Helpful tips for your DIY market research surveys (1)

Every industry sector has been changed by the digital revolution and market research is no different. Many businesses are still getting to grips with the various online survey tools that allow them to do their own in-house market research surveys. SurveyMonkey is probably the best known and most popular, having started operations in 1999. However, free-to-use online survey tools are now fairly common with Microsoft Forms another popular and easy-to-use platform.

While the ability to undertake ‘in-house’ projects that might previously have required an external agency is very attractive, organisations still need to be wary of the many pitfalls of the DIY approach. The number of online surveys being distributed via email has probably fallen in the GDPR era. Nonetheless, most people will remember having been sent links to online surveys in recent years that didn’t portray the sponsoring business in the best light. This is the first of two blog posts with some tips to help you get the best out of your DIY online surveys. Following these simple guidelines should help improve the value of the data you obtain from the survey. They could also improve the completion rate and reduce the damage to your brand of a poorly designed or under-tested survey.

  1. Do you need to make all questions compulsory? Many surveys are designed in a way that respondents must answer all questions in order to complete them. This can lead to higher levels of non-completion as participants tire of having to answer questions they consider less relevant than others. One way to avoid this is to include a ‘not applicable’ option. This will allow a respondent to pass on to later questions where they may provide valuable input.
  2. Don’t forget your demographics! Having the ability to make comparisons between different types of respondent is crucial to most survey analysis. When designing your survey don’t forget to include the questions that provide this important data. In a consumer survey you may need to do comparisons by age-group, sex, geographic location, homeowner vs renter, etc. In a business survey you may want to know how many employees the respondent firm has or what industry sector they belong to. Don’t clutter the survey with too many but don’t leave out the key ones.
  3. Be brief! Few things will wear down a respondent more than a long list of repetitive questions. Questions in grid-format are fine if they don’t have too many component parts. Keep in mind the key things you need to know and that don’t forget the respondent is giving their time freely to complete it. A lengthy survey will not only run the risk of a poor completion rate but of irritating the respondent, thus damaging your brand.

If you’re doing a survey in-house and want to ensure its well-designed get in touch. We’ll be happy to check it out on a consultancy basis. 

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