plan, trying out something different each month only to find they’ve had no real impact, and ultimately only wasted time and money. Does this sound familiar?
Originally published May 5, 2016 - updated July 19, 2019