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Online research surveys has its own shapes and forms – marketing, academic studies, customer experience and satisfaction and so on. However, the most fundamental and success-determining factor amongst all surveys is their quality of questionnaire.

Companies often invest heavily in purchasing survey samples, however, no matter how strong respondent database is, it’s the questionnaire that plays the biggest role. Think of it as a marketing pitch. If your pitch is right, then even the toughest prospects crack and you make a sale. If the pitch is weak, then even the strongest sales leads may fail.

Demystify your target audience

Even before you kick-start brainstorming your survey questionnaire, what you need to be clear about is your target audience. Then ask yourself – Do these respondents fall under the same demographics or do they vary? If they vary, do the questions need to be the same or different? If different, should there be different questionnaire links or the same link that branches out based on respondent data input?

Clarifying these question by yourself or with your team will help lift the fog and give you a clearer vision of your target audience.

Having rock-solid objectives

Till the time you are absolutely certain about what it is you want to study through the survey, you will be wandering like a writer who doesn’t know what his book should be about. You will end up touching too many points in one survey, make the survey too long, confuse your audience and get incomplete and inadequate responses.

A clear objective lets you keeps your questionnaire concise and precise.

Keep your survey questions simple

“You are the subject matter expert, but respondents are not” – Always remember that you may have a lot more expertise than your respondents, especially in the case of feedback surveys. Because of this, it might be easy for you to get swayed into creating highly technical or complex survey questionnaire. This can create respondent confusion or simply increase the amount of effort they have to put in to answer your questions, leading to drop-outs and incomplete responses.

Try to keep your survey questions as simple and to the point as possible.

The shorter, the better

All historic industry data indicate that shorter surveys tend to get more and complete responses. These surveys are also called micro surveys which usually consist of 4-5 questions. You can even use survey logic to reduce the number of questions, especially the Flex Matrix question type. These advanced logic enable you to compress multiple common questions into a single one.

If your survey still grows too long, then you might also want to consider breaking the surveys altogether into multiple parts and send them out with certain time gaps.

A/B test your questions

You might also consider not sending out your survey to your entire target audience database at once. Instead, send it to only a few, notice how they respond and based on the data, you can now incrementally improve your survey questionnaire. This way your survey has the potential to improve and get the maximum number of complete responses.