7 Ridiculously Simple Ways To Brand Your Online Survey

Some DIY Marketers will tell you that it doesn’t matter what your online survey really looks like – people will answer it and you’ll get data and that’s all that matters.  I’m not so sure.

While I wouldn’t go spending thousands on branding and customized templates just to make my survey look good.  I’d want my survey to look professional and match the branding that I have for my organization — wouldn’t you?

What does it mean to “Brand” your survey?

We all may have different definitions of what “Branding” a survey really is.  I’m going to say that “Branding” your survey means that it has a “look and feel” that is clearly defined as your brand.  If you stood 20 people against a wall and asked them who sent the survey — they would say your company name.

So what might they see that would give them the idea that it was from your company?

  1. The logo – Placing your logo in the survey gives a clear message as to which company is sponsoring the survey.  More than anything, your logo will put your respondents in a specific mindset as to how to respond to the survey.  You can easily upload your logo inside your QuestionPro or Survey Analytics platform once – and have it available to use over and over again.
  2. Slogans or taglines – A slogan or tagline can often define a brand more powerfully than the logo.  Insert your slogan or tagline in the header of your survey as a graphic or if it’s keyword rich, you can insert it as text.
  3. The colors – People quickly recognize a brand by the color combinations that you use.  You can easily use a base QuestionPro or Survey Analytics template and then create a branded header that you upload as an image.  Like a coat of paint, it’s a quick and easy way to brandify your online survey with very little effort.
  4. Typography – Fonts are another defining element of a brand.  If you’re using a unique font, be sure to show it prominently in the header art so that your brand shines through – and then use a complementary font for your questions.
  5. The tone of the questions – Brands aren’t just visual, they have a voice.  Be sure that the questions are worded in your brand’s voice.  If your brand is very professional, then it doesn’t make sense to create fun, casual questions with snarky answer options.  Likewise, if your brand is more fun and casual, you will shock your audience by using a formal voice or tone to your survey.
  6. Images and photography – Some brands use illustrations, others use photography and still others have a style to their videos.  Be sure that the design images you use define your brand while still leaving you space to use images and video in your online survey.
  7. Values and purpose – These are can often be forgotten whenever a survey opportunity comes along.  If you’re surveying your customers and they know it’s you — then be careful and mindful about the topic of your survey and see how it meshes with the values, purpose and promise that your brand stands for.  So, if your brand has clearly taken a stance or position as being environmentally conscious – you wouldn’t want to do a branded that puts that position in jeopardy.

To brand or not to brand your survey

While it might be nice to always have a branded survey, it may not always be appropriate.  There are times when you want your respondents to THINK about your brand and times you don’t.

When you customize and brand your survey, your respondent sees that brand and is instantly influenced by what they think and feel about the brand as they answer the questions.  This isn’t always a bad thing.

When doing surveys on customer satisfaction or customer experience, I want them to think about my brand and what they expect from my brand as they answer the questions.  I want them to take their expectations and overlay them on their actual experience and then give me that impression.

If, however, I’m thinking about taking on a position that’s different from what might normally be expected from my brand — for example, say my brand has taken a stand against animal testing and now I’m considering some animal testing.  It might not be a good idea to blast my brand on that survey.  I would want to know what my audience feels about animal testing without being influenced by my brand.

The bottom line is that using a DIY online research tool doesn’t have to look unprofessional.  You can create a high-end customized look to your brand with very little effort or even technical skill.

How to Use Surveys to Generate Leads and Customers at Trade Shows

So, you’re going to a trade show.  That usually involves sitting down and brainstorming ways to bring qualified leads to your booth and converting them into profitable customers.

Here is a quick check list that you can use to make sure that you’re covering all your bases to get the most customer conversations out of your trade show events.

One of the most obvious materials you will need for everything on this list is the trade show web site and list of attendees.  You’ll also want to be sure that you can get either a mailing list of the attendees or that you will be able to reach the attendees via email – either the show gives you this list or you give them the information that you’d like to send.

Focus on your sales and marketing goals.  The very first thing is to define what goals you’re after.  It doesn’t always have to be about gathering leads.   Here are a few sample objectives:

  • Get face to face time with the following clients that we only know via email.  You will need that attendee list or list of companies so that you can see if any of your customers will be there.  If you’re not sure, reach out to the ones that you know from the list.
  • Generate “x” number of qualified leads per day.  For this objective, you will need a clearly defined list of what a qualified customer is. Use your Survey Analytics platform to create a qualifying or profiling survey.  You can also use SurveySwipe to do this and funnel all your visitors into a research panel.
  • Schedule or deliver “x” number of demonstrations.
  • Find out what our biggest competitor will launch next year
Set a theme for the year.  One of my favorite strategies is to set a theme for a series of trade shows.  Find a theme that features what you are selling and combines it with something that’s important to your customers.  If you make your theme unexpected or extreme, people will stop to your booth just to SEE what’s going in.  One company that was in the medical industry chose a 100-yard dash as a theme.  Their trade show booth features HUGE pictures of runners crossing a finish line, their promotional items were running hats and water bottles and their sales message was around a new product that allowed doctors to cross the finish line and meet a medical records deadline for converting to software.  It was a HUGE hit because they were the only exhibitor that didn’t feature pictures of doctors and nurses and hospitals.

Reach out to as many customers before the show.  If you have the time, definitely send out a direct mail piece or invitation to customers or prospects that you want to meet.  Instead of sending thousands of mailings – target just those companies that will help you achieve your marketing goals.

This is a great opportunity to use a survey!  You can create a qualifying survey that gets attendees engaged by asking them qualifying questions that focus on the 5-7 key frustrations that they may have that your product or service can solve.  Think about working the survey questions like a quiz — people LOVE that.

Then, when they answer the last question of the survey and click “Finish” or “Submit” you send them to a customized landing page for the trade show that provides a mini report based on the responses that they might have given to the survey.  This would look like the Quiz answer page in a magazine and say things like “If you answered “c” to question #1 that means that you have the most common issue, be sure to stop at booth #123 and try our wonderful product created just for that problem.

Use Survey Analytics to deliver the survey.  When they complete the survey, use the “Finish Options” to send them to a landing page that goes directly to a special page that you created for that show.

Another idea is to have them PRINT the landing page and bring it to your booth for a prize.

Use the same survey at the booth and profile people who stop in.  After they complete the survey, give them one of your promotional items.  Keep those promotional items hidden and only give them to people who complete your survey.

Use the survey to drive your selling process.  This is ideal for companies who have new or inexperienced people working the booth.  All they have to do is follow the survey and use the survey results as talking points to guide the customer to the call to action — either sale or sale appointment.

Follow up with survey results from the show.  Take the results from the survey and write them up into a report and then share that report with everyone who came to your booth.

Make sure to write that report in a way that takes that prospect or customer through the areas that are important and how your product or service solves the problems that people in the survey had.

Bet you’ve never looked at surveys as a lead generation tool?!  But they really are so effective, so subtle and focused purely on what the customer needs.  Not only that, but the very act of taking customers through surveys at a trade show gives you the opportunity to engage them and gather important data that you can use later.

Successful Survey Tips: Setting Your Survey Up For Success

I’ve been thinking about the “zen” of doing a successful survey.  As with many things, it’s taking the time to perfect specific techniques that ultimately leads to not only high response rates, but high quality feedback that actually means something.

I’ve pulled together a series of  successful survey tips that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few days.  Take those in and why not add your own successful survey tips.  When the series closes, I’ll include your tips and put out a best practices list!

As I was thinking about this series, it dawned on me that none of these tips are actually new.  Yet, it’s our skill at implementing each of these elements that ultimately determines our success.  The next thing that popped into my mind was the “Wax on, Wax off” scene from the “Karate Kid” and how the learning to do basic mundane actions can yield winning results.  Enjoy.

  • Focus on what decision you’re making. This is a twist on setting a survey objective.  Often the reason we do surveys or gather feedback is to collect data so that we can make a decision.  State the decision that you are making and include the criteria of the decision.  For example, “Should we launch product X?”  You might say that if more than 100 people are very likely to purchase product X at price Y, then you will go forward.  This puts a laser focus on the questions that you will include in the survey.
  • Use an invitation with well written subject that grabs the respondent’s attention.  It’s no secret that respondents are focused on what’s important to THEM and not you.  Write your invitation in a way that points out the potential benefits to the respondents in filling out the survey.  The invitation is actually a PR opportunity for you to communicate to your respondents that you are engaged in creating a product or service that will benefit them.  It’s an opportunity to differentiate your organization from others and highlight some potential improvements that your competition may not be offering it.  Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
  • Use an introduction that makes the respondent feel important. Just because you’ve sent an invitation doesn’t mean that you should ignore the introduction to the survey.  Today’s respondents want to know what you’re up to.  Use the introduction to the survey as an opportunity to make them part of your team and include them in the development of something new and beneficial that will bring them value.  This will put them in a mindset to provide honest and valuable feedback.

What are your successful survey tips BEFORE the survey even starts?

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What Type of Survey is Best?

So, someone in your office says, “We should do a survey?”

First, there should be clarity on the survey goals.  A survey is a snapshot of public awareness levels and attitudes in the present moment.

Random Sample – Public Opinion/Attitude Survey

When an agency needs reliable, projectable data about the attitudes and opinions of its citizens, or a select group of its citizens, it is essential to conduct a valid, random sample survey.  Telephone interview surveys are considerably more common than in-person interviews because they are far less expensive to conduct and tend to be widely accepted as an information-gathering tool.  There is a margin of error, based upon the size of the sample (generally, a minimum sample of 200 is the industry standard for reliable data about any population segment).  Overall, random sample telephone interview surveys provide reasonably accurate information about the population from which the sample is drawn.

While there is a statistical margin of error (the sample of 200 provides an error range of +/- 7% with a 95% confidence), this type of survey is the most democratic process there is, and the most reliable, for learning about the opinions of an entire community.

A random sample survey is not appropriate for educating people about an issue or trying to assess what people will do at some future point (i.e., “Will you vote for this bond issue?”).  But, the results do provide a reasonably accurate portrait of the person’s opinions in the present moment (i.e., a person’s feelings or attitudes about the issues relating to the need for approving a bond).   Questions asked in the past and present tense provide a reasonable degree of accuracy about a person’s usage and habit patterns.

Self-Selected Survey – Newspapers, mail, Internet, written questionnaires

When an agency has a political need to create a survey process that allows anyone who is interested to respond, it can do a self-selected process.  A written survey can be distributed in public locations, such as the City Hall or Library, mailed directly, e-mailed or published in the city newsletter or the local newspaper.

When reporting data from a self-selected survey, it is important to begin with the understanding and the language, “Of those who chose to respond…..”  Most often, those who volunteer to respond to a self-selected survey have a strong opinion (frequently negative) about the issue being discussed.

A self-selected survey, however, can be an excellent public relations tool and a good way of giving information to the public.  But, extreme caution must be exercised in drawing any conclusion about what the public, in general, thinks based upon the results from a survey when the respondents are volunteers.

About the Author: Carolyn Browne Associates (CBA) has been a successful consulting firm in the Seattle area for over 25 years and specializes in community involvement programs, marketing research, facilitation, promotion and community education projects for a broad range of public agencies and private clients. Carolyn Browne Tamler, principal of CBA, has managed comprehensive programs with special focus on city planning, public transit, environmental issues and public works projects. She is also a fine researcher and freelance writer.  You can also learn more at www.envisionyourfuture.biz.

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How to Develop Survey Questions That Help You Make Good Decisions

I’ve been involved in a back and forth with a client around creating survey questions that measure the effectiveness of a team. I was most concerned about the nature and the quality of the questions that we would ask.  We all know the old saying “Garbage in. Garbage out.”  And this is certainly true as it relates to constructing good survey questions.

QuestionPro already gives us many options and question types to choose from.  But if you’re not asking the right questions, you’re not going to get actionable results.

The most basic reason we conduct surveys is to help us make decisions.   In fact, surveys aren’t just used for marketing decisions.  They are often most useful for making improvements in our operations.

How to Know If Your Question Will Yield Actionable Results?

The best way to test your questions for good results is to literally run your survey internally as a test and ask people to answer the questions.  Then look at your results.

Gather a small team in the room and set your objective as reviewing the test results for specific action items.

For example:

“We received a score of 6.7 out of 10 as a response to “Overall, how would you rate the training you received?”  Our objective is to raise this score to an 8 out of 10.  What are some specific action items we could do to improve this score?”

Chances are your team may take in this information and come up with more questions such as:

  • Which aspects of the training were rated low?
  • Which aspects were rated high?
  • What specific parts of the training drive the respondents’ experience?  Is it the trainer, the materials, the exercises, the venue?

If your group is tasked with coming up with specific changes to drive improvement, and they are asking these kinds of questions — then the original survey question is too broad.

The good news is that the questions you’re asking yourselves in order to come up with actions that will drive your score up are the key to creating more specific questions that will help you take action.

Focus on What Decision You’re Making And The Objectives

What is the objective of your survey and what decisions will you make with the results?  Are you looking for ways to improve your training process and system so that your trainees retain more information?   In that case, you can focus the question on your respondents’ ability to actually do a specific task.

With that in mind, you can create a more focused question such as:

“After completing the training, I can process an online order easily”

This question is focused on the area of online order processing.  If you get a low rating, your team will know to focus on that specific area for improvement.

Managing Survey Length

The downside of focused questions is that they tend to proliferate and make your survey too long.   This is why it’s critical to be clear about how you will use the survey to help you make decisions.  It’s worth the time and effort to discuss and come to agreement on what decision you are making and what information you will need to make that decision.  That alone, will eliminate those “nice to know” questions that yield interesting results, but really don’t help you make improvements.

Developing a Survey Strategy

If you’re using your survey results to make decisions, and you don’t want to overwhelm your respondents with a long survey.  The best thing to do is develop a survey plan.

  1. Identify the decision that you are making
  2. Identify the data you will need to support your decision
  3. Develop survey objectives around your decision
  4. Create ALL the questions that will give you the information that you need.
  5. Break those questions out into separate surveys that your respondents can take at different stages of the process.

Focusing your surveys on decisions and actionable steps that you can take will not only yield better results, it will make your team more efficient and your respondents more responsive because they can see their feedback in action.

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