How to Conduct Survey Research in Five Steps

Conducting survey research may seem like a simple task, but when it’s not done correctly, it wastes time and money.

That’s why it’s important to conduct survey research that will provide high quality, valuable information. The information extracted from the survey can be used as a data source for your company, establish you as a credible expert in your field and improve future projects. Survey research allows you to identify problems in your field, test messages and products, and execute what you learn.

5 Simple Steps for Conducting Survey Research

  1. Identify the audience. The research done before conducting a survey is crucial to the survey’s success. If you’re trying to sell a product to the wrong audience or not asking the right questions, you won’t get the results you need. If you have a specific audience in mind, the survey can be tailored to get the answers you need to know. It’s also important to look for surveys that have previously been done and are similar to the one you’re pursuing so you can be unique and provide an interesting angle for a reporter that may cover your data.
  2. Find a survey provider. Surveys are a useful tool that can be relatively inexpensive, depending on what you want to accomplish and the provider you choose. At Walker Sands, we use a combination of survey providers, depending on what’s best for our client. Survey Monkey is a very cost-efficient, general provider. Forrester Research is more credible, but is also much more expensive. Likewise, a general audience is less expensive than gearing a survey toward IT managers at Fortune 500 companies. We can help tailor your survey to get the results you want with a provider you can afford.
  3. Conduct the survey. When it comes to the length of a survey, short and sweet is best. Be sure to exhaust every possible choice to the question you’re asking to get the most rewarding results. The moment you send your survey also impacts the results. If you send a survey to IT managers at 9 p.m. on Sunday, they’re less likely to respond after the flood of emails Monday morning. Send it another day of the week during business hours to generate more responses.
  4. Create context for the survey. You have the data, now what should you do with it? It’s important to have target publications in mind before you conduct the survey. Where do you want your results to be published? Who do you want to share them with? It also helps to compile the data into a chart or infographic. That makes the reporter’s job easier and increases the likelihood that they will use your data in their publication.
  5. Evaluate your research. Case studies allow you to revisit the efficiency of a survey. Did it solve the problem proposed at the beginning of the survey? Is it detailed enough to make an impression on the industry? When you answer these questions, you can track how often your research is shared and where. This allows you to improve how you conduct future surveys, change your message or even start over with a completely new survey.

When survey research is conducted efficiently, the results can garner traffic to your website, lead to placements and build your company’s reputation. It can also help you mold your PR plan. There’s a lot that goes into data research—allow Walker Sands to guide you through the process. Our 2014 Future of Retail Study provided a comprehensive understanding of consumer shopping behaviors. This survey of more than 1,000 U.S. customers showed what consumer trends to anticipate in 2014 and beyond. Call us at (312) 267-0066 and we can hone in on key findings to help your company today.

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