Survey Building: Online Survey Best Practices for B2B Businesses

online survey building best practices

online survey building best practices

You’ve been tasked with creating a survey to send to your B2B customers. But you aren’t sure where to start. Survey building isn’t as simple as making a list of questions and asking for a response. There are a lot of factors to consider. That’s why we’ve put together this list of online survey best practices to help you create surveys that customers fill out and help you derive actionable insights.

Define your purpose

Before you begin the process of survey building, you need to ask yourself: what is my purpose? Just like with any marketing initiative, you need to have a goal.

You might be creating a survey to learn what your customers’ pain points are, to help your team make a decision about which features to prioritize in your product’s next release update, or to gauge overall customer satisfaction with your product. Whatever your purpose, make sure every question ultimately helps you achieve your goal.

That’s not to say every question has to be directly inquiring about that goal. Certain “stock” questions like title, department, and pay will help you segment your respondents. You might notice that certain departments are interested in certain features, or people of a certain pay scale have similar pain points.

Know your audience

If you’re creating a survey that isn’t anonymous (one that is personally sent to clients or customers), be sure to eliminate any questions that can be interpreted as “stock” questions. When you’re targeting people directly, you want your survey to feel more personal. This is where knowing your audience comes in.

Are you targeting customers, leads, or previous customers? You’ll address those who have stopped being a customer very differently from those who haven’t even committed to your product yet. Ensure the language you use fits your target.

Another aspect of your audience to consider is whether or not they need an incentive to fulfill this survey. Also, you need to decide if it’s important enough to your business to even offer an incentive. If the respondents of your survey are young, concerned about budget, or exceptionally busy, they might be more inclined to respond if you offer a gift card or freebie.

Choose the right question types

Depending on the information you’re looking for, you need to choose the right type of question. Interested in finding out the monthly income of your customers? A scale might be the best way to do that.

Collecting pain points? Don’t create a text box. You’ll find yourself with data that requires manual cleaning. Instead, use a dropdown with an option for people to select “other.” Now, when you do get a unique text entry, it will have more value because it will be outside the pain points you’ve already defined. You’ve also eliminated the possibility of receiving multiple responses with the same pain point mentioned but described a million different ways.

But most importantly, choose the simplest way to answer a specific question. Don’t create a table for customers to fill out if you can break the questions into multiple scale questions. Also, don’t make them think harder than they have to about what they should say. Which brings me to my next point…

Make your survey feel easy to complete

Your survey should feel easy to complete to decrease the risk of abandonment. This might mean respondents only see one question at a time. Or, you could minimize the number of questions that require typing. Instead, focus on dropdowns, scales, multiple choice, or check boxes. You should also ensure there is a logical ordering to the questions you’re asking.

One way to decrease survey abandonment is to place the easy questions at the beginning and harder questions (or those that require more effort) towards the end. When respondents are faced with harder questions after already committing to the survey, they will be less likely to quit. And they’ll feel like the survey was easy to complete.

Again, this relates to knowing your audience. But, whoever your audience is, the majority of them don’t have a ton of time. So you need to create a survey that looks simple. If you can get all of the information you need in five questions, do it.

Pay attention to design

No one wants to spend time on an ugly looking landing page. Even for the simplest of surveys, design is important.

Include your company logo to remind those taking the survey of who you are. Space the questions appropriately and make them easy to read. Don’t make survey respondents increase the zoom of their browser just for your survey. And finally, choose pleasing colors: no neons, no olive greens or dark browns, and nothing that might remind someone of Christmas (unless it’s a survey about Christmas).

Craft a thank you message that feels genuine

Finally, make those who have taken the time to fill out your survey glad they did. Choose a survey platform that allows you to automatically send a thank you message after a response. Tell them how much you appreciate their responses and remind them of what the survey is for. Make them feel good about having spent time that will help you achieve your goal.

Now that you know how to begin, it’s time to choose your platform. Check out DemandZEN’s favorite survey platforms and you’ll soon be on your way.

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