Why is a Web-based Survey the Best Choice for You?

Hello again dear Internet friends and welcome back to the reality show that is my life.  Before I get started on today’s entry I just wanted to take a moment to further clarify my intent with the series.

I am not an expert on Marketing Research or survey writing, and I won’t be an expert when I’m done. The title of expert requires years and years of study and experience. I’d like to reach that point someday. You are simply witnessing my first steps.

What I’m really hoping is that you, my gentle readers, can learn with me. I imagine at least some of you are almost as clueless as I am. We’re inexperienced in this field and struggling to understand what to do. I’ve taken all the research methods courses required for a MA in sociology, but I’ve never applied what I’ve learned in any meaningful way outside of academia.

I hope some seasoned veterans stop by and chime in to help us all learn. I’d love it if this could be a place where newbies and battle-scarred experts can come to learn together and teach one another. Learning is a joyful thing and I hope you all enjoy this journey as much as I will.  Thanks for taking this ride with me!

So, the cats and I have been busy reading about Marketing research and I estimate we’ve read more than 800 pages by now. It’s interesting stuff. I secretly suspect that my cats are now marketing geniuses, but all they say is “meow” so it’s difficult to be sure.

I just got back from Boulder’s Conference for World Affairs where I saw discussions on Twitter, the Internet, and Television, as well as Mass Transit and the myth of Vampires. If you’re in the Boulder area and into learning and discussion I highly recommend you check it out.

In at least two of the sessions I sat in on they discussed the internet and how it’s changing every single industry. It has certainly changed Marketing Research. There are many different ways to conduct research projects but Web based surveys are the newest. Traditionally the methods used were mail based surveys, face-to-face interviews, and telephone interviews.

Of course each method has its own benefits and detriments so the question becomes; why is an online survey the best method for your particular research?

One of the biggest benefits of online surveys is the speed in which you can receive results.  If you are looking for a quick turn around online surveys are probably the way to go. Keep in mind however that extending the time frame for responses increases the response rate.

Another big benefit is the price.  SurveyGizmo offers a wide range of pricing options so whether you want to do a very limited sample size for free or need to get 1,000,000 responses a month there’s a cost effective plan for you. Generally speaking, web-based surveys are cheaper than phone interviews and much cheaper than mail interviews.

One last major thing to consider is your target and sample size. Where are they located? Are they all over the country? Or located in one geographical area? Web based surveys are particularly well suited for large sample sizes that are spread out. The more responses you require the more cost effective online surveys become.

For example our SurveyGizmo plan provides unlimited responses for only $75 dollars a month. Compare that to the costs and time required to set up and execute a phone based interview and you start to see how cost effective it really can be. Even better SurveyGizmo provides helpful tips, a comprehensive knowledge base, access to experts, and a cool and fun blog to follow, all included in your package.

There are of course many other benefits to online research:

If you need to ask sensitive questions the anonymity of the internet increases the comfort level of respondents and encourages more candid responses.

Web-based surveys allow you to add multimedia such as pictures and videos to help make your survey more visually interesting or help distinguish between options.

Web-based surveys have multiple means of executing contingent questions and avoiding logically inconsistent questions.

Services like SurveyGizmo provide multiple means of reminding potential respondents about the survey such automatic e-mail reminders.

Web-based surveys offer direct data entry reducing the chance of human error when collecting and entering responses.

More than anything, for most people who don’t have a comprehensive background in survey writing or marketing research, web-based surveys in general and SurveyGizmo in particular offer a fun and easy way to dive into the survey writing world and learn while you do it!

Thanks for joing me again friends! Sorry there were no embarrassing candid photos or any wild partying. I’m afraid this is a fairly low-key reality show. Maybe if you’re all good I’ll sneak into the SurveyGizmo offices and try to catch them dancing at their desks or feeding the dog table scraps. See you next time!

Join the Conversation
  • Cameron

    How many years of study EXACTLY are required to be considered an expert?

  • Ali

    My company uses online surveys to receive feedback from our beta testers. Do you work with any other companies that do that?

  • Hi Cameron,
    I’m not sure there is an exact numbers of years of study it takes to become an expert. It’s probably different for everyone. I would say, when someone feels comfortable and knowledgeable enough to call themselves an expert, that’s when they’re an expert. Any input from actual experts on this question would be greatly appreciated.

    Ali – yes, we actually use a survey in-house for continuous feedback. If you go to Version 3 and click on the report a bug link on the right hand side, you’re taken to a SurveyGizmo survey. Also, if you look at the bottom of this page and click on the “Feedback? Problems with this page?” link, it’s also one of our in-house surveys.

    Hope that helps!

  • Jacqy

    I’d like to see some survey questions sometime. And, actually, it’s refreshing to have a low drama reality show, but I miss the cat.

  • The Tim

    One thing that I find really exciting, and under utilized, about on-line surveys is how they can feed into other forms of research. I’ve only convinced the company I’m at to do it once, but we used a full on-line survey as the screener for a study that started out with on-line forums. It worked out very well, as it allowed for far more complex logic than normal qualitative recruiting and it allowed the research to be entirely on-line. Not only was that a better experience for our participants, but it also made more sense for our target.