How to Create Effective Forms and Surveys

Patti RennerPolls and surveys are commonly used by marketers to help track trends and test campaign concepts. Done well and they can provide valuable insight. But there are some challenges: People lie; language used is often “leading” or slanted; and sometimes the person is simply telling you what they think you want to hear instead of what they’re actually thinking.
It’s tough to track trends when the approach is flawed. Some advice:

Use a diverse group. According to Roxana Strohmenger, an analyst with Forrester, a group with multiple perspectives from a diverse background will give better and more precise feedback and accurate predictability than individual experts alone. Ask people who may not traditionally fit your test groups. If your product is for men, include women in the opinion survey sample. If you’re targeting exclusively high-end consumers, the opinions of middle-class consumers may give fresh ideas for product refinement you might not tap into otherwise.

Use words like “others” and “people” instead of “you.” A simple change in wording can help people get out of their own way to give you the details you need most. For instance, a typical question might be: “What do you look for when selecting a ______ service provider.” But this is limiting. You’ll garner far more predictive insight when you rephrase it: “What do people look for when selecting…” or “What do others look for when selecting….”

Make it fun. Don’t make it painful for people to give you their feedback. Sure, you can send an email survey and hope for response. You might also consider adding a quick poll at the end of your email newsletter, or designing a game-like experience. Keeping it entertaining will help increase survey response rates.

Be transparent. If you’re even considering using any survey responses collected in the research process for future marketing materials or campaigns, be clear and open about it.

Choose good tools. Marketers should look for tools that make it easy to deploy polls and surveys, as well as easy to make use of the data received. Here at Knotice, the ability to create forms and surveys is one of our standard features. (Yes, it’s already in there.)

Our Concentri platform makes it easy, featuring a visual, point-and-click environment to create sign-up forms, surveys, and quick polls. These can easily be added to any landing page, microsite or email. You also can publish forms on web pages hosted outside of Concentri with a simple cut-and-paste of code. As people complete the surveys, the data and information gathered is then stored into its universal profile management system.

You can view and easily export results directly to Excel, as well as set up recurring exports so new form submissions are emailed on a set schedule. Form results can also be used to drive segmentation and triggered campaigns, for more powerful direct digital marketing well after the survey is complete. If you’d like to know more about this cool feature, let us know!

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