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How to Get Started With Your Survey

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How to Get Started With Your Survey

Starting with a blank canvas can be exciting at times, and a little nerve-wracking at others.  While we strive to make SurveyMonkey as easy as possible to use, we sometimes hear from new customers that they don’t know exactly where to start.  It’s okay.  We’re here to help.  Skim this quick guide and you’ll be on your way…

Decide on a decision.

Big or small, most decisions can benefit from gathering data or feedback.  We recently heard a great story from a customer named Lindsay, who was trying to decide if she should take a new job in a new city (we count that in the “big decision” bucket).  So, she sent a survey to friends in her hometown, friends in the city she would have to move to, family, and trusted mentors.

Think about what decision you need to make that would benefit from some data gathering.

Identify the data.

What information would help you make a more informed decision?  In Lindsay’s case, she wanted to know if friends and family in her hometown felt differently about a cross-country move than her mentors and friends in the new city.

Here are just a few more ideas of data we see customers gathering every day:

  • Venue preferences from event attendees when deciding where to host a conference.
  • Feedback on coaching staff for deciding whom to invite back for next soccer season.
  • Purchase intent when prioritizing which new products to offer customers.
  • Website satisfaction level for determining where to invest development resources.
  • Peer, employee, and manager feedback for performance reviews and promotion decisions.
Craft your questions.

How you ask your questions makes a difference in the quality of data you receive.  Lindsay’s survey asked her trusted respondents how good a career opportunity they felt the new role would be for her and how strongly they would recommend that she take it (or not take it).

Dr. Philip Garland, our VP of Methodology, writes a series of posts on question and response construction to help you develop your own surveys.  Here are three posts to get you started:

Get responses.

Push send (or share, or tweet, or post…).  Get that survey out the door.  There is no greater joy than seeing results come streaming in to your survey.  Seriously.  It’s addicting.  It’s also perfectly normal to have a cheer, dance or song to celebrate each new response.

Here’s a quick list of ways you can collect survey responses:

Happy endings.

So what did Lindsay learn from her survey?  When she sliced and diced her responses (using filters), she learned that hometown friends and family, along with trusted mentors and friends in the new city, all thought she should take the job.  So she did.  And she never had to worry or wonder if someone wasn’t in full support of that decision.

Click here to read our Help Center guide on how to create a survey.  Have tips for how to get started using SurveyMonkey?  We’d love it if you shared them in the comments below.

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  • Sicco Jan

    Tips to start a survey and get responses?
    – Start simple (limit the number of questions as much as possible).
    – Don’t overask once you get excited (limit the number of surveys and/or time necessary for each -possibly you can can away with a lot of simple single questions like ‘observation of the day’).
    – Just do it (I nicked it from Nike, sorry).

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  • Lisa

    Tips I have?

    1. Remember if you’re using a Web Link collector to ask a mandatory demographic question ( i.e. Name, email address) if you need to see who answered & what their answers were.
    2. Long lists of answer options are difficult for respondents – try using SurveyMonkey’s option to put your answer options in columns.
    3. Matrix questions with long rows of answer options tend to get respondents frustrated and make them either drop out of your survey or “pick anything” just to complete the survey. Make sure your survey is easy to navigate, easy to complete.

  • Regina Barnard

    Hi there,

    Im planning a webinar and would love to have a live survey, ask question and the audience votes and all can see the results- can I use Monkey survey for that? If so, is that easy? well technology can fail big times, especially when you are live it can be a little… embarrassing

    Thanks for your help

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