Surveys for Business: How to Identify the One You Need

Philip Cleave
August 20, 2019

With a wide range of survey types and distribution channels to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. It can also be a challenge trying to identify the right mix to best meet the way your business operates, the audience you are trying to reach and the results you are hoping to achieve.

So, to help you, we’ve outlined a few suggestions and business scenarios below.

Five surveys for business you may want to consider

1) Offline surveys

Whether you are a door to door charity fundraiser, a salesperson on the road, or find yourself running a business event in the countryside; there could be many times when you find yourself in a more remote area needing to collect information, but with little or no internet access. In such a scenario the offline surveys and forms come into their own, ensuring you don’t miss out and are able to keep collecting feedback from participants when their thoughts are still fresh in their minds.

Many providers offer offline collection options, but often require you to download a separate app. This can be frustrating as you need to ensure all your team members have the apps installed. You also run the added risk of storing data in both an app and with your survey provider.

With SmartSurvey’s offline solution no additional app is required. You simply create your online survey as usual, enable it for offline collection and then load the web link once on your mobile device or laptop. You can then immediately start gathering and storing data in offline mode with no internet connection. Then once you are re-connected to the internet, you can simply upload your responses.

Offline surveys are a fantastic way to not only collect customers’ feedback, but also to digitize paper based processes. There is often friction around digitizing paper forms with concerns over patchy internet connection. However this scenario is completely mitigated with an offline solution, enabling you to seamlessly capture data and deliver a smooth hassle free experience when interacting with customers. Find out more about this service on our offline survey tools page.

2) Email:

This tried and tested channel is low cost and one of the most popular survey distribution methods due to its ability to deliver a highly personalized and engaging experience. If you don’t have an email service provider (ESP) you can use our built in email survey tool enabling you to connect with your respondents at scale. You can create personalized templates, multiple contact lists and easily set up tracking metrics to understand performance.

If you have a preferred ESP, or Marketing Automation platform you can also use that to deliver your surveys. These dedicated platforms offer more powerful features that can help you to increase response rates.

  • Improve your open rates by split testing subject lines
  • Enhance click through rates by split testing layout and designs
  • Segment and resend the survey invite to contacts that haven’t opened
  • Segment contacts that haven’t opened and try engaging them through a different channel or try a different subject line or design.

3) Website pop up surveys:

If your business has more of a digital focus such as e-commerce, web pop up surveys offer one of the most convenient, quickest and cost-effective ways of gathering the views of your customers – prompting them to participate when they visit or leave your site.

Strategically placing pop ups in different areas of your website can enable you to capture a multitude of information about visitors’ website experience and how it is performing and peoples’ views about your company. Pop up questions ranging from ‘is there anything missing on this page’ and ‘how did you first hear about us’ to ‘how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague’ can provide a good starting point.

4) SMS:

If you have been struggling to reach respondents using email, have you considered an alternative channel such as using SMS surveys?

Inboxes can be crowded places these days and it can difficult to get your survey to cut through the noise. So, when you need feedback in the moment SMS is a fantastic channel. The beauty of delivering your survey invite via SMS is that most people generally tend to check their text messages more regularly than their emails. Airlines often use SMS timed to send when a flight lands. They know every passenger will take their phone off flight mode, making it the perfect time to send a flight experience survey, which many will complete whilst they are waiting to get off the plane. From airlines to restaurants and hotels, SMS makes it easy to capture your customers experience whilst it’s fresh in their minds.

5) Multiple survey channels

If you are still unsure about what survey type and distribution channel could work best for you, varying your tracking links for different audiences can help you to identify the best performing channel.

Given the continually evolving technology landscape, there is a consensus that different age groups tend to respond better to different survey distribution methods. For example, younger people tend to prefer engaging on social media, so if you are looking to collect feedback from this demographic promoting your survey via different social media platforms could prove to be extremely effective. By creating a unique tracking link for each channel you can quickly understand which social media channel is most effective.

If you are looking to engage with a broader demographic you may want to use a wider range of channels. By creating a unique tracking link for each channel you can distribute via SMS, email, web pop ups, QR codes and multiple social channels and quickly identify which channel yields the best results. For more information on how to set up multiple tracking links, take a look at our using tracking links guide.

While there are no fixed rules about exactly what survey type and distribution channel you should be using, thinking about how your business operates and your recipients’ demographics and preferences will definitely make this clearer. And by making your survey more relevant and engaging to your audience, you will be more likely to get the results your business needs.


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