The Benefits Of Using Online Surveys

The Benefits Of Using Online Surveys
We have talked about how important it is to be able to identify your “ideal” customer and target market. As your company grows, surveys become a more and more important tool in the quest to identify, locate and understand your ideal customer and target market.

Surveys are by nature designed to learn about the individual characteristics of a person, their buying habits and their perceptions about your brand and other brands. This information is crucial to all types of businesses and organizations. How we market to our customers, how we designate funds to grow our brand and how we interact with our customers and future customers is built upon discovering our customers needs and wants and understanding the motivation and buying behaviors of our target market.

So, how do we efficiently gather that information? Surveys, polls and quizzes are a few ways to easily gather information from your visitors provided the surveys are highly relevant to your site content with well crafted questions and user friendly formatting and layout.

The most important issue to address when you are contemplating using a survey is defining the goal of the survey. If you dont understand why you are doing the survey the data you collect will prove useless. You wont know how to analyze and interpret the data without knowing how to filter and focus the data. The following list of questions can be useful in helping you define the goal as well as the parameters of your survey:
1. Who is the survey designed to target?
2. What information do I need to capture from this survey?
* Demographics
* Lifestyle
* Product Preferences
* Customer Service
* Competitor brands
* Pricing perceptions
* Quality perceptions
3. What or how will this data be used?
4. What questions or concerns will this survey information address?
5. Is this survey primarily to gather information or a way to attract subscribers?
6. Will this survey involve a giveaway or promotion? Why?

Once you have focused in on the goal of the survey then you can begin to create questions that will elicit the data you need. Let me say at this point that the survey needs to be created with quality and it must engage the survey taker if you are going to get a decent response rate and the data you need.

Here are a few key concepts for creating effective surveys:
1. Do not use open ended questions. These require too much thought and time on the part of the survey respondent.
2. Keep surveys short. It is better to do several surveys that are shorter in length than one long survey.
3. Only use questions that are highly relevant to the data you want to collect and the goal of your survey. Dont ask questions about data you already possess from other sources.
4. Dont provide too many choices for questions (multiple choice questions should be the norm). Too many choices will dilute and distort your data making it difficult to ascertain what decisions need to be made and what actions should be implemented. It is important however to have a NOT APPLICABLE response option for every question.
5. If you are soliciting demographic/personal information you should make sure that you include a link to your company privacy policy and be clear about the purpose of soliciting the information.
6. Include a comments box where a respondent can add free form comments or elaborate on any question in the survey. It is also a good place to encourage respondents to rate or comment on the survey itself-things that could be improved, areas not included that your clients feel should be addressed etc.
7. Use auto responders as part of your survey for lead capture.
8. Offer an incentive for completing the survey. Most people need an extra push to take the time to provide information. Incentives help increase response rates.

With a clear understanding of the purpose of your survey and short, clear, concise questions that are relevant to the data you are seeking to collect you are well on your way to putting together an effective survey and data mining tool.

Using a survey software application can help to streamline this process as well as provide you with a multitude of more advanced templates and techniques including the ability to hide or require certain questions based on a previous response, A/B split testing, jumping to a specific landing page based on survey answers and a host of other options to optimize the power of your survey.

The other benefits of using a survey software application include enterprise solutions that allow you to track things such as service levels, integrate data into your sales generation software, analytics and social media applications. I have found Survey Gizmo to be a feature rich and technologically advanced survey application capable of handling just about anything you might want to do with surveys. Their advanced options, enterprise and integration technology make this a particularly powerful software program.

Dont ignore the rear end of your survey. Analytics are critical to being able to take action on the data you collect. With surveys and polls it requires analytics that allow you to “slice and dice” the answers to questions in many different ways in order to extract the information you need to take action. Look for software solutions that have strong analytics or the ability to export data into your existing analytics program in a variety of formats.

Other items that affect the quality of your survey or poll include the ability to control customization and branding, the ability to provide multilingual surveys, graphics and ease of use.

If you are new to using surveys and polls as part of an integrated marketing plan I recommend you check out Survey Gizmo. It is easy to use, full-featured and completely scalable to handle the simplest to the most complex surveys, polls, quizzes and forms. With outstanding customer support and a broad range of tutorials and webinars it is easy to get started and to learn as you go. Their analytics can stand on their own and the ability to integrate with social media and lead capture and sales management software applications provides you with great flexibility.

So what are the true benefits of including surveys and polls on your website? The greatest benefit of using surveys and polls is to gather information that will help you better understand your ideal customer, what they need and how well your products meet their needs as well as their wants. A good survey can also provide invaluable information regarding your customers buying habits, their brand perceptions, how you rank with your competitors and potential “holes” in your market niche opening up the prospect of new products. Many also find surveys produce good benefits in the area of sales lead generation.

If you are going to use surveys, polls, forms and quizzes as part of your marketing mix be thorough and do them right. Investigate the various tools and software packages available to help you. Remember to begin with your end in mind-WHY are doing the survey and WHAT data do you need to capture? Keep your forms and surveys simple, use auto-responders and incentives to attract and hold your target audience and focus on the analytics to ensure reliable data you can take action on. If you follow these guidelines you will turn your surveys and polls into powerful marketing and decision-making tools.

Author Byline of Internet Marketing Consultant review provide by Marketing Consultant Jeff Beale (Mr. Marketology)