Brand strength survey: distribute your survey

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In previous posts, I talked about the right questions to ask in a brand strength survey, and why you should use your existing lists of email contacts to conduct the survey. Here, I’ll explain how to put your questions and lists together into a survey using SurveyMonkey.

SurveyMonkey offers a free version which is suitable for very small surveys–10 questions and 100 responses per survey. For a meaningful brand strength survey, you’ll likely need the $17 / month version, which is still a bargain in the world of market research.

SurveyMonkey is extremely easy to use for turning your written questions into interactive questions. You can choose single- and multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions, tables, and more. Don’t forget opening and closing pages to introduce your recipients to your survey, thank them for their participation, and offer additional information about your organization or project.

Uploading your lists to SurveyMonkey is also easy. SurveyMonkey lets you upload Microsoft Excel worksheets, .CSV files, or plain text files.

(SurveyMonkey offers good and extensive online help–use it to learn the particulars of the program.)

One of the most powerful features of SurveyMonkey, and one that it takes a moment to comprehend, is collectors. A collector is a method for distributing your survey and gathering responses. SurveyMonkey offers collectors for web links, emailed surveys, Facebook posts, and for surveys on your website.

Here’s a way to visualize collectors. Imagine you run a market research company and are conducting a survey for a client. You might send out that client’s survey by paper mail and email. You might also do phone surveys and have people with clipboards at grocery stores interviewing people. Each one of those methods is a collector.

Collectors in SurveyMonkey give you a lot of options and flexibility:

  • Using different collectors for different distribution methods let you measure how well each method worked in generating responses to your survey.
  • Responses to a survey sent through a collector are stored with that collector. You can later analysis each collector’s responses separately, or gather the responses from all your collectors into one spreadsheet (which I’ll talk about in a future post).
  • Using multiple email collectors lets you test and use different email subject lines. If you have a large enough list, you can use a small portion of that list to test email subject lines to see which lines are most successful at getting recipients to respond. If you have multiple audiences taking a survey and want to vary subject lines, use different email collectors.
  • You can schedule email collectors to send surveys at a specific date and time, so you don’t have to be at your computer to push the Send button.
  • Email collectors offer reminder emails to those who don’t initially respond. You can schedule when reminder emails are sent.

Bear in mind that SurveyMonkey limits you to sending 10,000 email surveys per day. This reduces the likelihood of your survey being flagged as spam.

Since email survey distribution can be complex, let me give you an example.

Once I conducted a brand strength survey to a list of 44,000 email addresses. With a group that big, I wanted to make sure my email subject line was effective. I took a random 2% of my total list, divided it among the five subject lines I wanted to try, and sent out a test survey using five different collectors.

Between the five different collectors, I could see the various response rates generated by the email subject lines. I decided to use my top two subject lines for the full survey, sending 60 percent using the best subject line and 40 percent using the second-best line.

I used multiple other collectors to schedule batches of surveys on successive days, using the two different subject lines and keeping the total number of surveys sent per day less than 10,000. I did the same thing for the survey reminder mails.

In total, I needed a little more than two weeks to collect all the survey data. But, I could schedule it all ahead of time. In fact, I spent a few days vacation in Yosemite during the first week that my scheduled SurveyMonkey collectors were working.

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