How to conduct a survey hero

How to conduct a survey in 7 steps

Want to conduct a survey? Don't know where to begin? We're here for you. Follow these 7 simple steps and get making a survey which gets real results.

Want to conduct a survey online?

Of course you do.

Conducting an online survey allows you to collect valuable insights into your customers and gain data in real time. Not only will you be able to learn from your results, you’ll be able to turn your data into useful content to further engage with your audience.

Whatsmore, if you choose to publish your survey results, you could establish yourself, and your business, as a thought-leader in your industry.

Don’t get too excited now.

So, if this sounds up your street, read on. But first:

What is an online survey?

An online survey is a series of questions given to a target audience known as a sample, that can be filled out digitally.

They usually come in the design of a web form with a database for collecting and storing the answers in.

Now, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to conduct a survey for research. But that doesn’t mean you should dive straight into it—if it’s not done correctly, you could waste time and money.

Now no one likes to waste time AND money.

How to conduct a survey

Getting started with online surveys is pretty easy when you follow these 7 simple steps:

1. Decide on your research goals

2. Create a list of questions

3. Invite the participants

4. Gather your responses

5. Analyse the results

6. Write a report

7. Apply what you have learned

Now, let’s look at them in more detail:

  1. 1
    Pick your research goals

    First things first, you need to know what you want from your survey.

    Maybe you need feedback on a particular product range. Or you might just want to get some feedback on that jazzy homepage redesign.

    The point is—you need to know what you are actually surveying.

    You also need to know if the information you are collecting will be general or specific, for a specific audience or just the general public.

    The answers to these questions will be defined by your goals and will determine how you will target your survey.

    Remember—without a goal, you can’t score.

  2. 2
    Make a list of questions to ask

    Having the right questions to ask is key to conducting a good survey.

    Ask the right questions to get the right answers.

    There are a few types of questions you can choose from:

    • Open questions

    • Closed questions

    • Matrix table questions

    • Single- or multi-response questions

    Most people are going to prefer short multiple choice questions. Because they’re easier to answer.

    When you make your list of questions, keep them simple and to the point. Double negatives are definitely a no-no. You don’t want to confuse a survey taker.

    One good thing about online surveys is that participants don’t need to fill in questions not relevant to them. Thanks to Logic Jump and Recall Information (well, if you’re using Typeform, of course), questions can be skipped based on previous answers.

    Hello, improved response rates.

  3. 3
    Invite your participants

    Inviting people to take your survey is easy—you can send an email, post to social, send an SMS, put a banner on your site, or attach a QR code to a homing pigeon. Yep, there’re lots of ways to invite participants to take part in your online survey.

    But, the most important word to remember is who.

    Who will be taking part in your survey will help you decide how best to contact them.

  4. 4
    Gather up your responses

    When doing surveys, not only do you need to collect your responses but it’s also important to monitor your response rate.

    Here’s how to work out your response rate:

    The number of people who answered the survey divided by the number of people in the sample.

    It’s important to work out as your final sample size will depend on how many people actually fill in your survey. You obviously want as many people as possible in your sample to answer.

    You can increase survey response rate in a few ways:

    • Offering a gift

    • A chance to win something

    • A donation to a charity

    • Redeemable points

    • Or just the promise of sharing the results with participants is enough for some people

  5. 5
    Analyze your results

    Once you’ve got your data back, you’ll want to analyze it.

    There’s a handful of ways you could go about digging into your data:

    • Visualize the data in charts and graphs, you’ll be able to use your data as a reference point.

    • Use word clouds on open-ended questions to pick out commonly used responses.

    • Put the data into a spreadsheet to wrangle and inspect it for trends.

    The beauty of online surveys is that the data is stored automatically, so there’s no need for any tiresome data entry of answers.

  6. 6
    Write up a report

    You’ve got your responses. You analyzed your data. Time to chill out, right?

    Not quite yet, Padawan.

    The final step in conducting an online survey is to write up a report of your findings.

    Remember those research goals from the start? Did you meet them? Either way, it doesn’t really matter too much. What does matter is explaining your findings in a clear report.

    A successful survey produces reliable, data-driven answers to the questions you set out with about your business.

    Now you’ll be able to act on them, based on real evidence—not telepathy.

  7. 7
    Apply what you have learned

    There’s no point in conducting surveys for the sake of it. It’s not fun and it takes a lot of time.

    For online surveys to have the most impact:

    Use your data to improve your business.

    When used correctly, an online survey can be used to improve many aspects of a business, product or service. Things like:

    • Effectively measuring customer satisfaction

    • Overall feedback on products or services

    • Key influences in your area of research

Conducting a survey online—final thoughts

There you have it, conducting a survey online is pretty straightforward and cost-effective.

A simple survey, that’s not too long and is targeting a specific demographic, is something that all businesses can use.

But while it’s simple, the results that could be gained could help inform incredible important decisions about your business.

If you haven’t surveyed your customers yet—what are you waiting for?

How you ask is everything.