Survey Says! Creating an Effective Survey

Jan Bryson
Published on February 07, 2017
By Jan Bryson

Surveys can be a powerful tool for marketing professionals. Rather than stabbing in the dark when developing campaigns or product strategies, a survey helps marketers take a step back and make decisions based on actual data. The trick is to create an effective survey that will deliver useful, credible information.

Woman holding hand to ear.
Set survey goals

Determine up front what you want to get from the survey. What is the goal? Knowing that will help you develop questions that will get you the information you need. Depending on your goals, you can put together a survey that will allow you to:

  • Analyze your audience. What are the demographics, preferences and roles of your prospects and customers?
  • Understand brand perception. Does your target market know who you are? What do they think about your product and brand? How should you position the company?
  • Determine market need and purchase intent. What does the demand for your product or service look like today? What will it look like 12 months from now?
  • Support your premise. Why do prospects need your product or solution? What are the underlying challenges prospects are facing that you can solve?
  • Improve your product or solution. What are the most popular features? What should be included in the next product release?
  • Get customer feedback. How satisfied are your customers? What do they expect from you? Are you meeting their needs?

Craft questions carefully

Once you know what you want to get from your survey, make sure you ask the right questions. Direct, uncomplicated questions work best. Using pre-set answers where possible will allow you to draw conclusions more easily than using open-ended questions. Make sure you cover your bases, both in terms of questions and possible answers, but be sure to keep your survey as short as possible. Too many questions will reduce the number of completed surveys you receive.

Use available tools

There are a number of inexpensive tools out there that can make structuring your survey and getting it out to respondents a snap. SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo are two examples that are extremely user friendly. Just make sure whatever you use will allow you to pull the reports you need to properly analyze your data.

Promote it far and wide
Once the survey is live, promote it through any channels that will reach your target audience. Social media can be a good way to get the attention of net new names. Often, it makes sense to offer an incentive, such as a $5 coffee gift card for the first 100 participants. People are far more likely to give their time if they are getting something in return.

Make the most of the data
Once you have analyzed the responses it’s time to get the most from the data you’ve collected. Survey data can provide a wealth of information for content development. Maybe it makes sense to write up a full report of the results. Or maybe it’s more of an at-a-glance format, such as an infographic or eBook. A blog post highlighting the results can be a great way to add your own interpretation. Or maybe the quality of the results warrants pitching it to journalists. Whatever you decide, just make sure you take full advantage of the data you’ve worked so hard to gather.

If all of this has made getting a survey out the door sound like an onerous task, don’t worry. LEWIS can help. Just send us a note at and tell us about your survey project.

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