• How to Conduct Customer Polls and Surveys

Surveys and polls can be invaluable to business owners like you—when done right. SO what is the so-called “right way” to get these results? Read on to learn how to conduct successful customer polls and surveys to drive more satisfaction for your customers and success for your business.

How to Conduct Customer Surveys and Polls

Why Conduct Customer Polls and Surveys?

Polls and surveys often get a bad rap, but the truth is, they are an important part of any successful marketing strategy. When done right, they help you to:

•  Engage your audience
•  Gain a more comprehensive, in-depth understanding of your audience
•  Make decisions that will benefit both your customers and your business
•  Establish benchmarks by which you can measure results over time
•  Obtain more positive online reviews

Polling Best Practices

What best practices should you stick to if you want to conduct successful polls and surveys? There are at least three.

1) Keep them Short

Avoid putting people to sleep with boring questions, taking up their time with 50-question surveys, or confusing them with lengthy or open-ended questions. Nail down the essential information you need and condense your surveys accordingly. Remember, you can always send out another survey in a month. It’s better to send out a series of short, respectful surveys than to hit your audience with one long one—you won’t get any results with that approach anyway!

Some surveys do need to be long, but as long as you make that clear, you should be okay.

2) Be Clear from the Start

Regardless of the survey length, it is essential to let customers know from the get-go how long the survey will take them. Not how many questions it is, but how much of their time they can expect it to take. People are more likely to engage in something for which they have an accurate expectation of the duration—no matter what that duration is.

Not telling your audience that your survey takes 30 seconds will likely cause you to miss out on a lot of participants. Conversely, not telling your audience that your survey is going to take 25 minutes will cause a lot of people to give up or feel frustrated halfway through.

In general, more people will fill out your survey than you think. The important thing is that you show respect for their time by giving them a heads up from the start.

2) Know Your Tone

Sometimes, a fun and even humorous poll or survey can be just what you need to get your audience engaged and entertained. However, don’t make a habit of this. Serious surveys that ask for personal feedback are essential for the continued satisfaction (and not just entertainment) of your customers.

3) Stick to It

Also, make sure that when you are conducting your more serious polls or surveys, that you stick to that tone strongly. Being too fun or laid back can send the message to your audience that the survey isn’t important and may cause them to not participate or to do so haphazardly. How can you expect to gain useful insights from this? A diluted survey makes for diluted results. Choose your tone and stick to it.

4) Collect Useful Information

Not all questions are equal. Some may be relevant to other types of businesses but not to yours. Others may be secondary or loosely-related questions that are, ultimately, non-essential. Then there are those that are 100% unrelated. It goes without saying that you’ll want to avoid all the above.

To choose questions that’ll yield useful information, consider what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to make your blog posts more appealing and valuable to your readers? Would you like to make your product a better fit for the common needs of your users? Are you considering adding onto an existing service? Are you wondering which social networks will earn you the most engagement?

Related eBook: Sample Marketing Plans

5) Make it Easy to Respond

Choose the simplest way to answer. Will you use multiple choice, drop-down select, ranking, a text box or some other way? The easier you make it to respond, the better. After all, you want it to be a painless experience, not a painful one.

6) Consider Prospects, Too

Do you only need to hear from your customers? Are their opinions the only ones that matter? No, certainly not! At times, it’s also necessary to see what prospects have to say. You can learn much about what they value, need and desire. You can also identify potential obstacles they’ll need to overcome before purchasing anything.

How to Distribute Polls and Surveys

Whether you’re targeting prospects or customers, there are many ways to reach them. For example:

•  Provide a link to your survey or poll on your social media accounts.
•  Add your survey to your marketing emails or company newsletters.
•  Add a popup or sidebar call toaction on your blog or website.
•  Take advantage of recent interactions. Did a prospect just have a consultation? Did they recently seek the help of your customer support team? Did they make a purchase? Reaching out shortly after, such as through email, will get you the most honest and detailed information.

Tools for Customer Surveys and Polls

Are you ready to start creating your next (or first!) survey or poll? You’ll be happy to know that there are several tools that you can use free of charge.
Some free poll and survey-creation tools include:

Google Forms (link)

Surveys are a breeze to create and very straightforward with basic customization options. Google Forms is a great option if you’re not looking for all the extra bells and whistles.

SurveyMonkey (link)

You can create a poll or quiz in minutes with this free tool and view trended data over time. Paid plans include customization options for consistent branding.

Easypolls (link)

This easy-to-use tool is for quick, one-question polls. The free version has plenty of options as far as customizing buttons and the look and feel of your poll. The premium plan has an anti-cheat feature for more accuracy. it also includes location tracking for extra insight into your audience.

Of course, there are many more survey tools out there and some may suit your preferences better than others. That’s to be expected. In the end, though, the tool you use isn’t the main concern. It’s creating something people want to fill out and giving them the opportunity. If you stick to the best practices and advice above, you’ll be in good shape!

Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant is passionate about helping small business owners create and execute solid marketing strategies, and writes blogs with a particular focus on inbound marketing and branding.

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