5 Top Tips when Using Survey Monkey for Research

If you’ve taken online surveys in the past few years, chances are that at least some of them have been built using Survey Monkey. Since it launched in 1999, the company has grown into the world’s most popular online survey tool. The site provides a range of memberships, from a free basic package which allows you to design short surveys with a limited number of responses, to more sophisticated packages allowing customisation and a range of research tools.

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Question marks have been raised as to how effective using online survey tools can be. The truth is, a site like Survey Monkey can meet most online survey needs, but you will need a combination of the budget, know-how and time to design and analyse market research effectively. So if you’re thinking of using an online DIY survey tool to conduct a research project for your business, here are a few tips:

1)      You’re in control – By using an online tool with a range of options available, you become responsible for the finished product. This allows you to ask your audience for the exact information you wish. However, if you’re not an experienced market researcher, some basic principles should be kept in mind. Keep the questions unbiased, try to keep the survey as concise as possible and make sure you structure the questions so that you keep your audience engaged through to the end. Too many questions or options on one screen will result in a large number of participants dropping out.

2)      Consider your branding – Conducting market research is the chance for your customers to directly communicate with you, so make sure they know who you are! Unfortunately, if you’re using the free version of Survey Monkey, your options are highly limited, with just a few different colours available and no ability to add a company logo. If you have a paid package, customise the colours of your survey to fit your brand, make sure your logo is prominent and match the design as far as you can to other materials your company produces.

3)      Tailor to your users – If you’re using the free version of Survey Monkey, this option won’t be available to you! However, paying customers should take advantage of the Skip Logic function. This allows you to send your respondents to different questions within a survey, depending on their responses. Using Skip Logic could get you more in-depth analysis from certain groups within your consumer demographic, without boring the rest of your audience with long, irrelevant surveys.

4)      Consider the limitations of online research – Conducting an online survey is a fairly low cost, effective way to get feedback from users on a product or service. However, a recent study by Zing (Who is really responding to Online Surveys?) highlights that the users most likely to respond to online surveys are often more polarised in their views towards your brand or the topic of research than your wider audience. If you’re looking for a research sample that is reflective of your entire audience, then perhaps consider conducting further research, such as sampled customer surveys, focus groups or depth interviews.

5)      Leave a good final impression – Make sure you leave your customers satisfied that the time they have taken to conduct your survey will be valuable. If you’re offering an incentive, MRS guidelines recommend that this should not be linked to the product or service you are researching, as this may bias the type of people who respond. Be sure to collect details, but be transparent if you plan to use these for further marketing/research purposes, and provide an opportunity to opt out. If you’re paying for Survey Monkey, link the end of your survey back to your website, or at least provide details of how your users can find you online.

Following these tips will allow you to create a DIY survey if your budget for market research is low. It is worth bearing in mind when creating your survey how you are going to use the data you obtain. Zing can help to analyse existing data you have, as well as conduct the full market research process using a range of methodologies, providing you with truly commercially interpreted business insight.

For more details about Zing Insights and their services, call them on 0844 800 9588, or visit www.zinginsights.com

Posted by: Matt Nevard, Research Executive, Zing Insights

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