How to Design a Survey: 5 Tips for Better Conversions

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You might be considering using a survey in your business, or maybe you have tried, but it didn’t give you the results you hoped for. In this post, I will take you through 5 key tips to get better conversion rates from your survey.

On average, 42% of businesses are not utilizing surveys with their customers. Using surveys can help you gather valuable information about your business from your customers.

You do need to be careful with the questions you choose. The last thing you want is misleading information because they misunderstood the questions. Unclear survey questions could end up hurting your business.

The best thing about surveys is that they will show you how to improve your product or service and even allow you to improve the customer experience. You can even use surveys if you run a blog to see where you can improve your content.

The better your customer experience, the more likely they will return and refer you to family and friends.

One crucial step to designing an excellent survey is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think like a human. It can be tempting to have AI bots just plug in random questions. Avoid using AI to create survey questions at all costs.

Let’s jump into the five tips for better survey conversions.

Make your questions relevant 

When conducting a survey, it is vital to ask relevant questions to obtain accurate and useful information.

How to design a survey 5 tips for better conversions

Asking irrelevant questions can lead to inaccurate answers and waste time. Irrelevant questions can confuse respondents and cause them to become frustrated and exit the survey. It’s crucial to think carefully about each question.

One key thing to remember when coming up with questions is to think about what outcome you want from the survey.

How to come up with relevant questions

Asking relevant questions is about balancing too broad and too specific. There are two things to keep in mind when coming up with questions.

  • Does this question touch on a specific challenge they are facing or a particular experience?
  • Does this question relate to the majority of my survey participants?

You can even use a mind map to help you stay on track when coming up with survey questions.

Another thing to remember is that you can have preloaded answers that your customers can simply click on the one that relates to them the most.

Using preloaded questions makes it easier on your customers and reduces the likelihood of them exiting the survey.

Avoid response bias

If your survey questions are unclear or lead your customers to respond in a certain way can negatively affect your results.

Keep your questions as objective as possible without asking leading questions. In case you don’t know what leading questions are, I will show a few examples:

  • Our product met your satisfactory needs, didn’t it?
  • You will share your positive experience on social media, right?
  • How sad are you to hear that this product isn’t available anymore?

Even if you take the time to optimize each question, your customers might still answer the questions untruthfully, even subconsciously.

A great way to try and avoid this is to let your customers know in the beginning that all answers will be confidential and processed anonymously. Reassuring them to answer truthfully about your product or service.

Use a mixture of open-ended and close-ended questions

Figuring out when to use open-ended or close-ended questions comes down to what information you are trying to gain from your customers. What is the difference between the two, you ask?

Open-ended question: This type of question your respondent cannot answer with a simple yes or no. It requires them to elaborate on their response.

Close-ended question: This type of question requires a simple yes or no. There isn’t a need to elaborate. These questions can even have a one-word answer other than yes or no.

If you are trying to figure out if one of your products is too heavy, you will use a close-ended question. However, if you want to learn more about your customer’s experience during one of their meetings, you will use an open-ended question.

Let’s go into a few examples of each.

Examples of open-ended survey questions

  • What do you like most about this product?
  • What disappointed you about this product?
  • If someone asked you about our product, what would you say?
  • If this product was an animal, what would it be?

Examples of close-ended survey questions

  • Would you recommend this product to a friend or family member?
  • Is this your first time purchasing from us?
  • What year were you born?
  • Which university did you attend?

By using a mixture of open and close-ended questions, you can make sure to keep your customer engaged and take them off auto-pilot.

Keep your survey under 5 minutes long

One of the biggest culprits of failed surveys is survey fatigue. Think about a time you took a survey that felt like it lasted forever, so you either exited or just gave half-fast answers without much thought.

Keep your survey under 5 minutes long

When sending out a survey to new or existing customers, this is exactly what you want to avoid.

The average response rate for an online survey is hovering around 29%. Which can be much lower or higher depending on how long it takes to complete.

SurveyMonkey did a study, and they found that the shorter the survey, the more time respondents put into their answers. The longer the survey, the less time they spent on each answer, giving poor results.

To keep your survey within the 5-minute timeframe, keep the number of questions between 3-10, depending on whether they need to elaborate.

Use a visually pleasing format

Creating a visually pleasing survey will show your customers that you value quality in all aspects of your business. We have all taken surveys that were just terrible, making us want to get it over with as soon as possible.

If you use a poorly designed survey, your responses are not of high quality, and you are likely getting high abandonment rates, ultimately affecting your business in the long run.

You can use a few great survey tools to ensure your survey stays on brand and is visually appealing. A few of my top picks are:

  • Typeform
  • JotForm
  • SurveyMonkey

Just to have a visual guideline, I will share a few screenshots of visually pleasing surveys that have had high success rates.

Survey design by PayFit

Survey design by PayFit

Survey design by Soapbox

Survey design by Soapbox

Survey design by Epic PXLS

Survey design by Epic PXLS

As you can see from the above examples, these surveys are visually appealing and are likely to keep the customers engaged during the process.

Another key thing to note is that 2 out of the 3 surveys have a progress bar, showing how much further they have left.

Progress bars can also boost completion rates, knowing where they are in the survey.

Make sure your survey is easy to fill out

This step may seem obvious, but you would be surprised. I have come across surveys in the past where I didn’t know where to click or start typing.

The second your survey becomes too “difficult” is the second your customer will simply exit the screen.

Also, if they struggle to access your survey by having to click through too many buttons is another reason they will abandon the survey.

Make sure to send your online survey in a well-written email with a link that takes them directly to the survey. The less work your customers have to do, the better.

If you aren’t using a survey tool and have one designed, make sure it is easy to access on a mobile device. More than 50% of your customers will take the survey on their phones.

Final thoughts

When creating a survey that will help your business in the future, a lot of thought and care goes into it. Putting yourself in your customers' shoes will allow you to come up with relevant questions they want to answer.

The power of utilizing a survey can mean whether your business grows and flourishes or stays stale and stagnant.

It’s also crucial to take your time with the questions and ask yourself the two questions above to ensure you are not asking too broad or too specific questions.

One of the most powerful resources you have when it comes to improving your product or service is through the eyes of your customers.

After all, they will be the ones that will either become raving fans and refer everyone they know or speak poorly about your brand.

Typically, a happy customer will tell nine people about their experience and nearly double that (16 people) if they have a poor experience.

Utilizing a survey and being open to feedback, whether good or bad, can ensure that your business will grow and flourish.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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