Free web surveys capture customer data

Pg17Column-dignbat-Frank-Iacono1By Frank Iacono
Guest Columnist

As people mature and change occupations, industries, and personal preferences they look for specific products and services that meet their shifting needs.

Understanding this evolution and implementing ways to capture and correlate this quantifiable information will prove invaluable to your strategic product planning and overall marketing initiatives.

How to capture information?

In today’s digital world, the easiest way to capture important marketing data from your customers is through web surveys. Web-based surveys are having a profound influence on survey methodology. In fact, many believe that the Internet has truly revolutionized the survey-taking process. Why? Because web surveys are more inclusive, less expensive, quick to administer and they allow companies the ability to collect data faster and transfer it into other business applications. Your customer’s opinions will yield results and powerful ammunition crucial for your company’s products and services.

Making the Connection
Web-based connections between customers and your company’s products and services place the customer at the core of the product life cycle quickly, easily, and impulsively. Equally as important as automating your marketing process — as opposed to organized focus groups and face-to-face interviews – is reaching your customers and intimately uniting them with your products and future plans. Compared to the more traditional print survey, web-based surveys let individuals respond instinctively and at their leisure.

Advantages of Web-based Surveys
There are many advantages to using web-based surveys over print. In Elaine Zanutto’s book entitled Web & E-mail Surveys she described many of these advantages, including:

  • Faster response rates
  • Easier to send reminders to participants
  • Easier to process data, since responses could be downloaded to a spreadsheet, data analysis package, or a database
  • Dynamic error checking capability
  • Option of putting questions in random order
  • The ability to make complex skip pattern questions easier to follow
  • The inclusion of pop-up instructions for selected questions
  • The use of drop-down boxes

Designing Online Surveys
As previously mentioned, many companies or marketers fail to take advantage of web surveys. In other cases, some have used this method to capture data but have used poorly designed surveys. Here are some quick tips to ensure that your web survey is getting the right results:

  • Focus on only the most important questions
  • Keep the total number of questions to 15 or fewer
  • Use no more than 10 minutes of each respondent’s time and state the amount of time needed to complete the survey upfront
  • Limit the number of screens respondents have to navigate through
  • Use symbols, words, or numbers to give respondents some idea of their progress in the survey
  • Offer an incentive to entice the respondent to take the survey that directly relates to the product or service you are asking them to evaluate

Survey Companies
When it comes to online survey tools, there are a good number of free and paid services available. If you’re just looking to do some light audience research, the free tools should be fine. Some of the more popular survey companies include: ClassApps, CreateSurvey, Formstack Google Forms, QuestionPro, SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Voxco and Zoho Survey

Everybody Wins
Customers who contribute to the overall development of a company’s product line will more likely remain loyal. Obviously, shortened time-to-market remains the value proposition here, but companies will sharpen their competitive edge if they bring better products to market faster. In fact, inviting customers into your product planning and asking them to share their thoughts and opinions will most likely entice them to buy more of your products that they help build. And why not involve the people who benefit the most from new and improved products? A web-based survey is a great way to do it. It’s a win-win for everyone. ♦

Frank Iacono is a senior Internet marketing manager for Mobile Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency in the greater Philadelphia area.
Contact him at frank@mobile-marketing.agency.

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