How to Design a Survey
The survey can be a powerful tool to figure out what your market needs and how you can market to them. Just the process of developing a survey will help you learn more about your target market.
- Establish the goals of your survey.
What are you trying to find out? Be very specific. Write them down. EXAMPLE:
Here are a few of the goals for our survey:
- How do people find our product web page?
- Do these people own their own business?
- Do they work for a small business or a large company?
- What is the level of their Search Engine Optimization knowledge?
- Where do these people hang out on the Internet?
- Why don’t they buy our product today?
- Who will you ask?
Who will be your sample? EXAMPLE:
We are going to ask the following people to fill out our survey:
- People that come to our home page
- People that come to our product page
- People that read our newsletter
- We are also using ads in various e-zines to get the word out about our survey.
- What method of surveying will you use?
Here are some choices from most expensive to least expensive:
- Personal Interview – face-to-face interviewing – sometimes conducted in a mall or on the street.
- Telephone – probably one of the most popular methods.
- Mail – inexpensive, also there is no interference by an interviewer, so there is less bias.
- Web based – only use if your target population would be online. EXAMPLE:
We are going to use a web based survey, because most of the selling of our book will occur online. Also, the only people that would be interested in our book would be people online.
- Plan your research carefully
Once you know who you’re surveying and the type of method you will use: a. Develop a time line – how long it will take from designing the survey to analyzing the data. b. Do a cost estimate. You might break down cost by each step involved. EXAMPLE:
Our survey will costs us nothing but our own time.
Jan 1 – Jan 20: write survey
Jan 20 – Jan 30: run a pretest
Jan 31: rewrite what needs rewriting
Feb 1 to Feb 18: implement survey, send out ads in e-zines that will run ads for free, put on web site home page and product page.
Feb 18 – Feb 28: analyze data and incorporate into marketing plan
- Design the survey.
Write the survey based on the method that you have chosen (Number 3 above.)
Pretesting will help you determine if the survey is easy to understand, if people are able to fill it out, and other problems that may occur. Rewrite the survey if you need to. EXAMPLE:
We pretested our survey to about 15 people – friends and family, that we were fairly sure would respond. Side Note: we were going to skip the pretest, because it’s a little bit of a pain. DON’T SKIP IT. It actually told us several things that were wrong with our survey.
Do the actual survey. Collect the data and put it into an organized format. EXAMPLE:
Here is our survey – as long as you’re going to check out our survey – please fill it out!
If you’re using quantifiable information you can analyze with statistics. However, expect to spend some time learning how to do statistics. If you’re statistically challenged, perhaps you want to develop a more qualitative survey. If so, you will analyze using inferences and basic reasoning rather than statistics. Your goals will dictate your questions and the answers to those questions will help you determine what you will do with your marketing plan and the marketing strategies that you choose to employ.