Deciding that you need feedback is easy, but creating a survey seems hard. We’re here to tell you it's not and that we make it really easy—from our sample questions, to our pre-written survey templates, and our automatic charts and graphs.
You want to collect information or feedback from a group. What’s the best way to do it? A survey, of course. A survey is the easiest, most efficient way to gain insights that will help you improve your business. But the most important thing to know about surveys is that questions have to be designed a certain way to yield the data you need.
An online survey is just what it sounds like—a method for asking focused questions from a defined group of people via the internet. You can use these opinions and insights to help drive your business decisions.
Offering your survey, quiz, or questionnaire online has definite advantages and a few challenges. But don’t worry, we’re here to make the process simple. We’ll get to our 10 easy steps to create your online survey, but first, let’s take a look at a little helpful information about online surveys in general.
You may have experience in taking surveys on paper, by telephone, or online. But when you’re on the analysis end of surveys, it's clear that the advantage is within online surveys.
Surveys have modernized from those being filled out by hand. Online surveys tend to get higher response rates because they can be done on any device. Get more tips for improving your survey rate >
As technology has advanced, online surveys have become the more affordable alternative to using agencies and market research firms. No need to set aside a large budget for creating, distributing, and collecting surveys—you can do it all from a single platform, accessible to your entire team or organization.
When you create an online survey, the data from your respondents is available immediately. With SurveyMonkey, you can easily analyze your results and turn them actionable insights. With no need to collect a paper questionnaire, you get your responses in real-time. The margin of error is greatly reduced because answers are entered directly into the online survey system. See how it works >
Online surveys are easy to create. Even on our most basic plans, SurveyMonkey offers sample questions and templates for almost any use case—from event planning, to customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. Our survey themes and customizations will have you making perfectly formatted, beautiful surveys in no time. Results come in real-time and our platform will use machine learning and AI to automatically analyze the data for you. There aren’t even any hassles with our advanced filtering and crosstab reports. It’s convenient for your respondents, too! They can take your survey on any device.
Our platform makes it easy to format an online survey. You can create the layout you want with the questions you need. Our Question Bank even offers answer choices, right out of the box. No programming knowledge necessary. The flexibility to create exactly what you want is a huge plus.
Some survey takers might feel uncomfortable being completely forthright when speaking to someone directly in-person or on the telephone. It’s much easier to open up when responding in private. The online process also eliminates any tendency toward bias that may be present during in-person interviews. Learn more about eliminating bias in your surveys >
Online surveys do not require printing, mailing, postage, or a person to conduct interviews. There’s no need to enter data manually into a database—it’s collected automatically. This is a huge advantage and makes offering surveys more affordable than having the staff to conduct the surveys.
SurveyMonkey empowers you to create accessible surveys that are Section 508 and WCAG 2 compliant. We have an accessible survey checklist to help you ensure that your survey will work with a screen reader. We also offer out-of-the-box survey designs that ensure they’re accessible to people with visual disabilities.
If your survey contains too many questions, questions that are confusing, or is just too complicated, people may not answer truthfully. Respondents are answering the survey in private, so they may not be compelled to take the time to answer accurately—they could simply be clicking any circle to get the survey done. This is especially true if they are only taking the survey to receive a promised reward.
Limited sampling and respondent availability
Some populations have limited internet access or are less likely to respond to online surveys. This may affect not only the number of respondents but the demographic of your results as well. If you need additional responses for your surveys, SurveyMonkey Audience can help.
Possible cooperation issues
Online surveys can be deleted or ignored. Popular email clients sort mail for recipients, so surveys sent via email may not be seen in their primary inboxes or disregarded as “junk mail.”
Little oversight or moderator
While the lack of an interviewer is a strength in some ways, it’s a challenge in others. An interviewer can clarify confusing questions or ask for more details to explain answers. Without that factored in, respondents may make inaccurate assumptions that make their answers erroneous.
These 4 common types of online surveys—customer satisfaction, employee engagement, market research, and customer feedback—provide businesses with key information to inform future goals and growth. Each one provides crucial data for business plans, HR departments, product development, and customer relationships.
Find out how your customers feel about your products, services, and business practices with a customer satisfaction survey. The information gleaned from this type of survey can be used to make changes and improvements that will keep your customers happy, loyal, and engaged with your brand.
Use customer satisfaction surveys to:
Get a handle on how your employees feel about many aspects of your brand, services, company, and management with an employee engagement survey. Responses to these survey questions help you understand the impact of your current systems and shine a light on areas that are in need of improvement. Keep your employees engaged, happy, and more productive with employee engagement surveys.
Use employee engagement surveys to:
Learn more about SurveyMonkey Enterprise, which can help organizations create happier, more productive workplaces.
Business from small startups to Fortune 500 companies use market research to inform their decisions. Market research surveys help you understand what your target market wants and expects, whether for a product, service, or your overall brand. Don’t rely on your gut to make those important business decisions, do your research.
Use market research surveys to:
Drive better decisions by capturing market needs, industry trends, and buyer feedback. Explore SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions.
Your customers can help you improve your business through customer feedback surveys. Gather feedback throughout the customer journey to assess brand awareness, purchase experience, retention, and loyalty.
Use customer feedback surveys to:
So, now you’re ready to take advantage of all those benefits from an online survey. Here are a few things you need to do before you start actually creating the survey:
The first and most important step when thinking about how to make a survey is to identify why, exactly, you want to create a survey in the first place. In other words, what’s the objective?
A concise and focused objective can help you make a survey that asks just the questions you need to get answers you can apply. Here are some things to ask yourself as you brainstorm your survey’s objective:
Once you understand why you want to make a survey, you can move forward in building it. This page will show you how to create a survey that delivers invaluable insights through the following key tips.
What is your objective? Exactly what do you want to learn from this survey? Make sure you have a clear goal in mind before you begin formulating questions so your data is relevant to what you want to learn. This will help you design the survey to address your objective.
Who is your target audience for this objective? Clearly define who you want to receive data from—is it customers? Employees? Defined demographic groups? Determine what group of people is going to give you the insights you need. If you want to know about your brand awareness, then you’ll want to target the market, and perhaps a specific demographic that already knows your company. However, if you want to know how your product is performing, you’d reach out to the people already using it—customers.
Keep your survey questions to the minimum necessary to collect the data you need. Don’t overwhelm respondents with extraneous queries. Short, focused questions will lead to better quality and quantity of responses. We recommend keeping surveys to 10 questions max. And if you need to go beyond that, consider offering respondents an incentive for providing their feedback, i.e. discounted coupons.
It’s important to communicate clearly in your survey. This means literally creating a multilingual survey if necessary, as well as using language that reflects your target audience’s cultural norms. Stay away from corporate jargon like “vertical,” “thought leadership,” and “growth hacking.” Present your survey with clear, concise, natural language.
Before you send the survey out, test it. Have some of your team members or a few select members of your target audience take the survey. This will help you identify any glitches or questions that aren’t clear, so you can fix them before sending the survey to your full list. Learn more about collaborating on surveys as a team.
Depending on the survey and the audience, offering an incentive may increase your response rate. Most people like being rewarded for their time. SurveyMonkey research has found that incentives can improve your response rates by an average of 50%. Try to keep the incentive in line with what you’re asking of the participants. If the incentive is too large, you may receive fraudulent results as people take the survey multiple times to obtain the incentive.
Response rates can be improved by sending out reminders to those who have yet to respond to your survey. Send a reminder 48-72 hours after your initial survey request. If you need to send further reminders, limit them to 4. Make sure you’ve set a cutoff point for accepting surveys and don’t send any reminders beyond that point.
There are a lot of choices to make when you’re writing a survey, but following some basic rules can help you make the right choices every time. Here are 10 great tips for creating a survey that gets you the answers you need.
Group similar questions to keep your survey logical and focused. Page breaks, page titles, and instructions help people understand what you’re asking and why.
Using the same question in a series of surveys or even using the same survey over time is a good way to build a baseline and measure changes in respondents’ attitudes.
Get your own social proof at scale. TechValidate captures and transforms customer feedback into case studies, statistics, testimonials, and more.
Spell out everything that could be interpreted in more than one way. Want to know if someone is conservative in your political survey? Make sure you specify whether you’re talking about the way they dress, their politics, their preference in music or cuisine, or their political party preference.
Create a survey that keeps respondents focused by only showing them questions that directly apply to them. A great way to do this is by using skip logic to eliminate irrelevant questions.
This type of closed-ended questions doesn’t capture people who are on the fence or the nuances of opinion. Yes/no questions are best for gathering a generic stat for something, such as 75% of people said they loved pizza. But this doesn’t give a scale of how much they love pizza or even what type of pizza they love. These types of questions can be valuable, but you won’t get much data if your entire survey includes them. Learn more about closed-ended vs open-ended questions.
Presented with a matrix, respondents will typically focus on filling out the grid rather than paying careful attention to each question—and that will damage your data quality. Be sure to check out our tips for writing matrix questions for guidance.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Our survey template library is a great place to find the perfect survey style and questions.
With that, you know how to make a survey that brings in the responses you need to make better decisions!
If you want to become a true survey expert, check out our steps on steps on writing survey questions. And if you want to create a survey more easily? We’ve got a ton of ready-to-use survey templates for you to choose from. From customer satisfaction to marketing to employee engagement templates, we have a variety of options to help you make a survey that shines. Finally, for even more tips and tricks on creating great surveys, check out the SurveyMonkey blog.
Take advantage of these great SurveyMonkey resources, and you’ll create a survey in no time!
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