student-run marketing firm at Stephens College, Columbia, MO


The Anatomy of an Effective Survey


The first step in creating a successful marketing plan is market research. Market research is the foundation and justification for every single point in your plan. To support your marketing plan, you will need two types of research:

Primary Research: Original research that you collect yourself.
Secondary Research: Collecting existing research of others.

For a successful marketing plan, you will need to primary research and a most common way of collecting this research is through surveys. There are many ways to build a survey, but in my experience, these are the six things that helped me create an effective survey.

Have a strong call-to-action. Depending on how you’re administering your survey, your call-to-action needs to be convincing. This might be a good time to let potential participants know that by taking the survey, they are helping you improve your business. Incentives are also a good way to attract participants. Not many people turn down “take this quick survey to get a discount.”

An on-brand survey. Make it evident that the survey is coming from your business. Being on-brand looks professional and sets the tone for the survey. Make sure to have your company’s logo and name on the survey. This can also help with brand recognition in the future.

Figure out your top marketing priority. It’s important to know the purpose of the survey. What do you want to know? Once you can answer this question, it will be easy to write questions. Remember that you can’t ask everything, which is why you need to prioritize your marketing goals.

Keep it concise. People are busy and don’t want to take more than 10 minutes to take a survey. Keep your survey short and make sure you’re asking the right questions. If the question doesn’t give you the valuable information needed to structure your marketing plan, leave it out.

Use multiple choice questions. This is a good way to force participants to prioritize answers. Open-ended questions are good for certain purposes, but they can be hard to analyze. Multiple choice questions will make your job easier, but this means you have to consider all options when writing out answers.

Ask about demographics. You need to know exactly who you’re talking to. Ask their age, gender, and where they live. Having a clear understanding of who your current demographic is will help you decipher how to best reach them.

Now take these tips and go make that awesome survey!


Graphic Created by Jonné Pratt

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