Surveys are undoubtedly an essential tool for gathering information, insights, and feedback from audiences like customers or employees.
Not only can they help organizations understand their target audiences better but also uncover areas of improvement and opportunities for growth.
But with so many different survey methods available, it’s hard to know which one is most effective. This article will explore the various survey methods and discuss which ones are best suited for different types of surveys.
This post will help to give you a good understanding of the pros and cons of each method of sending out surveys so you’re able to choose the right one for your needs.
Options for Sending Out Surveys
While we might be most familiar with the tradition paper surveys or even an online version, there are actually a number of ways that you can survey a person or group to collect valuable insights.
After all, sending out surveys is just the process of collecting information which can take on multiple formats. In order to find the best option, it’s a good idea to know more about each of them.
1. In-person Interviews
In-person interviews are a survey method where one-on-one conversations are held with respondents. This method is useful for obtaining in-depth insights and understanding the motivations and emotions behind responses.
It can be used to gather qualitative data, such as opinions, attitudes, or feelings that are not easily captured through quantitative methods like questionnaires.
One of the major cons with this method is more time-intensive and requires more effort to analyze the data.
2. Phone Interviews
Phone interviews are similar to in-person interviews but conducted over the phone instead of face-to-face. This technique can be used for both qualitative and quantitative research purposes.
The advantage of this method is that it allows you to reach a wider audience with less effort. However, phone interviews often have lower response rates than other survey methods due to the lack of personal interaction or some having an aversion to speaking to strangers.
3. Online Surveys
Online surveys are one one of the most convenient and cost-effective way to collect data.
They can be distributed quickly via email or web links and allow respondents to complete them at their own pace, making them ideal for short surveys with multiple-choice questions.
This method is great for collecting quantitative data, but can lack the emotional depth of in-person or phone interviews.
4. Paper Surveys
Paper surveys are physical questionnaires that are distributed to respondents and completed by hand.
They provide a more personal touch compared to online surveys, making them ideal for longer and more detailed surveys with open-ended questions. But this approach also requires more resources and time to analyze the data.
5. Panel Surveys
Panel surveys are a type of survey method that involves recruiting a group of people to provide feedback over an extended period of time.
The advantages of using panel surveys include the ability to track changes in opinion over time and collect responses from the same group.
Though keep in mind that this approach can be expensive and difficult to manage due to the need for ongoing recruitment.
6. Mobile Surveys
Mobile surveys are an increasingly popular survey method that leverages the ubiquity of smartphones to reach a wide range of people.
These surveys are often conducted via text message, eliminating the need for respondents to use a computer or other device.
Mobile surveys provide the ability to receive real-time feedback from customers and employees in a convenient, cost-effective way.
Just keep in mind that due to the limited space available for questions and answers, they are best suited for short surveys with multiple-choice questions.
7. Social Media
Social media surveys are surveys conducted on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
They allow organizations to collect feedback and insights from their customers or employees quickly and cost-effectively.
Social media surveys are a great way to get real-time insights from large audiences in an engaging way. These types of surveys provide more detailed qualitative data than other survey methods.
8. Workplace Apps
Workplace apps are becoming increasingly popular as a way to streamline communication and collaboration in the workplace.
With their growing usage, surveys conducted through these app platforms, such as Slack, can also be a great way to collect feedback from employees.
Surveys conducted on workplace apps are often more effective than traditional methods because they allow for fast and convenient communication with employees.
Which Survey Distribution Method Is Best?
The most effective survey method will depend on the type of data you’re looking to collect and your budget. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding how to distribute a survey.
What’s Your Budget?
When it comes to choosing the best survey method for a particular situation, budget can be a major factor.
If you’re working with a limited budget, online surveys and mobile surveys are good options as they both provide cost-effective ways to gather data quickly.
Online surveys allow respondents to complete questionnaires at their own pace and don’t require the same level of resources as other methods.
Mobile surveys are an even more cost-effective option due to their lower overhead costs and convenience.
How Many Responses Do You Need?
The number of responses you need will also help determine the best survey method for your needs. If you’re looking to conduct a large-scale survey, online surveys and paper surveys are both good options.
Online surveys have the advantage of being faster and more convenient for respondents, while paper surveys provide a more personal touch and can be used for longer, more detailed surveys.
If you need smaller amounts of data or real-time feedback, mobile surveys may be the best choice due to their cost-efficiency and convenience.
What Type of Data Do You Need?
Depending on the nature of your survey, the data you’re able to mine may be the most important thing. By reflecting on the hopeful outcome, including whether you need qualitative or quantitative data for success, can be a good starting point.
When you’re looking to gather qualitative information, such as opinions and feelings, in-person interviews or phone interviews may be the most effective methods.
Online surveys and paper surveys are better suited for quantitative research purposes, such as gathering demographic information or collecting responses to multiple-choice questions.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Time is also a major factor when choosing the best survey method.
When working with tight deadlines, online surveys and mobile surveys are both good options as they can be distributed quickly and don’t require extensive analysis to interpret the data.
Phone interviews and in-person interviews take more time due to the need for one-on-one conversations with respondents, while panel surveys require ongoing recruitment and management.
What’s the Nature of Your Business?
The type of business you’re in will also play a role in determining which survey method is most effective.
For example, if you’re looking to get feedback from customers or employees on a regular basis, panel surveys and social media surveys are good options.
These methods both allow you to track changes in opinion over time and collect more detailed qualitative data than other survey methods.
If you’re analog old-school business, using methods like social media may not be right for your customer base.
How Much Energy Do You Want to Invest?
The amount of energy a company is willing to invest in the survey process will ultimately determine which survey method is most effective.
The more energy and resources put into the survey, the more successful it will be.
For example, if a company wants to conduct an in-person or phone interview, they’ll need to spend time recruiting participants and training their staff, while an online survey requires less energy and resources.
Tips for Maximizing Response Rates
No matter which survey method you choose, there are a few steps you can take to maximize response rates and ensure that your data is accurate and reliable. Below are just a few tips for getting the most out of your surveys.
1. Create an Engaging Survey
Creating an engaging survey is essential for obtaining reliable, accurate feedback from respondents. An engaging survey will motivate participants to complete the survey in full and provide thoughtfully considered answers.
This can be accomplished by utilizing a conversational tone, personalizing the questions, and including relevant images or videos when appropriate.
Providing clear instructions and using simple language can help ensure that participants understand what you’re asking them.
2. Allow for Flexible Responses
Giving participants the ability to provide open-ended responses is another way to maximize response rates and the depth of data collected.
Open-ended questions, or a mix of questions, allows respondents to share their thoughts in an unrestricted manner, providing valuable insights into how they perceive and interact with your brand.
It can also be helpful to give participants the option of responding anonymously can help to increase response rates and ensure honest feedback.
Additional Reading: Anonymity in Surveys: Why It Matters and How It Helps
3. Incentivize Participation
Offering incentives for completing surveys is a great way to boost response rates. This could include anything from discounts or coupons to free products or services.
However, it’s important to make sure that the incentive you offer is appropriate for your target audience and within your budget.
The last thing you want is to overextend your budget and be at a loss if the responses are not equal to the money spent.
4. Send Out Nudges
Being proactive or having a plan for sending out reminder emails or notifications can be a great way to increase response rates.
This is especially true if you’re using an online survey platform that allows for automated reminders.
Nudging respondents with friendly reminders can help your survey to not get lost in the shuffle and maximize response rates.
5. Stress the Importance of Participation
If you want to garner more results, it may be as easy as stressing the importance of participation and making respondents aware that their feedback is valued.
This can be achieved by clearly explaining why you’re conducting the survey and how the data will be used.
Always be sure to thank participants for their time and providing them with a summary of findings once the survey is complete can help to boost response rates.
When it comes to choosing the right survey method for your needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Different methods work better in different scenarios and it’s important to consider factors such as budget constraints, required data type, and response rate when deciding on a survey approach.
With that said, leveraging some of the tips we discussed can help maximize response rates regardless of which method you choose.
Ultimately, picking the best survey method depends on what works best for you and your organization’s goals.
Need to run an online survey? Try our free online survey builder and start collecting insights today!
Q: What is the most effective survey method?
A: The most effective survey method will depend on the type of data you’re looking to collect and your budget. Online surveys allow respondents to complete questionnaires at their own pace and don’t require the same level of resources as other methods, while mobile surveys are an even more cost-effective option due to their lower overhead costs and convenience.
Q: What type of survey is best for quantitative research?
A: Online surveys and paper surveys are both well-suited for quantitative research purposes, such as collecting demographic information or responses to multiple-choice questions. In-person interviews and phone interviews, on the other hand, are better suited for qualitative data collection.
Q: What should I consider when deciding on a survey method?
A: When deciding which survey method is best, you should consider factors such as budget constraints, required data type, and response rate. Always take into account how much time and resources will be needed to complete the survey.
Q: How can I make sure my survey data is accurate and reliable?
A: To ensure that your survey data is accurate and reliable, it’s important to create an engaging survey with clear instructions, provide flexible responses, and offer incentives for participation. Making the entire survey anonymous or providing an option for anonymity can also be helpful to increase response rates and honesty in responses.