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Survey Tips from Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson offers us twelve tips on crafting market surveys:
  1. Define the survey's purpose
  2. Keep it short and sweet
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Save demographic questions for last
  5. Keep it specific
  6. Make it consistent
  7. Follow logic
  8. Do a test
  9. Avoid weekends
  10. Send reminders
  11. Entice
  12. Share
Overall, sound advice. I don't completely agree with Henderson about open-ended questions, however:
If you are conducting surveys of large audiences, don't ask open-ended questions that will give you a wide range of answers. That will make it difficult to analyze the results. Questions should be either yes/no or multiple choice.
At Cauvin, Inc., we developed and use our own survey analysis tool that makes it easy to analyze the responses to open-ended questions and correlate them with the answers respondents give to other questions in the survey.

Another tip you need to apply carefully is offering enticements to respondents:

Give your customers a good reason to answer your survey. Offer them a discount or give them a gift certificate. You're asking them to do you a favor, so show your appreciation. Make sure the incentive is somewhat relevant to the customer's interests. You wouldn't give away an extreme-sports vacation to someone who would rather watch them on TV.
The enticement will appeal to certain types of respondents more than others, thereby biasing results. You may think you have a thorough enough understanding of the potential respondents to know that the enticement won't cause significant bias. But then why bother even conducting a survey?

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