Online Surveys - What Are They?
How much would it be worth to you, to get data on the purchasing habits of your customers? What TV shows do they watch, what income bracket they belong to, are they hip urbanites or down-home country-folk? The ability to place ads in the right places, whether they’re TV commercials or billboards, speaks to Marketing Rule #1: Know Your Customer. If you don’t know who and where your customers are, you won’t be able to give your product away—at least not to anyone who would value it.
There are four steps to working with data. First you have to get it. After that you need to understand it, interpret it, and apply it to your business strategy. Think of the data as bricks—if you want to build something using bricks, you also need to know how to put the bricks together so your structure doesn’t fall down. It’s not simply a matter of buying bricks.
This article is going to help you figure out how to get the data.
Let’s assume that you don’t have a marketing team. Your budget doesn’t stretch to hiring envisioneers or infomediaries or any of those other made-up skills that appear on resumes. If what you need is a cost-effective way to acquire proprietary data about your target-market, online survey companies provide just the kind of service you’re looking for.
An online survey can be completely customized by your company, can include participant qualification questions so that you only get answers from people who meet criteria you choose, and it doesn’t have to be costly.
When you publish your online survey, you can set the survey to close after a specified period of time, or when a specified number of responses have been recorded. Your online poll vendor will provide the responses either as raw data, or with some analysis—depending on the level of service you’re paying for.
And remember—any type of information is worthless if you don’t know how to use it.
Why Would I Conduct a Survey?
Big companies with big marketing departments will probably create their own market research surveys. But that can cost big money.
Online survey service providers can be a cost-effective way for your business to get all the advantages of targeted market intelligence. In the not-so-distant past, traditional market research questionnaires ran into problems that respondents were unavailable, unsuitable, or unmotivated to participate. This resulted in a lot of paper surveys with responses that had no value to the company that commissioned the survey.
With many online polls offering small cash rewards for qualified respondents, online survey services have been inundated with poll-takers signing up to give their opinions and earn extra cash.
The survey services ask new members a set of questions when they sign up. This helps to determine which types of surveys are sent to which members. The goal is to make sure that polls about methods of preparing a Thanksgiving turkey don’t get sent to nineteen year-olds college students, and skate park activity questions are not delivered to stay-at-home moms. Ensuring that your survey is put in front of the right people is a big step in the right direction.
As with any service that attracts a lot of members, some less-than-ethical sites have emerged. Generally, if a website or service requires a registration fee to respond to polls, that’s where it makes most of its money—not from the vendors who create the surveys. If you want to use this kind of service, you should find one that charges you, not your respondents, and which can provide clear pricing information.
Who Are Online Surveys Useful To?
If you want to give your opinion at a surveys website, it’s easy enough to find a site to let you do that—and some will even pay for your opinion. If you want to provide surveys for other people to take, that’s a different matter. Most of the survey sites are created by market research companies for the benefit of their clients.
For small businesses, the problem is that most survey sites are aimed at respondents. Free sites which allow you to post a poll also allow everyone else to post surveys, even those kids who hang out at the mall every night. The fact is, that when it comes to online surveys, there are few options for business owners.
Your company could create its own survey system on its website, but in reality that can cost much more than using a survey service.
The cost is related to the number of surveys you want to publish, and the number of respondents you need. Most will allow you to post a survey for free, but with a small number of questions and a limit of 100 responses. Only you know whether that number of responses is statistically significant for your market intelligence needs.
Show me a comparison of companies which can help me with: