Like any other type of digital tool, survey analysis software is only as good as the information you feed it. To ensure you’re giving it a feast of valuable, relevant data, check out these four steps to take as you’re establishing your survey design.
Determine the Survey’s Purpose
Your first order of business is to figure out what you your survey to achieve. Some of the most common objectives for surveys include:
- Gathering feedback
- Learning more about your target audience
- Opening avenues of communication
- Tracking company performance
- Collecting market research
Let’s say you want to focus your digital marketing efforts on the social media channels that your target audience is most likely to use. Here you can launch a marketing research survey to learn more about your target audience’s social media habits.
Establish Your Hypotheses
You already have an idea that most of your audience regularly uses Facebook, but you’ve also heard murmurs that Instagram has been gaining ground. You don’t think LinkedIn is necessarily a solid source, since you’re a B2C rather than a B2B company.
Create a series of hypotheses, and then craft your survey to either support or discredit them. Examples are:
- Hypothesis 1: More than 75 percent of our target audience uses Facebook at least once a week.
- Hypothesis 2: Less than 25 percent of our target audience uses LinkedIn at least once a week.
- Hypothesis 3: Instagram is gaining ground within our target audience, with at least 50 percent of our audience using the platform at least once a week.
Craft Questions to Test Hypotheses
Your next step is to create questions and possible answers designed to test your hypotheses and otherwise gain the specific knowledge you’re seeking. Straightforward questions tend to work best, although you can combine a series of questions into a single question if it makes sense.
For example, you may initially come up with three separate questions regarding social media usage:
- How often do you use Facebook?
- How often do you use LinkedIn?
- How often do you use Instagram?
Your answers could include multiple choice options such as:
- At least once a day
- At least once a week
- At least once a month
- Less than once a month
Edit Questions as Needed
Once your rough draft of questions and answers are established, review them to see if any can be further simplified. For instance, the first three questions noted above are repetitive and actually give you more information than you need for your marketing purposes.
If you’re only going to consider marketing on social media channels the bulk of your audience uses at least once a week, you can narrow down your options. A revised version of the above questions might look something like this:
- Which social media channels do you use at least once a week?
- Other (please specify)
Once your questions are good to go, fill in the estimates of responses you think you’ll receive for each answer. Your previous hypotheses indicated:
- Facebook = 75 percent of respondents
- LinkedIn = Less than 25 percent of respondents
- Instagram = 50 percent of respondents
- Other (please specify) = At least 10 percent Snapchat, 10 percent Twitter, unsure on others
Make sure you include specific numbers, or how many responses you would expect in each category. Doing this enables you to compare your numbers with the final results you receive from your survey analysis software. You’ll then discover where your intuition is strong and where it may be off the mark.
One last tip is to keep it simple. You want to use simple questions, simple answers and an overall simple survey design. These four steps give you a foundation for a straightforward survey that gives your survey analysis software the data it needs to provide you with the insights you desire.