Online surveys are a quick and effective way to get to know your customers and analyze their feedback. They’re easy to create, and when done right, can give you actionable insights into your audience’s needs. In other words, they help you help them.

Creating an easy and intuitive survey for your customers can help you get the information you need to ensure your brand is providing the things your audience is looking for. The following eight steps will help you create an online survey that builds trust between you and your audience, gets you the data you’re looking for, and helps you improve your brand—leading to a positive experience for both you and those you serve!

1. Keep it short. 

Your respondents are using their valuable time to provide you feedback, so be respectful of that time and use it well. Ensure that you ask the most relevant questions in the shortest amount of time. You’ll get the information you need, and users who take the survey won’t feel like their time was wasted.

2. Ask open-ended questions. 

Open-ended questions encourage respondents to explain their ideas and feedback in a valuable way that can provide more information than a simple one-word answer. Just make sure to keep the questions logical and short enough to keep the user’s attention.

3. Build a baseline. 

Ask the same questions in different forms regularly to create a baseline that you can use to better understand your customers. Having a clear baseline from the beginning allows you to measure data changes over time.

4. Be clear and specific. 

Check your wording carefully so that there’s no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretations of any of the questions. Use clear language and a simple sentence structure that’s easy to read and follow. Avoid questions with too many sections that can lead to confusion. Accessibility is important; make the process easy for your end-user.

5. Be honest and direct with your questions. 

Only ask questions that are relevant and will elicit targeted information. Building trust is an important component of any organization, and a survey is a great way to do that. Be careful to watch your wording and ensure you’re not implying your point of view in any way through subtle language. The best online surveys are unbiased and yield clear data.

6. Ask specific “feeling” questions to test colors.

Test colors for your brand or a specific project by asking users what emotions come up for them when they view different colors or sets of color combinations. Questions you could ask include: What colors come to mind when you think of this word? What emotions do you associate with these specific colors? 

This is an easy way to test out certain colors you’re considering, gauge the sorts of feelings they evoke, and determine whether those emotions fit in with whatever message you’re trying to get across. 

7. Ask questions about different phrases to test messaging.

Asking questions about different words and phrases that people would connect with your brand is a great way to get feedback on general messaging and how your audience views who you are and what you do. One way to do this is by asking, “Which of the following words and phrases would you most associate with (org name)?” You can then include a selection of words below that they can select from.

Additionally, if there’s a specific word in your brand name or tagline that you want to get feedback on, a great question to ask is, “What word(s) come to mind when you think of (specific word)?” This will help you gauge other thoughts or ideas that people associate with that specific word, and might help give you some ideas for other keywords you can use in your messaging. 

You can also have users list out which emotions they associate with a specific word, compare how well different phrases connect to your brand, rate how well a certain name fits into a specific narrative, or what products and services they align with a specific name.

8. Present visuals and A/B tests to get UX feedback.

If you’re trying to test the user interface for a website or app, presenting an A/B test side-by-side for the user in the survey can be a great way to get feedback on which design works best. Whether you’re wondering about layout, navigation, or ease of use, a survey can give you the answers you need to improve your design. This can be as simple as designing two different mock-ups with different layouts or structures and asking users to determine which design appeals to them most, contains the information they’re looking for, or what section they would click on or visit first. 

You can also include a single image of your site or app and ask specific questions about it, like:

  • What do you think this tool/website is for?
  • What would you click on to find (specific item)?
  • Would you know what to do on this specific page, or do you have questions?
  • Does this tool/website remind you of something else you use?
  • What would you change or add to this specific page?

Online surveys don’t need to be daunting. Follow these eight steps to create an online survey that gets you the data you need as you test new ideas—and helps you build stronger relationships with your audience.

And remember: If you’re unsure of something, testing it is more of a guide rather than a rule. You might not always get the answers you’re looking for, but it never hurts to ask!