There are many ways to get an edge when it comes to business growth, but few are as effective as a well-designed survey. You can use surveys to collect information on a huge range of different aspects of your business, and these data are invaluable when it comes to making business decisions.
That said, it’s important to know what you want a survey to achieve. Having clear goals for your surveys now only allows you to design them so that they can have the largest impact on your business; it will also allow you to build compelling online surveys that people actually enjoy answering.
In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that – leverage surveys for almost any kind of business intelligence, so you can take your business to the next level.
Before we run through the many ways you can use surveys, it’s important to understand they can be conducted in a variety of ways. The most common of these nowadays is simply to create a survey that participants can fill out online. There are plenty of survey plugins for WordPress that will allow you to add a survey to your website very easily, or you can otherwise incorporate a quick survey into an email.
While online surveys like this are inexpensive and easy to use, if you want to get the most information possible from your employees or customers, it can be worth considering other techniques. When social scientists want to investigate a particular problem in great depth, they will use interviews to do this. They are an equally powerful tool in business because they allow you to get to the core of an issue or problem.
All of the surveys in this list can be conducted through both means – as straightforward online surveys, or as more in-depth interview series. The approach you choose will depend, to a large extent, on the resources available to you. Rest assured, however, that whichever technique you use, the data you generate will help generate more revenue and supercharge your business.
- Market Research Survey – One of the most useful types of surveys you can conduct is a market research survey. This type of survey is designed to gather information about how and where your products are purchased, the needs and desires of your customers, and the demographics of your customer base.
In many cases, a market research survey is conducted in advance of the launch of a new product, or when you are looking to expand into a new customer demographic. However, this need not be the case – it’s quite easy to make a small survey with just a few questions that customers can fill out on their smartphone, and this can be run continuously. Doing this ensures that you always have information on your target audience, and can spot opportunities in the market long before your competitors.
- Customer Satisfaction Survey – Customer satisfaction surveys take the opposite approach – instead of providing you with information on potential future customers, satisfaction surveys assess the experience of people who have already purchased your products or services.
From a business intelligence perspective, customer satisfaction surveys can provide you with data on a number of key indicators. Customers who had a positive experience with your brand are far more likely to make a repeat purchase, and you can even ask them directly if they are planning to do so. You can also use a survey like this to find out where and why customers had bad experiences with your brand so that you can take remedial action to improve where you are not meeting their expectations.
Reaching out to your customers in this way also provides you with an opportunity to engage with them at a more meaningful level. You can use a survey like this to ask for testimonials from your customers or even to invite them to join communities that have grown up around your brand. In this way, you are achieving two important outcomes with one survey – improving both your knowledge of and your connection to, your customers.
- Brand Awareness Survey – A brand awareness survey is a slightly more unusual type of survey for small businesses to conduct, but will be very familiar to readers with experience in large brands. The central idea of this type of survey is to assess how well known your brand is among the general public, and the associations they have with it.
For most businesses, the primary value of this type of survey will be the raw assessment of how many people have heard of their brand. However, more developed brands can use this kind of survey in a more sophisticated way – to gather a list of associations that customers have with your brand. You might be surprised to learn, for instance, that customers think your products are much more expensive than they are, or that your services don’t apply to them. Either finding can be a starting point for a highly effective advertising campaign.
Since this kind of survey is typically more detailed than the average customer satisfaction questionnaire, it can also be useful to provide incentives for customers to engage with it. This is a great example of a situation where using gated content in email marketing can help you. By making valuable content available to customers once they have filled out your brand awareness survey, you can repay them for providing you with useful information.
- Event Evaluation Survey – As the name suggests, an event evaluation survey is mainly concerned with assessing the success (or otherwise) of an event. This type of survey should be used whenever you conduct a public event, and also after any training events.
The key to making this kind of survey effective and useful is to find out which parts of the event were not enjoyable or useful to all participants. However, this can be a difficult piece of information to elicit, because most people are hesitant to give negative feedback. You may therefore have to get creative – by using the wide variety of online quiz makers and tools that are available, you can design a survey that is genuinely enjoyable to fill out, and that provides genuinely useful information.
Just remember to keep this kind of survey short. After attending an in-person event, no one wants to be pestered with endless questions about it. Remember that a little feedback is better than none, and aim to make your survey short enough that it can be completed in a few minutes.
- Training Evaluation Survey – A training evaluation survey is similar to an event assessment survey, but has a broader set of goals. Instead of asking participants to quickly rate the various components of a training course, it’s worth asking them to more deeply engage with what the course has provided for them.
Crucially, it’s important to ascertain the extent to which training courses have actually provided your employees with new skills, and therefore which have improved their ability to do their job. Armed with this information, you can stop sending your staff to training courses that are not providing good value, and potentially save your business thousands of dollars in training costs.
- Employee Satisfaction Survey – An employee satisfaction survey can afford to be a little longer than customer-focused surveys. This type of survey enables you to do two things – assess how happy your employees are in their current roles, and to get their feedback and ideas on how their work environment can be improved. Every employee will have ideas as to how they could work more effectively, and collecting these is a useful way of improving the productivity of your business.
There are a few issues to be careful of, however, when conducting this kind of survey. You should make it clear to employees that their answers will be confidential, which will help you to collect more honest answers. Secondly, you should conduct this kind of survey on a regular basis (perhaps once a year) in order to screen out short-term variations in employees’ attitudes toward their jobs.
- Job Satisfaction Survey – A job satisfaction survey is quite similar to an employee satisfaction survey, but here your focus is on asking survey questions that assess the efficacy of individual roles, rather than on the experience of the people currently working them.
This kind of survey is very useful during periods when your business is expanding. During these periods, and especially if you are simultaneously expanding into new products or audiences, it can be very difficult to structure roles that will effectively achieve your desired business outcomes.
The key is therefore to continually assess how well your existing roles are working, and change them in line with suggestions provided by the people who are actually working in them.
- Lead Generation Survey – A lead generation survey is significantly different from some of the other types of surveys on this list, because the primary aim here is not to collect information on how your business is performing. Rather, a lead generation survey is a tool that can be used to collect contact details – and perhaps a few key pieces of demographic information – from potential customers.
This kind of survey is vitally important when you are looking to monetize your website, because it will allow you to start building a customer base who are already interested in your product. Gathering contact details like this can also be useful for other parts of your business, as long as you make it clear to your customers that you will use their contact details to keep them informed of other special offers.
It can be difficult to get customers to share this kind of information, though, so make this kind of survey as short as possible, and consider offering an incentive to any customer who is willing to share their details.
- Exit Interview Survey – When employees leave your business – for whatever reason – it’s also important to use the opportunity to gather their input on their role, and your business more generally. Outgoing employees are far more likely to be honest about their experience, and will likely be able to give you great insights into how to improve your systems.
An exit interview is also a great opportunity to establish the next stage of your relationship. You never know when a business connection like this is going to come in handy.
- Survey Your Survey Team – Last but definitely not least, don’t overlook the insights and information which can be provided by your research team themselves. After all, all of the valuable information you are collecting from your customers and other staff members is being channeled through your survey team, and so they are likely to know more about your business than almost anyone else.
It might be a little difficult, of course, to instruct them to research themselves. So instead, make sure you schedule regular meetings with your business intelligence team. At these meetings, they can give a broader-level overview of the conclusions they’ve come to through their work, and they can also suggest ways that you can pursue your research into the future.
Accelerate Your Business
Any of the surveys we’ve mentioned above can provide valuable insights into your business, your customers, or how effectively you are deploying your staff. They can also do so with a minimum of effort and cost.
Once you have your results, the real challenge begins. Just make sure, whether you want to build a high-conversion landing page, or simply make a better connection with your customers, that you check back to see the results of your efforts. And how to do that? Well, by repeating the same survey, and comparing the results.