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Market Research Online Surveys In 6 Easy Steps

Updated: 4 days ago

Market research online surveys in 6 easy steps - a hand using chalk to write the words Take our survey on a black board

Learn how to conduct market research online surveys by following these 6 easy steps to help target audiences or to optimize product or service offerings even on a tight budget from outlining objectives to analysing the results.

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Step 1 - Outline the key objectives

The first step you need to make before you get started with an online survey, is deciding what are the research objectives in defining the purpose for the research that you need answers for. This will help give you a clear picture from what you will gain from it.

In targeting your survey, you will need answers to these types of questions such as whether you need feedback for a website, service or product? Is the information you need of a specific nature or not? Is there particular audience you have in mind? Does the survey need to go out to your current customers or the general public?

Step 2 - Produce a list of questions

There are various types of questions you can use in a survey from closed questions with yes and no type of answers to open ended questions where people can explain in detail in their own words, the reasons why. The preference for most people taking part tends to be multiple choice questions.

The questions you produce need to be simple and clear and avoid any technical terms if you can, otherwise give an explanation of the term used. Due to routing, participants answer the appropriate questions and skip the irrelevant questions based on their previous answers. This makes for shorter survey experience and a better chance of the survey being completed. This is all explained in more detail in How to design a good questionnaire

Step 3 - Inviting people to take part

There are a number of ways to invite people to your survey. Deciding who you would like to take part in the survey, will help you choose the best method to contact potential participants. This could be paying for the use of a panel survey of a specific audience, post your survey on a social media platform and email your current customers or subscribers.

Step 4 - Gather the results

The success of the survey is largely dependent on the number of people you invite who complete the survey, which is also known as the response rate. To increase the chances of completion, you can offer an incentive in the form of a prize, a gift or a donation to charity.

This is often used in panel surveys where participants accumulate points, which can be exchanged for vouchers or cash. Also offering a summary of the survey results for those who complete the survey is another incentive that you can offer.

Step 5 - Analysis of results

It’s best for a visual form of the results in charts and graphs for quick reference of findings in reports. Text from open ended questions can be analysed through grouping of themes, are shown in word clouds or even coded for measurable results (time consuming and expensive).

If you are using a field and tab agency to run a panel survey, you are likely to receive the results in Excel tables unless you have analysis software like SPSS or Q, where you can receive the results in a different file format. The great thing with an online survey is you can see the results in real time through a survey portal to gage where your results are heading.

Step 6 - Producing the report

The last step in carrying out an online survey is to produce the report of your findings to see if you have achieved your research goals in providing the crucial answers to your questions in order for you to take action. The type of insights you can gain from an online survey is customer feedback, the level of customer satisfaction and highlight key areas of influence.

Key take outs

There are a number of ways to do online research whether that’s through secondary sources or carrying out your own market research, the most popular is online surveys using survey platforms like JotForm. This method of online research is quick, easy to carry out and is relatively inexpensive.

The needs of most businesses especially small businesses and independent websites can be met through short and simple online surveys targeting a particular audience. Taking into consideration the technological advancements in the present climate, the business insights gained from online research is invaluable.


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