Surveying Your Sample
So you’ve determined what area of your business could benefit from some actionable insights as well as crafted your perfect survey addressing this issue.
Now you need to launch the survey and get your target audience to answer your questions, so you can make better business decisions.
The first step is to identify whom you’ll be surveying. If it’s a product question, it’s best to ask both current and prospective clients, whereas if you’re investigating internal company matters it's best to stick with employees and any vendor partners. Make sure those you survey will have the ability to answer your questions in an informed manner, rather than those who wouldn’t understand the questions or direction of the content, as their answers may negatively skew your data.
The next step in gathering quality data is properly issuing your survey to your target audience. When targeting a large group of customers, vendors or other stakeholders, you need to make sure your entire target audience has the opportunity to respond, and that the rate of survey respondents is high enough to provide you with statistically significant information.
There are two ways to properly send surveys – either send invitations to your audience at random or purposefully include everyone in the invitation. Any survey will be valid if everyone has a chance to make it into the surveyed sample. Whether or not they decide to participate, all members of the identified audience need to have had an opportunity to respond.
The bonus for you is that most people want their opinions to be heard so select your sampling method:
- If you’re including everyone in your survey, you need to collect a comprehensive list of your subjects – whether it's employees, vendors, customers or all of the above. They should all be provided with the exact same email and survey link, to ensure that no one has varying expectations or perceptions of the survey.
- If you’re doing a random sample, you need to be mindful about making sure the sample is truly random, and does not skew too heavily toward one demographic or socioeconomic group. For example, if you provide customers a chance to take the survey every day between 3-5 p.m., you’re discriminating against those who work traditional hours, and may not be available to take said survey. Instead, send it to people at different times of the day, to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. Or perhaps you want to send it to every 11th customer who uses a product, that too is valid, because the customers who are included are completely random.
Another way to get the best, quality data is to leave your survey open for as long as possible, to garner more respondents. Some people may forget to take the survey at the first notice, but by sending a reminder you can encourage those people to become respondents, giving you even more data on which to base important decisions.
This is a critical part of the survey process that is often overlooked. If you don’t survey the right people, at the right time, you’ve wasted all of the effort that went into identifying your business issue and creating the actual questionnaire.
The final piece is taking the data you get from issuing your survey, and analyzing it to glean valuable business insights. That’s what we’ll be discussing next week, so come on back!