How to make your online survey a success

BQu Services

Online surveys are increasingly popular tools for gathering information and their popularity stems from the cost-effectiveness and convenience they offer.

But are they all successful?

The success of online surveys, just like any other research endeavour, depends not only on the number of respondents, but also on getting the “right”  mix of respondents to take your survey.

Getting a high number of respondents improves the overall perception and accuracy of the survey and invites more people to take an interest on the survey findings. Having the correct mix of respondents also will increase the accuracy of the survey because the respondents are then a better representation of the ideal sample for that particular survey.

However, one major drawback of online surveys is the little control it offers over the quantity and quality of respondents, in comparison to a printed questionnaire.

Here are 7 tips on how to make your online survey successful.

1. Keep it short

Longer your survey is, higher the chances that your survey is abandoned before completion, and the chances of this happening are particularly higher since it’s an online survey. Make sure your survey doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to complete. A good way to test this is to do a trial on the longest branch of the survey.

2. Keep the key question in mind

Your survey might have many questions, but there should be one key question that you want answered. Having this in mind will have an impact on the way you phrase questions and will result on the results you obtain being more relevant.

3. Simplicity, don’t make it complex

Avoid the use of complex language, logic instructions and long instructional paragraphs. Respondents will be put off by these and may abandon the survey.

4. Test your survey before send-out

It is very important that you, others in the team, and possibly some one who was not at all involved in survey, try out the completed survey many times before it is published. It is at this stage that any mistakes, confusing areas as well as ways to improve the survey are identified.

5. Compelling invitation

The email, post, or message that you send out inviting people to take your survey needs to be compelling. You can design creatives for this, or simply use compelling language that entices people to take the survey.

6. Offer an incentive

Most people would only take the survey if they’re provided with an incentive. Offer them an incentive that is allowable by your budget, but when picking out an incentive, make sure its something that the target group would like to have, but doesn’t announce any brand name. This would result in the attention being diverted from your companies’ brand name. For instance, in the promotions for BQu Services’ Domestic Holiday Planning Survey, the prize was announced as simply a “Food Hamper”

To increase the credibility of the offer, list terms and conditions detailing when the prize will be given out, how the winner will be picked etc.

7. Respect privacy

Some respondents would not want their name, age, gender, marital status or income levels to be revealed. Surveys should allow any respondent to complete the survey even without answering certain questions. Therefore the “skip question” option is a must, at least for sensitive or potentially offensive questions, if not for all questions.

BQu Services conducted an online survey in March 2013, which focussed on the booking patterns shown by Sri Lankans in booking their domestic holidays. The survey mainly focussed on online booking. Download the survey results here.

Created: June 21st, 2013


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BQu Services (Pvt) Ltd

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General: +94 11 258 5660
Hotline: +94 773 22 44 20

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