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How to get useful data from polls and surveys you hold

In an earlier article on the blog, we detailed several benefits of your organisation holding polls and surveys — whether on its website or social media feeds. 

Nonetheless, there remains a crucial point worth making here: how you hold polls and surveys will be a major factor in how much you are able to benefit from them.

That’s why we have decided to write this follow-up article. It would be wise for you to educate yourself on not only soliciting customers’ thoughts but also tips and tricks for getting as many of them as possible.

Know what differentiates polls from surveys 

You might have assumed the words ‘poll’ and ‘survey’ to be largely interchangeable. However, you would be very wrong on that point, as polls and surveys fundamentally differ in not only structure but also consequently how they ought to be used.

While a poll consists of just one question with an attached range of pre-written answers for respondents to choose from, a survey can include multiple questions. 

These, in turn, can be multiple choice — or take an alternative form. For example, you might be expected to select just ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or rank a number of provided entries.

Generally, it’s best to opt for a poll over a survey when you want to garner an idea of the majority opinion on a particular subject. However, as there’s only so much that something as rudimentary as a poll can tell you, conducting a survey afterwards can help you to flesh out the details.

As it is possible for survey replies to be qualitative rather than just quantitative, one good tactic can be to use a poll and subsequently a survey to find out, respectively, what people think and why they think that.

Have a specific goal in mind 

What led you to initially consider starting a poll or survey? Maybe you want to find out how concerned your target audience is about certain topical issues, like Brexit or inflation. On the other hand, you might be interested in test-running product ideas with your customers.

As you word the question for your poll or survey, take close account of what did originally inspire it. That way, you will have a clearer idea of exactly what it is you need to ask. Alternatively, our copywriters could write questions for your customers on your behalf.

Decide whether to go for a open-ended or closed question 

The choice you make here can have significant implications for the responses you will receive. To put a long story short, an open-ended question is one where the answer can be literally anything, while a closed question comes with a relatively narrow menu of possible answers.

It’s generally a reliable strategy to start with a closed question, as the replies it gets will be simple and easy for you to analyse. This is at least compared to open-ended questions in general, as the latter are likelier to require you to set aside a lot of time for sifting through the responses.

How to get useful data from polls and surveys you hold
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