Updated: Feb 14
We have used off and on a survey on our website and would ever so often change the question. We get about a 10-15% response rate, but it gives us enough information to make better decisions about our business and website. It also helped us uncover information about the types of visitors to our website and understand the behaviour of visitors and why they visited our website.
Too often, websites are about selling to visitors and not providing the information they need to make informed decisions. Most visitors often come to a website before they fill in a form or pick up the phone and make a buying decision. Having a survey or other tools to gather data that are not intrusive on your website to gain information can be very helpful to your marketing and overall business efforts.
In the case of the survey tool, it allowed our visitors to be anonymous in answering questions; that way, you are more assured of receiving honest answers. On each survey, we gave them the option to provide their email and be contacted if they wanted, but this was not a requirement. This way, for those interested, it is their choice alone to provide the email to be contacted. You can do this with other tools such as polls or online questionnaires.
The question(s) you ask need to be non-threatening in nature. We are not asking our visitors to provide private information; it is usually about their opinion as business owners. It is generally one or two multiple-choice questions, with the second one being optional and a clarifying question of the first. We found that visitors are more apt to answer questions that are easy to answer and already have choices to choose from versus filling in forms.
You want to ensure that you provide positive and negative responses and not only give those you want to hear. Doing this allows you to get a complete picture. Make sure you are prepared for the answers to be brutally honest. We have made changes in services and business processes based on our information and found this beneficial to our business. An example of this is this question. We offer a few services where there are assessments and scores. We offer the overview assessment free of charge, and then if the individual wants to get help, this is a charged service. We asked about receiving a free assessment and what would hold them back from filling in the assessment. Our options were as follows:
No Issue, send me the link
Fear of someone stalking me afterward to sell me something
Fear of knowing the truth about my business score
Fear of providing information about my business
Doing it online versus with someone
We thought the answer would be them providing information about their business, even though the questions are not specific and multiple choice. In most cases, it was split between “No Issue, send me the link” and “Fear of someone stalking me afterward to sell me something,” which is not what we expected. On the other hand, it provides us with information on making changes in our offering to get our desired result.
We are changing our questionnaire at the beginning of every month for six months so those returning do not repeatedly see the same question. Once you have 50 to 100 responses, that will give you a good indication.
There are a few features that you want to look for if looking for a web survey product.
Choose one that allows you to target specific visitors, such as location, number of visits,
Choose a product that allows you to close the survey. You do not want to irritate visitors who are not interested in responding.
Choose a product that provides different question types: multiple choice, ratings, checkboxes, and text answers.
Look for a product that allows you to collect their email as optional.
Look for a product that analyzes the questions and includes information on where the data was from (location) if you sell in specific areas.
Most survey tools have multiple levels, so you can purchase what you need. You will embed the code in your website and usually have a choice of where they show up.
Surveys do not always have to be about selling, as visitors come to your website for several reasons, and most, if their first time, are not there to purchase. Some visitors want to educate themselves on the industry and the different products and services; others come to see what options are available, so they are most likely visiting your competitors simultaneously. Others will just come for free downloads and articles, but that is also ok.
Web surveys allow you to find critical information that can help your business, sometimes as essential as actual sales.