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6 Great Ways to Distribute Your Online Surveys

Use multiple touch points to invite greater customer feedback

Mary Crogan, Senior Business and Marketing Manager, Online Survey

by Mary  Crogan,  Constant Contact Senior Business and Marketing Manager, Online Survey

When you decide to gather feedback from your customers, you want to maximize response so you can feel confident in the conclusions you draw from the results. So how do you get your online surveys in front of as many people as possible?

If you're only using one or two methods to distribute your surveys, you may be missing out on opportunities to gather even more customer feedback. The best way to maximize response is to use multiple touch points to ask for survey participation.

Think about all the ways you interact and communicate with your customers, clients, or members. Those online and offline outlets are all opportunities to ask for feedback. Here are six ways to promote your survey and maximize response.

1. Put a Link on Your Website
Your website is a natural place to post a link to your online survey. Put the survey link on your homepage in a prominent place. Add another link to confirmation webpages, such as your newsletter sign-up page or event registration page. Any high-traffic area is a good place to ask web visitors for their opinions.

But don't just post your survey links; make sure they stand out. If you have a text-heavy website, consider a small graphic to draw visitors' attention to your survey requests. Consider adding an incentive (like 20% off a future purchase or a free t-shirt) to make taking the time to fill out the survey more worthwhile.

2. Send a Survey Invitation
A survey invitation is a short email that tells customers what kind of information you're seeking and what you plan to do with it (e.g., "Your responses will help us improve our customer service; we'll share the results in a future email newsletter"). In this email, which should be separate from your regular email marketing messages, tell customers what they can expect and give a deadline for their participation (e.g., "These five questions should only take a minute to complete. We'd appreciate your participation by August 1").

Your survey invitation should match the appearance of your other email communications, with the same logo, colors, and graphics. Keep the tone friendly and sincere -- reminding survey takers that your business or organization wants to know what they need and expect from you. (Click here to learn more about writing survey invites that get results.)

3. Ask After a Sale or Service Transaction, or a Donation
Immediately following a purchase or a service transaction, or after you've received an online donation, is an optimal time to ask for feedback. To do this, include a survey link in transaction confirmation pages. Business owners with physical stores may have a survey invitation print out automatically on the cash register receipt. Or, if you're not set up to do that, simply staple a paper survey invitation to the customer's receipt.

4. Include a Link in Your Email Newsletters and Other Communications
Like your website, your email newsletter is another practical place to include a link to your survey page. Your newsletter is the perfect vehicle to discuss happenings in your field and what's most important to your customers, and to invite them to share what's on their minds so that you can better serve them. You can also include a survey link in the footer of your other email marketing communications, or in the signature that appears at the bottom of every email you send.

5. Put a Link on Your Blog and Social Media Sites
The social media phenomenon can't be ignored. If you've built up a fan base on Facebook or have followers on Twitter, invite those social networkers to take your online survey. They're obviously interested in you -- show them you're interested in them as well. Bloggers can get a better read on issues affecting their readers by including a survey link in blog entries. Then they can post something about the results after the survey has closed.

6. Include in Printed Collateral Materials
If you use direct mail, brochures, flyers, and other printed pieces to promote your business, those are all good places to include a web address directing recipients to your online survey. If you're at a trade show handing out fact sheets, promotional information, or other leave-behinds, include a card that invites prospects to tell you about their business needs and directs them to your website/survey.

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