6 Online Survey Strategies for Higher Completion Rates

6 Online Survey Strategies for Higher Completion Rates

Online surveys provide an excellent opportunity to connect with your target demographic and find out what they really think. By surveying customers who really use your products (or industry competitors just like them), you can learn to anticipate trends in the market, shift your product to better meet the needs of your customers, and develop a strong basis for future marketing efforts.

There’s just one problem: in order to accomplish all of that, you have to convince people to take the survey! These six strategies will ensure that people keep clicking through your online survey.

1. Choose the right format for your online survey

Do you need the answer to a single question, or are you seeking out answers to several related questions all at the same time? If your question can be answered with a single click, you might be better off designing a poll than creating a survey (our Prefer! game can also be configured as an all-up game that is completed with a single click).

Likewise, you should carefully consider the types of questions you need answered. Do you have a range of choices that survey-takers can choose from, or do you need more open-ended answers that survey-takers fill in themselves? Make sure you’ve chosen the right format for your online survey and that you let your customers know what they’re getting into when they choose to take it.

2. Narrow it down

Keep in mind that when you create an online survey, you have a limited amount of time before your customers will stop answering questions. Ideally, you want to create a relatively specific survey that asks questions related to a key topic. That way, your survey respondents won’t grow bored or frustrated, and they will be more likely to finish the entire survey. Take the time to set specific goals before you start. What are you hoping to accomplish with your survey? What information are you really setting out to collect? Keep in mind that even traditional questions that narrow down your demographic are only useful if that’s data you need. If you don’t need to know the age or gender of the person taking your survey, it’s just one more click they have to make in order to complete the survey.

3. Construct questions carefully

It’s all too easy to bias your questions in favor of the answer you’re hoping to get. Even something as simple as including “good,” “great,” or “best” as adjectives describing your target can be enough to favorably incline your readers toward the issue in question. Unfortunately, once they click away from your online survey, they’re going to go right back to their regular opinion! Instead, do your best to construct unbiased questions that allow your reader to share their real opinion on the issue you’re surveying.

You should also be careful to leave room for occasional open-ended questions in your survey. Give your customers the chance to elaborate on their feelings or opinions. You don’t have to do this with every question, but you can certainly offer your customers plenty of opportunity to share more information about why they chose to answer the way they did.

4. Avoid survey fatigue

There’s a point in many surveys when the survey-taker is just done. They’ve reached that point of mental fatigue where they don’t feel like answering any more questions. In many cases, they might not finish the online survey–and that means that you don’t get all the information you set out to collect. To avoid survey fatigue, try some of these strategies:

  • Make your questions easy to follow and easy to answer.
  • Ask questions that the people taking your survey will want to answer. Appeal to their natural curiosity or offer them the opportunity to share feedback about something they care about.
  • Create a layout that is simple and appealing. Make it easy for respondents to locate key pieces like the “next” button. Avoid layouts that force the respondent to scroll unnecessarily.
  • Don’t stack too many questions on a single page (which can make it feel as though they aren’t accomplishing anything) or ask too few questions per page (which can lead to greater lag due to load times).

5. Ask specific questions

Vague questions can be difficult for those taking the survey to figure out. As a result, you’ll end up with answers that don’t actually fit your needs. Instead, ask clear questions that are designed to bring in the answers you need. “How happy are you with our new website?” is a very different question from, “Does our new layout enable you to quickly and easily locate information you need?” or “Are you happy with our new checkout procedure?” Make sure that your respondents understand the specific question you’re asking.

6. Ask questions your respondents can answer

Make sure that your questions are simple, understandable, and that your respondents have the information they need in order to answer them. In an online survey about child rearing, for example, parents might not have the information they need to answer, “Do you feel that pediatricians have adequate information about ADHD in children?” They do, however, know what information their pediatrician gave them, if they have a child who has been diagnosed. Asking questions that your respondent can’t answer will quickly make them frustrated with your survey, increasing feelings of mental fatigue and pulling them away from your online survey.

Developing a quality survey takes time and effort. With time, however, you can learn to create surveys that will target your ideal audience and help you learn more about their needs and desires. Looking for more information about creating the perfect survey? Contact us today.