Over the past decade, the use of online methods for market research has skyrocketed. Due to ever-increasing technological advances, it has become possible for do-it-yourself researchers to design, conduct and analyze their own surveys for literally a fraction of the cost and time it would have taken in the past.
Online surveys are a great option for business owners who would like to conduct their own research, and online survey tools make it possible for these business owners to perform market research at a fraction of the usual cost. The list below explains ten benefits of using online surveys as a way of researching your target market.
The time span needed to complete an online survey project is on average two-thirds shorter than that of a traditional research method. Because the information is being gathered automatically, you don’t have to wait for paper questionnaires to come back to you. The response rate is almost instant. Online marketing experts say that more than half the responses are in within the first three days of the research project.
Using online questionnaires can halve your research costs. Your business can save money on postage, and you don’t have to allocate part of your staff to enter the information into a database. The responses are processed automatically, and the results are accessible at any time.
3. More Accurate
There is a smaller margin of error because participants enter their responses directly into the system. Traditional methods rely on the attentiveness of staff to enter all details correctly, and naturally human error can creep in whenever a person has to perform a repetitive task.
4. Quick to Analyze
The results of the online survey are ready to be analyzed at any time. The data can be presented in graphs or tables, and most online survey tools also offer cross tabulation analysis tools to create contingency tables.
5. Easy to Use for Participants
Ninety percent of people that have access to the Internet prefer to answer surveys online instead of using the telephone. With an online survey participants can pick a time that suits them best, and the time needed to complete the survey is much shorter. Questions that are not relevant to a particular participant can be skipped automatically.
6. Easy to Use for Researchers
The main benefit of online surveys for researchers is that it saves time. The data is instantly available and can easily be transferred into specialized statistical software or spreadsheets when more detailed analysis is needed.
7. Easy to Style
An online survey can be styled to match your business website and your brand. You can choose the colors and layout of your survey, and you can add your company logo. You can also add images, audio, or video to the questions in the survey. Be careful though because sometimes this can lead to long waiting times between questions, when pages are slow to load. This can be potentially off-putting for some participants.
8. More Honest
Market researchers have found that participants in online surveys usually provide longer and more detailed answers. Because participants feel safe in the anonymous environment of the Internet, they are more likely to open up and give a more truthful response.
9. More Selective
With an online survey you can pre-screen participants and allow only those who match your target profile to complete the survey. This way of working allows you to really target specific issues and questions about your business by asking only those who can give you the answers.
10. More Flexible
The order of the questions in an online survey can be changed, or questions can be skipped altogether, depending on the answer to a previous question. This way, a survey can be tailored to each participant as he or she proceeds.
To sum up, online surveys are less time consuming, they are cheaper, you get the results faster, and you can transfer and use the data in other business applications. The results of the survey can be used to answer important questions about your business. As a business owner you can design your own online survey with one of the many free online survey tools.