8 Tips for Getting the Best Results From Your Survey

Market research is integral to your business success and a survey is a relatively easy way to gain valuable information, IF you do it right. Follow these eight tips to get the best results from your survey;

1. Get the right sample

The sample is the selection of people you will survey. If you’re surveying your own customers then this is easy. If you’re surveying a prospective target market then this is more difficult. Make sure that the range of respondents accurately reflects the age, gender and demographics you require.

2. Be clear about the information you require

You don’t want to waste this opportunity so be clear from the outset what you hope to achieve from the survey. I usually sit down and write a list of the information I need and then figure out how to get this from respondents in the least amount of questions (see no.5!)

3. Consider the types of questions you use carefully

The respondent can only answer the question they are posed. If you don’t get the right information then it’s down to bad questioning. If you want one answer from a series of options choose a multiple choice question. If you’re trying to guage general opinion choose a likert scale. If you want in-depth feedback leave space for respondents to write freely.

4. Start simple

To build trust and loyalty in your respondents start off by asking more basic questions and build up to the complex ones. The idea is that the respondent will find it difficult to give up half way through as they’re already invested in the activity. It’s much easier to give up if the first question is a complex one with a comment space for 500 words!

5. Keep it short

Get the information you need in as few questions as possible. Your respondents time is precious, treat it with respect and they’ll be more keen to participate in the future.

6. Make it easy to fill in

Whether your survey is paper based or online, make it as simple as you can to complete. If you’re doing a supermarket based survey take plenty of pens and clipboards. Try and choose a spot next to a seat – weary shoppers will thank you for it. If your survey is being done by mail then provide stamped addressed envelopes. If your survey is based online then make sure the interface is easy to use and the instructions are clear – remember some sections of your target audience may struggle to complete even the simplest online survey.

7. Incentivise

Incentivise respondents for completing your survey by offering a reward or prize. A few smaller prizes often works better than one larger one.

8. Consider the biases

When collating and analysing your survey results always consider the biases. Was the sample reflective of your target market? Were there enough responses? Did each question glean the information you needed? If you have doubts back up the research with other methods.

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