Plan Ahead Before Building a Survey

Survey Tips
September 17, 2020

By Cameron Settle

When building your survey it’s important to lay out a clear process before you start. Begin by asking:

  • What information am I looking to collect? 
  • How will I be distributing my survey? 
  • How long will the survey remain live?  
  • How do I want to use the data I collect? 

These questions will help you collect the right feedback to address the questions you need answered. Let’s look at each one in more detail.  

What information am I looking to collect?  

What will you need once your survey is finished? Will you need the respondent’s name, email, or contact information? Often, people assume that contact data is automatically collected. However, this information is not available unless there is a question in the survey that asks for it. If you’re using our Email Campaign feature this can be pre-filled via the contact information.  

TIP: Visit our documentation regarding Question Types, this will help you learn what each question type is used for, along with its relevant documentation to learn its limitations and reporting possibilities.  

A Guide To Question Types 

How will I be distributing the survey?  

There are numerous ways you can distribute your survey. It’s best to plan this early on so that you can properly prepare your survey for distribution. Some of the ways you can share your survey are: 
Share a Link to your Survey 

Share Survey via Email 

Embed Survey On Your Website 

TIP: Did you know you can use the Alchemer email campaign feature to generate unique links for you to use in external email systems such as MailChimp? Our tutorial for this can be found below! 

Unique Links In MailChimp 

This is a vital follow-up question to knowing what information you want to collect. When using the Email Campaign feature you can fill out the contact information you have for your respondents to pre-populate the survey and to use in reporting tools.  

If you already have their first and last name, but need their correct mailing address, you can prepare your survey so that they can verify the information and update if needed.  

Using Data About Your Contacts in Invite Messages and Surveys 

How long will the survey remain live?  

If you’re sending your survey via email campaign, plan your reminder emails to give people a deadline. Determine whether you’d like to have your survey automatically close by setting a link close date!  

Schedule a Survey Close Date 

How do you want to use the data you collect? 

This is by far the most essential question you want to ask yourself. Using this question as a blue print for your project will help you ask the right questions and set you up for sharing that data successfully. Good questions to ask yourself are “What do you plan to do with the data?” “What do my clients or I need to see here?” Consider whether you’d like to use Standard Reports or Excel Exports to review your data.  

Standard Reports 

Excel Exports 

What are the key data points you want to ensure you have from every response? Have you tested the results to ensure the data is presented in a way you need it to? This is where it’s best to familiarize yourself with reporting limitations of questions. In the earlier documentation referencing Question Types, each respective document has its limitations listed.  

On the right hand side, refer to the “Limitations” or “Reporting”, “Exporting” sections to learn about that question type.  

Test, Test, Test! 

Ensure you’ve tested your survey thoroughly. Have you set important questions to be required? Do your logic conditions, if used, function as you intended? Manually testing your survey is highly important, however, another excellent feature you can use to test the data your survey will gather is via generating test responses. Use this feature if you need to simulate data so that you can view your reports and know in advance what to expect.  

Generating Test Responses 

You can access all support documentation via the following page: Alchemer Help & Community 

If you have any questions about the features mentioned in this article, please reach out to our support team. How to contact support 

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