It’s hard for a business to improve its performance without first getting feedback. That’s why online review sites are so popular (and influential) today: it contributes to a business owner’s awareness of customer issues and opinions – and provides a platform for generating, sharing, and tracking what customers are saying and thinking.
There’ll be times, though, when a business owner cannot simply wait for reviews to come in – when feedback generation takes far too long and the reviews come too few and far between.
Say, you’re researching and developing a new product. Or you’re giving your storefront a makeover. Or you’re trying to figure out what kind of promotion or special deal to do next. In these sorts of cases, you need real, measurable info that you can use to make the upcoming product / project / promotion a success. And while it’s still nice to have an online review monitoring as your mousetrap for reviews, you also probably ought to try a quicker, more assertive way of generating the feedback and data that you need.
This is where online surveys come in.
Online surveys are a great cost-effective way of generating feedback, collecting and analyzing data, and gaining insights needed to improve business performance. Just like online reviews, online surveys can be leveraged by business owners to listen in, figure out, and respond to what their customers are saying. They also happen to be simpler and easier than ever: thanks to the Internet, conducting surveys can be done by choosing from today’s ever-growing number of online survey tools, which range from basic (for small and medium-sized businesses) to advanced (for enterprise-level organizations and research institutions).
Are you an SMB owner looking to actively generate feedback in a simple, fast, and easy way? Check out this list of six terrific online survey tools for small and medium-sized businesses.
6 Terrific Online Survey Tools for SMBs
Founded in 1999 by Ryan Finley, SurveyMonkey is a Web survey development company that has since grown big enough to acquire other survey tools (including Precision Polling, Wufoo, and Zoomerang). The online survey platform is among the most popular and widely used today, thanks to a no-frills feature set that allows you to decide how your survey looks, collect responses (by link, e-mail, blog, Facebook, or Twitter). SurveyMonkey also enables the real-time survey results to be analyzed, filtered, cross-tabbed, graphed, and exported in multiple formats. A free Basic account entitles users to 10 questions per survey, 100 responses, and 24/7 e-mail customer support – with unlimited questions and more features available upon upgrading to Select ($10.99/month), Gold ($139.99/year), or Platinum ($359.990/year) accounts.
SurveyGizmo is another Web-based survey software company, founded in 2006 in Boulder, Colorado and built with the goal of helping anyone from individual researchers to enterprises capture and analyze survey data. It has an impressive customer base that includes companies like Adobe, Apple, Hershey’s, General Mills, Disney, and MarketingSherpa, among many others.
SurveyGizmo comes with a rich set of customization options and offers a wide range of packages for SMBs and larger organizations. After a 14-day free trial, you can sign up for a paid SurveyGizmo plan ($75/month), which includes unlimited surveys, polls, and forms; unlimited questions and responses; free phone support; branding control; and 500,000 e-mail invitations per month.
What distinguishes SurveyGizmo from other online survey tools is its ability to offer the professional services of its in-house survey team, which has been formed specifically to build surveys for you, customize SurveyGizmo’s features and scripting (for your needs), deliver custom reporting, and make recommendations based on the data and feedback gathered.
Qualtrics Survey Software (Research Suite)
Qualtrics, a private research software company founded in 2002 and headquartered in Utah, has a scalable research suite and survey software product designed for anyone from research interns to Ph.D. holders. With it, you can create over 100 different question types, use interactive questions (for better response rates), leverage highly advanced survey logic (developed by Ph.D. researchers) and add rich media to engage online survey respondents and get them to generate feedback.
If you’re after aesthetics, PollDaddy is your tool. This online survey tool is best at designing visually stunning forms, polls, quizzes, and surveys – all in a matter of minutes. Creating and conducting is pretty easy, too, and you can collect feedback and survey responses through e-mail, iPad, Facebook, and Twitter.
A free PollDaddy account entitles you to 200 survey responses every month, at 10 questions per survey. Basic easy-to-read reports are also available, but with a premium account (at $899 per year), you can gain access to unlimited survey responses, unlimited questions, custom domain mapping, custom CSS styles, custom redirects, report filters, and much more detailed reports.
KeySurvey aims to distinguish itself by offering a fully customizable cross-platform mobile survey solution. It has a number of features present in other online survey tools, but it builds on these features by adding unique functionalities like tabbed surveys (makes it easier for respondents to navigate), drag-and-drop design, score calculations, predictive text input, and solution-specific plug-ins. The surveys can also be integrated with e-mail, mobile devices, offline devices, paper, and IVR touchtone. KeySurvey offers a free trial as well as an option for scheduling a demo.
If you want to create surveys on the fly, try Survs, which has been described by TechCrunch as striking the perfect balance between easy-to-use and feature-rich. A simple Ajax-based interface, customizable themes, and flexible options welcome the first-time user, while custom templates and themes, share-able data, and real-time results and analysis provide more than enough flexibility for those looking to measure their data precisely and accurately.
A free Survs account includes unlimited surveys, 200 responses per survey, and normal support; while a premium account that costs $119 a month provides more than enough feedback-generation power for SMB owners and online marketers: 24,000 responses per month, 24 users per account, unlimited surveys, high-priority support, and white-label branding.