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The Importance of Creating a Survey with Your Target Audience In Mind

The Importance of Creating a Survey with Your Target Audience In Mind

Let’s face it. Sometimes survey writing can be intimidating. In addition to clearly defining your survey’s goals and adding easy-to-understand questions, making sure you have the right audience to provide their feedback can make a huge difference in your project’s success.

Well, luckily for you, we’ve got tons of great resources to help get you started. With products like Question Bank (our library with thousands of questions written by our team of methodologists) and our pre-built expert templates, we can help you start to build a successful survey. But what about finding the right people to complete it? We’ve got you covered there too. With SurveyMonkey Audience, you have access to millions of survey respondents, ready to share their feedback and help you gain the insights you need.

With SurveyMonkey Audience, we help survey creators identify their target market and we’ve started to notice a trend among really productive projects. So, what’s the secret recipe for a successful survey? It’s written with the appropriate audience in mind. So, what exactly does this mean and how can you start creating audience-centric surveys? Well, here are 3 tips to get you started:

1. Review your targeting criteria

Make sure the people you’ve selected to complete your survey align with your project goals. If they don’t, make sure to add a question to your survey to narrow your audience and disqualify those who aren’t relevant. 

Example: If you’re trying to learn more about people who typically buy their clothes online versus in-store, you target people who shop online by using our targeting criteria (see example to the right).

You may need to use our skip logic feature to further narrow this targeting down to people that shop online for clothing by including a qualifying question in your survey, and disqualify anyone that doesn’t ever buy their clothes online. The rest of your survey questions will now be tailored to fit your audience.


2. Remember, not all of your respondents are an expert on your survey topic

It may well be that your respondents are familiar with your survey topic, but usually this isn’t true of everyone. That’s why you should to include examples and descriptions of items in your survey so that everyone can understand the questions and answer options you provide.

Example: If you are surveying people who typically purchase their clothes online and ask them about shopping websites, include examples of what you are looking for to help respondents understand the answer choices, and allow them to answer truthfully.

3. Consider every possible option for your answer options

Be sure that the answer choices for each question are exhaustive. Your answer options should cover every possible answer that your respondents may have, and if you don’t have all possible options, adding an “Other (please specify)” or “None of the above” option is better than forcing respondents to select an answer that is not accurate. Or worse, having them grow frustrated and simply stop taking your survey.

Example:  Here’s an example of a question where you may need to consider all possibilities to ensure that your data will be accurate. If you are trying to figure out how likely someone is to return the article of clothing they most recently purchased, you may ask:

But what if a respondent already returned the article of clothing they most recently bought? Which answer choice would they select? At this point they could select any of the options, or simply quit the survey. Ultimately, this can hurt the quality of your data.

So, taking into account all possible options, try re-phrasing your question:

So, now that you’re an expert in writing surveys for a specific audience, log back in and give it a try!  Be sure to stay tuned for the next set of tips from our team!

If you have any suggestions for future tips and trick in survey design, please let us know in the survey below and we can consider them for our next series.

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  • Laura

    nice read!

    • Kayte K

      Thanks, Laura! Let us know if you ever need any help with any of your survey projects. :)

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