How to Improve Conversions through Surveying

In business, the customer may not always be right, but when it comes to getting better conversions through your website – it pays to listen to what they want. In fact, by asking the right kinds of questions, you can get vastly more information and insights that go well beyond your typical analytics package.

Surveying potential customers is a good indicator of where users may be slipping through the cracks in your sales funnel. Of course, most customers don’t have the time to fill out page after page of questions, so what you ask, and how you ask it, can make all the difference.

With Surveys – Less is More

The first step to writing intelligent survey questions begins with the end in mind. Ask yourself, what goals do you want to achieve with this survey? An open-ended statement like “to find out what my customers want” isn’t a concrete goal, because the answers could be all over the map. Questions without a clear objective also make it impossible to create a prioritized list for your team or developers to focus on.

A better goal is one that you can clearly define, such as “to reduce my site’s bounce rate by 10%”. This way, you can test and check your analytics often to determine if you’ve succeeded. If you’re not sure how to frame your questions so that you truly get inside the minds of your buyers, SurveyMonkey has an excellent free PDF that shows you how to make any survey more effective – from setup to accessibility. Below, we have picked out a few key tips when creating survey questions:

Tips on Creating Survey Questions:

  1. Ask questions that read well and are quick and easy to answer. This may help to keep the respondents from jumping to an answer before the question is completely read.
  2. Make sure that all questions asked are relevant to all respondents and the survey’s purpose. In addition, avoid hypothetical questions.
  3. Questions asked in your survey should require a small amount of effort to answer. Most people prefer to answer and complete surveys quickly without thinking too hard or spend a lot of time.
  4. Keep questions short and ask one question at a time. Longer questions may quickly become confusing, thus resulting in a misread of what you are asking.
  5. As the survey designer, pay attention to the neutrality of the words. This helps to avoid unintentional violation of the survey’s objectivity.
  6. Avoid leading questions – Based on their content, wording, or structure, these kinds of questions may lead a respondent towards a certain answer.
  7. Avoid loaded questions – This type of answer bias works through emotionally charged items like words, stereotypes, or prestige images. When creating the survey, avoid words that may “cater to the respondent’s ego or contort the respondent’s pride.”
  8. Avoid built in assumptions – When creating survey questions, avoid questions that assume the respondent is familiar with the specifications asked within the questions.
  9. Be Simple – The survey should use language that is simple in both words and phrases.
  10. Ask precise questions. Avoid things that are too general, too complex or undefined. Stay away from using words like “often,” “usually,” “generally,” etc. Each person’s thought process is different and some people may infer a different.

Don’t Forget the Benefits of Email

Web-based surveys aren’t the only way to find areas of improvement for your site. You can (and should) regularly survey your email subscribers as well. They’ve already shown an interest in your products or services, and can be a reliable source of feedback if you approach it the right way.

For the absolute best results when it comes to surveying through email, you should segment your lists according to the different goals you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you’re considering adding more features to a software package and increasing the price, you’ll only want to survey customers who bought the product – not the people who signed up for the free trial.

On-Site Surveys Connected to Specific Pages

CrazyEgg’s recent homepage redesign was the subject of a MarketingSherpa case study on surveys. One of the more unique ways they gathered customer feedback was to add surveys pertaining to certain questions, on certain pages. For example upon leaving their pricing page, a survey would ask what caused them to ultimately not purchase the service (among other things). The hiring page would ask applicants about other tools they may have tried – helping CrazyEgg to benchmark their competitors.

All of these factors were ultimately figured into their website redesign, which led to a 21.6% increase in conversions and a 13% decrease in bounce rate.

The original Crazyegg pricing page:

Crazyegg.com Original Pricing Page

The new Crazyegg pricing page:

Crazyegg.com new pricing page.

Old versus new. The new CrazyEgg pricing page highlights the Plus plan rather than the Free version, and includes a more convincing call to action.

Surprising Survey Insights

When creating a survey, you may wonder what sorts of questions to ask, when to send it, and even how long to make it in order to improve conversion rates. According to a joint study done by Zoomerang and Gallup polls, the following helpful tips were gleaned by survey takers and hosts alike:

  • Identify the underlying objective of the poll. Simply asking “How do we improve our product?” will give you a smorgasbord of answers. If you’re considering adding new features, ask your customers to rate the proposed items on a scale to help you better prioritize which should come first (and which points could be eliminated entirely!)
  • Your survey should take less than five minutes to complete. Any longer than that, and the abandonment rate increases considerably
  • Make ratings scales consistent. If one question shows 5 being the worst and 1 being the best, and the next question reverses that, you may get inaccurate feedback.
  • While open-ended survey questions allow participants to answer in their own words, sometimes you need a more definite yes/no answer. These are also simpler for people to complete and will increase the likelihood that they’ll finish the survey completely.
  • Highest open and click rates happen on Monday, Friday and Sunday respectively. There’s no discernable difference between response quality gathered on weekdays versus weekends.
  • Zoomerang research has shown that incentives typically boost response rates by 50% on average. By giving away a free report or other small gift, you show respondents that you value their time and feedback.

Free Report Example

A free gift helps encourage participation in online surveys

When done correctly, surveys can yield a surprising amount of helpful data about your target audience, their buying behaviors and their knowledge of your product or industry. By analyzing their feedback, you’ll be able to make definite improvements in your conversion rate by taking away all the hurdles that could be holding back sales.

Try KISSinsights for Your Website Surveys

KISSinsights is an easy to use survey tool that you can place on your website. You can create multiple choice and open-ended surveys or a combination of both. You can also pinpoint:

  • Who will see your surveys (logged in visitors or logged out visitors).
  • When they will see your survey (X seconds after reaching a certain page, certain days and times of the week).
  • Where they will see your survey. For instance, after they have logged in, on the home page, thank-you page etc.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversions with custom blog theme design and SEO copywriting. Visit iElectrify.com to get your free web copy hotsheet and conversion checklist and make sure you’re on the right track to website success.

  1. Having concrete goals in mind is always a great advice. Your hands-on tips are useful, I find these two specifically interesting:

    - Highest open and click rates happen on Monday, Friday and Sunday respectively.
    - Zoomerang research has shown that incentives typically boost response rates by 50% on average.

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