One of the key factors in a successful business is to know what your customers or clients are thinking - about your business, your products, your services. As a business owner, you'll get feedback from your current customers just in the course of day-to-day business. But the results can be skewed by the interaction itself, and so most business owners find it useful to allow their customers to answer questions anonymously. And that's where surveys come in.
Some businesses hire market research firms to survey their customers or target customers. For new or smaller businesses, this can be an expensive proposition, and it's helpful to have a set of resources in your tool box that offer the option of conducting your own surveys. Here are some great online resources you can use for surveys.
They range from the simplest polls which you can create and place on your web site to much more elaborate options. Many of them allow the survey respondents to see the results from themselves and others as soon as they complete the survey. Some of these companies offer a set of services for free as well as more powerful paid services; others offer free 30-day trials of their most robust services. Some are geared towards smaller businesses, other towards large enterprises with thousands of employees. There's also a wide range of continuum between letting you design and add your own surveys to your web site, versus having them create a survey, find your target market, query them, and report back the results.
1. SurveyMonkey - If you have a large mailing list or want to send a lot of surveys, the best deal here is the professional subscription. For $19.95 month, you can send an unlimited number of surveys and receive up to 1000 responses per month.
2. Zoomerang - I love their slogan, "Easiest way to ask, fastest way to know." Offers a basic product (free) plus paid packages geared to education, non-profit, and a professional version, which can send surveys in several languages, and has no limit on the number of responses you can receive.
3. SnapPoll - Simple site which offers you an easy way to put a one-question survey on your web site and receive results. Requires no sign-up, allows you to customize colors for the form, and prevent multiple "votes" from the same person. Free - supported by what they call "non-obtrusive advertising."
4. PHP Form Generator - This is a free survey generator that is written as open source code. You can choose as many questions as you'd like - in any format - check, text, drop-downs, etc.) You do have to create your own stats, but it's a fairly simple procedure for small surveys.
5. OneMinutePoll - Software - available at a yearly subscription price - that teaches you how to write surveys correctly to find out what your customers want, so you can provide it to them! Software automates your polls, generates code for your web page, and allows you to see results in real-time.
6. Advanced Survey - Free and paid services that offer both web page surveys and email surveys (where you invite participants - via email - to take a survey). You can ask multiple questions in one survey, and can ask yes/no questions, open-ended text questions, customizable number scales (Pick a number from 1 to 10 with 10 being best, for example), and multiple choice.
7. Question Pro - Very sophisticated system for surveying customers. Has predesigned templates for common surveys: Customer Satisfaction, New Product/Concept Testing, Product Surveys, Conference Feedback, and more. These surveys can also be designed with "branching," where the answer to one question is used in a subsequent question. No free options here, but there is a 30-day free trial.
8. Relevant Tools - This company offers custom web forms with automatic email response for as little as $10/month for a basic membership, which includes up to 500 database records and up to 500 email messages/month.
9. HotScripts - A great resource for programmers and webmasters. It has a host of scripts in various programming languages and is constantly being updated by programmers from around the world. If you search on "surveys," you'll find lots of scripts in lots of programming languages you can use.
10.NetReflector - Offers a very sophisticated self-serve solution for the do-it-yourselfer, and assisted and automated solutions for companies who need to survey customers and/or employees worldwide on a regular basis. Offers webinars, articles, and other resources on creating the invitation, the importance of regular surveys, and using online technologies for surveys.
So whether you're querying current clients and customers, a potential target market, vendors, or employees, these online surveys can provide valuable tools for smart business owners. You can set up and monitor your surveys or pay someone to do it for you, but online surveys are a great way for you to gain information. The results may surprise you, or send you in a new direction you hadn't thought of. But one thing's for sure; if you don't ask your customers, clients, or employees, they probably won't tell!
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©2005 Maria Marsala, former Wall Street Trader. We help women CEOs and Presidents run more effective and efficient businesses while positioning themselves to achieve financial/personal success. Join "SIMPLE Solutions Ezine" to receive an audio and 2 reports. www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com
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