The benefits of online surveys are vast. In fact, Pew Research noted that online surveys are one of the cheapest, most convenient means of data collection that include very limited influence from social bias.
Even though creating an online survey nowadays is much easier than in the past, that’s not to say all aspects of surveys are easy. Sometimes getting responses can be a difficult task, and without an effective plan for distribution, you may struggle to collect the valuable feedback your organization needs.
The distribution plan for your online surveys should put your existing outlets and channels to use while focusing on the goals you’re trying to accomplish. We’ve gathered some of the best ways to distribute and promote your surveys online, so you can create a distribution plan to blow your feedback goals out of the water.
4 Ways to Distribute Online Surveys
1. Send email surveys.
As a direct means of communication between you and your audience, email is the first place that comes to most people’s minds when they think about distributing an online survey.
Email gives you the ability to decide how targeted or broad you want to be in your distribution efforts. Do you only want to target just customers? Prospects who have views a certain page of your app or website? Marketing executives at 500+ employee companies? Or maybe just a set of people who have taken a certain action with your organization, like have submitted a support ticket.
Email distribution typically comes in two forms: batch sends, and transactional sends.
Batch sends are probably what people are most familiar with from an email perspective. You create an email distribution list and send an email to that list all at once. Batch emails are a great way for you to target a specific group, or quickly get your survey in front of a large number of people who are familiar with your organization. Since you are sending the survey to your opt-in list, you have a greater probability of getting high-quality responses by distributing to this group. Additionally, you can easily slice up your list with logic and filtering, to send to only a specific group of people, to make your surveys more targetted.
Sending batch emails to distribute your survey has also just gotten easier. GetFeedback recently released email delivery for surveys right from within your GetFeedback account. Powered by our parent company Campaign Monitor, this makes emailing your surveys extremely easy and gives the emails you send a professional, branded look and feel. We’ve also simplified the distribution list process, by providing the ability to send your survey directly to a Salesforce Report (if you’re using GetFeedback for Salesforce). This enables you to use Salesforce’s native logic and reporting to create a list of people in your CRM who you’d like to send your survey to, and then easily send your survey to them in GetFeedback.
Of course, you can always use your existing email service or marketing automation solution to distribute your survey. Just make sure to have a clear call to action, and follow the best practices below, to optimize your response rates.
Now transactional emails are a bit different.
Transactional emails are emails that are sent after a user completes a certain action or event, like receiving help from your support team. Actions like these are great opportunities to ask for feedback about the experience, including overall satisfaction, what was done well or areas for improvement.
You can set up some powerful transactional survey workflows, by using GetFeedback and Salesforce (you can see the full “how to” here). Asking for feedback after a user has done something is one of the best ways to improve a process and measure satisfaction, ao you should always be thinking about where you can add feedback to your processes, to gain deeper insight.
So, why use email?
Studies show that email simply isn’t as sensitive to time as social media outlets can be. There are at least 3x more email accounts than there are Facebook and Twitter accounts, and engagement with email is much higher: Your message is 5x more likely to be seen through email than on Facebook.
With this information in mind, here are a few best practices that will help ensure your online survey sent via email is as effective as possible:
- Keep your subject line short but descriptive, and make it feel like a special invitation.
- Within the email, don’t try to market/sell any products. Keep the focus on the survey.
- Keep the message brief and leave the most important real estate for the survey.
- Limit distractions via graphic elements and make your CTA button easy to locate.
- Consider embedding the first question of the survey in the email, if it makes sense.
Note: Email also provides a means for you to stay in touch with your survey audience. If you find that not enough people have completed your survey, send a follow-up email to those who have not yet completed as a friendly reminder that their opinion matters.
2. Add surveys to your website.
You can incorporate surveys into your web experience, and invite your website visitors to complete your survey. After all, your website traffic includes a highly relevant audience that you probably need to hear more from, since your Google Analytics data can only tell you so much.
You can use surveys on specific pages to gather information about your audience’s general perception of your organization, feedback on a new product, ways to improve, or maybe you just have a specific question you need feedback on.
In addition to a standard survey, there are a couple great additional use cases for surveys on your website, which you may want to consider:
- Asking your visitor whether a help article, piece of content or page was useful to them. (You can see an example at the bottom of our help articles).
- Using a survey as a Lead Form
- Using a survey to sign up for a Newsletter and set their email preferences
If you are looking for additional responses to an existing survey, you are probably asking: Where should I promote a survey on my site?
- Use a home page pop-up invitation that asks site visitors to participate as soon as they land on your site
- Embed a survey onto your website in a permanent location using an IFrame
- Include it as a follow-up page for people who convert (i.e. make a purchase, download a guide, etc.)
Note: Be sure that you choose an online survey tool that features mobile-friendly designs, and using a CTA button rather than an embed on mobile pages since IFrames tend to be difficult to make mobile friendly. ComScore reported that as of 2014, more people are browsing on mobile devices than on desktop computers, so be sure your survey accommodates both types of users.
3. Embed surveys in blog posts.
A brief blog post that explains the details of why you’re conducting a survey helps participants better understand the purpose of your data collection–and can motivate them to share their thoughts.
This is one of the few places you have the ability to explain the bigger picture of your online survey, so take the time to explain what the data collected here means for your organization.
Within your blog post, consider promoting your survey by:
- Including a CTA at the end of your post
- Including text links to your survey within the body of the blog post
- Embedding the survey directly into the post
Note: You can then use this blog post as social media content so that you get as much mileage as possible out of your post.
4. Share surveys over social media.
Social media is all about being social–and collecting feedback from your following there is one way to keep the conversation going. Promoting a survey in this space shows you value your audience’s opinions and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts.
Be sure to promote your survey on social media by:
- Sharing a direct link to your online survey
- Partnering with relevant influencers on social media who can help spread the word
- Offering a random prize drawing for participants to encourage involvement
Note: Be sure to stress in your social media promotion that your online survey is a way for participants to share their honest thoughts about your organization. Make it about them–not you.
If you can distribute your online survey through these various locations, you’ll be able to ensure you’re reaching as many of the right people as possible.
Just remember: As you use email, your website, blog posts, and your social media outlets to connect with your audience online, think about how you can use surveys to gain deeper insight into their wants and needs. Are they satisfied with what they are seeing and getting from your brand? Could you be doing a better job? Where are your problem areas?