Survey Ideas: Make Better Business Decisions [Real Examples]

Information is power. And I mean verified information, not assumptions. Too frequently we base our decisions on our own beliefs, which lead to mistakes. We think about what We like and what WE would do, but the truth is, it doesn’t work this way. You need to understand your customers. Surveys are your rescue!

survey ideas, post image

Why you need surveys?

People are different – including your customers, prospects, and leads; they don’t think exactly the same way you do (shame). A business strategy is usually built around a set of hypotheses, some of which will be valid, while others will be erroneous.

So how do you figure out what your customers/leads/readers what? You can ask them in a survey – plain and simple.

In case you’re new to the survey world, let’s begin with a short survey definition:

What are surveys?

A survey is a research method used to collecting feedback from a pre-defined group of respondents. It can cover a variety of topics and include different question types.

If you’re interested in learning more about survey’s benefits and best practices, then check out this article.

It’s common knowledge that surveys are an unbeatable way to quickly validate hypotheses about your audience. Sometimes they’ll validate your theories and give you proof that where you wanted to take your business next was spot on.

But that’s not always how it is, right?

Sometimes, you’ll just rub your eyes in disbelief and will find yourself shocked about the misconceptions entire teams have been building their workaround.

But hey, there’s actually a silver lining to such pivot-worthy discoveries.

You will no longer keep wasting time and resources on wrong concepts about your clients and leads.

So, if this sounds all too familiar, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take a look at these 10 creative surveys ideas

10 Creative survey ideas

Here are 10 creative survey ideas that you can draw inspiration from to make better business decisions.

1. To decide what content to produce

If you run a blog then you realize how difficult it is to continuously come up with content ideas. Especially knowing your readers might be interested in different topics. Therefore, it’s a good idea to run a short survey asking: What topic would you like to learn about.

You can either send it via email to your subscribers and/or run a web survey asking your visitors to state their preference.

Free-to-Use Content Preferences Survey Template

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Use a closed-ended question with a few article topics listed (this should result in a higher response rate), or use an open-ended question if you need fresh ideas.

2. To check if the article you wrote was helpful

So you published a new article, and you think it’s AWESOME! Good for you, it’s important to be proud of your work but it’s worth double-checking if your readers agree. After all, you’re not writing for yourself 🙂

You can use a rating question, to let your readers rate your article on a scale, or include a simple YES or NO. Target it at visitors who scrolled to the bottom of the page or on exit intent.

Free-to-Use Content Rating Survey Template

No Credit Card Required • Cancel Any Time

3. To ask your newsletter subscribers how often they want to hear from you

If you have a newsletter, then another good survey idea is asking your subscribers about their preferred communication frequency. If you email them too often, they’ll unsubscribe, if you email them too rarely, they might forget about you.

Free-to-Use Newsletter Feedback Survey Template

No Credit Card Required • Cancel Any Time

You can embed the survey in your subscription confirmation email, just remember to integrate it with your marketing automation platform.

4. To evaluate your product or a new feature

It’s good practice to regularly check if your customers are satisfied with your product. It will allow you to address any issues before they escalate. You can use a Net Promoter Score (NPS) for product/feature evaluations to get a broader overview of how happy your customers are with your product.

However, if you want to get more detailed insights then asking a few closed-ended questions or an open-ended one will be more beneficial.

rate product survey question for survey ideas

5. To find out if your website lacks any info

Your website can be a great lead generation tool provided it contains information relevant for your prospects. Otherwise, they will bounce off your page.

You can use a website survey asking if your visitor found everything they were looking for, or if there is anything missing. You can even include an option to leave their email address, in case they required a response.

6. To evaluate the service you provided

Did your Customer Support/Experience department have to resolve any product-related issues recently? Use a survey to ask your customers how happy they were with the service they received.

Not only will it help you improve your customer service, but it will also allow you to quickly react in case you have any dissatisfied customers. Just like in the product scenario – you can use Net Promoter Score.

7. To find out why your customer churned

Customers come and go, and you’ll always have customers who’ll be dissatisfied with your product and will decide to leave you. It’s fine, but it should be in your best interest to identify their reasons for leaving.

So here’s another survey idea: ask your customers why they churned. And do it immediately after they decide to do so. The longer you wait, the less motivated they’ll be to provide you with an answer.

Free-to-Use Churn Survey Template

No Credit Card Required • Cancel Any Time

8. To identify your brand evangelists

Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. Customers trust other people more than they trust brands. Word of mouth marketing results in 5 times more sales than paid media, 90% of people say they’re more likely to buy from brands their friends recommend.

Use a survey to identify customers who could become your brand ambassadors.

identify best customer for company survey question for survey ideas

Ask them how likely they are to recommend your product to others, again using an NPS survey.

9. To fill up any information gaps about your leads to improve lead scoring

Lead scoring is an effective mechanism of converting leads into customers. However, to introduce lead scoring you need to continuously gather information about your leads. Only then you will be able to score leads and identify those which are worth investing your time and effort in.

While a contact form is a good starting point for data collection, including too many fields (and asking too many questions) will have a negative impact on conversion. This is why it’s better to treat data collection as a process, not a one-off event.

You can send surveys to your database to gradually gather more insights about your leads. Just choose a survey software that integrates with your CRM.

10. To find out how happy your employees are

Last but not least, surveys can be used to check how satisfied your employees are at work. The benefit of conducting surveys internally is that completing them is often mandatory.

This means you can include more questions and still get a high completion rate!

Remember to run them regularly, for example, every quarter, to compare the results after implementing feedback from the previous survey.

How to motivate your participants to take a survey

Now that you know how you can use surveys, let me throw in a few tips on how to encourage your participants to take your survey.

Keep it short and to the point

Think hard about the issue you want to investigate and only ask the most vital questions. Asking too many questions will discourage people from filling in your survey. It’s better to run two short surveys, then one very long one.

Use an easy to understand language

Don’t ask your participants to read every question twice, use an easy language. If you like using big, complicated words, don’t. Make sure your question is clear and simple. Use a direct language.

Make sure the timing is right

Is there a better or worse time to send out a survey? Apparently, there is.

According to Checkmarket, Monday is the best day to send out B2B surveys, as they result in the highest completion rate.

best day to send b2b surveys for the highest completion rate

It’s quite different when it comes to B2C surveys. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays all have a good response rate, while Thursdays and Sundays are better avoided.  

Ensure it works on multiple devices

You don’t know the exact time your respondent will decide to take your survey. This is why you have to ensure it works well on different devices. They might fill it in sitting on a train on their way to work. Which means there is a high chance they’ll complete it on a mobile device.

Target it at the right people

Figure out what you’re trying to achieve with your survey. Do you want to identify the features your product lacks? Target your surveys at your most loyal and engaged customers.

If you target your surveys at the wrong respondents, it will negatively impact your results, and might potentially have serious business consequences.

Hopefully, you’re now more aware of the ways in which you can use surveys. Guesswork won’t take you far, and it might actually lead to bad business decisions. Since we’ve given you a few survey ideas you might as well test them out.

How surveys helped six companies make their business strategy more bullet-proof

1. Brand Packs had to pivot their entire company strategy

<>Adam McIntyre, the Community Manager at BrandPacks says that their business was primarily focused on creating add-on products for Adobe Photoshop. 18 months ago, they ran a simple survey to their audience of graphic designers asking which design tools they used the most.

As it turned out, over 70% of their customers actually preferred to use Adobe Illustrator. They used this insight to go back through their catalog of products and updated them for compatibility with Illustrator. Immediately after, they saw sales increase by over 200%.

Pretty good ROI for such a simple survey!

2. TechJury discovered that their clients aren’t who they thought they were

Nick Galov, the Content Manager at TechJury says that throughout his career, he had the pleasure of working as a marketing specialist for a data center and tech company in Arizona.

Since the company mostly focused on B2B, they typically assumed that the people who were renting out their servers were other tech companies that needed additional storage.

However, one day, they decided to introduce the concept of surveys to their marketing efforts, just so they can find out more about all of these companies they were tailoring their marketing to.

Little did they know that the survey would reveal a twist of fate.

As it turned out, the vast majority of their “target” audience and customers that were purchasing all of these servers weren’t business, at all. They were, in fact, gamers.

This odd little revelation helped them tailor their future marketing to the right audience, making their jobs more successful, more profitable, and ultimately, more fun.

In the end, a simple survey that they shared on social media completely reshaped their marketing approach and became the biggest game-changer of that year, simply because it helped us shape our content to the right people.

3. Thera Specs found out about product issues and concerns

Greg Bullock, Marketing Manager at Thera Specs says that early in their company’s lifecycle, they implemented the commonplace Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey that they email to their customers several weeks after purchase.

This tool has been incredibly valuable in helping them understand how customers experience their product, and a few years ago it enabled them to get ahead of a particular product flaw with one of our frame styles.

Since it was not a widespread failure, the survey comments helped them understand just how many customers had been affected as well as pinpoint the exact issues with the frame.

They then adjusted their internal inspection process to pre-screen and eliminate

those frames that were most likely to result in a failure. This process allowed them to better communicate with and provide service for the customers who experienced the frame problem, and they subsequently introduced a new generation of the frame that corrected these issues.

4. Rent a Lorry discovered why users weren’t buying from them

Charlotte Ang, the founder of Rent a Lorry shares that 2 years into the business, they realized that their website was too SEO-focused and lacked a modern design. It felt almost like their company was traditional and old-fashioned because it was filled only with content without many pictures.

Hence, they decided to engage a web design company to change the feel of their website so it would look more aesthetically pleasing and modern.

They carried out a proper customer survey with the last 1,000 customers they had served over the past two years.

To their horror, 78% of the users complained that the website was too difficult to navigate because of the variety of services it had.

The menu bar did not break down the different services offered and visitors had to jump from page to page.

In the end, most of them ended up emailing or calling the company to inquire about the services, even though most of the information was already online.

This explained why their customer service department was always extremely busy during the day. With that in mind, the web design company rearranged the menu on the site and changed it to a mega menu.

It broke down into different main services and sub-services, which made navigation a whole lot easier.

It was a huge learning point for the company because they had always assumed user interface was the key to great design. Through this experience, they learned that user experience was equally important and it is definitely something they overlooked.

The survey has helped us reduced the number of people calling and emailing in to ask about our services. Bookings became more efficient and we were able to reduce the number of employees in our customer service department to answer the queries.

5. GetVOIP managed to find out what their competitors are faulty at

Reuben Yonatan, founder, and CEO of GetVOIP says that they created a simple and easy to submit customer feedback form which allowed their audience to complete market research for them!

One thing that jumped out at them was that the established service providers were raking in the *1-star* ratings.

Being a startup themselves, they should have inherently understood that the customer service at disruptors was often their differentiator.

Established companies just have so much momentum and mass that they can steamroll over customers, at times. But, he never really paused to think about that fact.

After seeing that was a critical need for larger players in the game, it gave them a great point to touch on in outreach to them. And, it also provided valuable insight to the startup underdogs, themselves included.

6. Cardinal Digital Marketing has learned about the misconceptions their customers had about the company

Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing says they’ve used the Net Promoter based survey strategy to gain insights from their customer base and audience.

Net Promoter begins by asking the question, “On a scale of 0 – 10, how likely would you be to recommend our company to a friend or colleague.”

In addition, they always include a variety of other survey questions to gauge customer satisfaction and performance. They have gained some extremely valuable information from the surveys.

Results have influenced web content, email newsletter content and distribution, customer portal and reporting data, management roles, and hiring needs.

Some of the biggest surprises they found were regarding customer misconceptions. Additionally, they once uncovered a customer who was unaware that their account rep was no longer with the company.

This was a major communication concern that leads to a restructuring of their processes.

Hopefully, this article has inspired you to try surveys to test your business strategy hypotheses. The sooner you start, the faster you’ll be able to see results!


Kasia Kowalska

Senior Content Specialist @Survicate. Passionate traveler and a massive fan of American stand-up comedy!

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