Internet surveys are a simple yet informative way to perform market research. The key to ensuring they are effective is to make sure you are reaching the right audience with the right questions. The following tips can help you create a better internet survey.

Tip #1: Create a Defined Purpose

Each survey should focus on a single purpose. If you want to get better insight into customer service satisfaction and whether a specific product line is satisfactory, create two different surveys. Survey takers can get frustrated with surveys that are all over the place, plus it can be hard to separate out the useful data if you are trying to gather information on too many different things at once.

Tip #2: Make it Short and Simple

Most customers aren't going to give up big chunks of time to complete a survey, so the fewer the questions the better. In fact, some effective surveys may only have one questions: "Are you satisfied with 'X'," followed up with a blank box for the survey taker to expand on their answer. If your survey has more than one question, be upfront and include either a progress bar or say how many questions there will be. Finally, write the questions using language simple enough for a middle school student to understand and avoid long or convoluted sentences.

Tip #3: Go for Multiple Choice

Never ask open ended questions as the main bulk of the survey, since this can make it hard to process the information. Instead, give multiple choice answers so you can quickly categorize the information. If you need more personalized info, include this as an optional "please explain your answer" box. Yes/no or true/false questions can also work well, along with questions that ask survey takers to rank a statement or experience on a 1- to 5 scale – as long as the scale is clearly marked.

Tip #4: Skip or Delay the Demographics

While demographic questions, such as age, gender, and income, can help you classify results, they can also put off survey takers. Leave these questions for last and always provide the option to opt out. This way, you at least have the most useful part of the survey completed.

Tip #5: Offer an Incentive

Surveys take time, so make sure you reward customers and potential customers for taking the survey. This can be as simple as a small discount on their next purchase. In some cases, entry to a prize drawing is also a useful incentive. Just make sure the incentive reflects your business.

Contact a market research report company for more help with crafting a useful survey campaign.