10 April

How to keep your surveys short: Tips and more

Add amazing surveys to your emails
Table of contents
  1. Why do you need to keep your surveys short?
  2. What is the ideal survey length?
  3. How to keep your survey short (with tips)
  4. Extra tips
  5. Wrapping up
Why do you need to keep your surveys short?

An online survey is a very effective data collection method. Its benefits are undeniable — from offering speed to ease to accessibility from anywhere. It would serve businesses well in taking full advantage of the benefits of surveys. But studies show that keeping surveys short is crucial and highly recommended.

For this reason, we have gathered some tips for optimizing the number of questions respondents have to answer to avoid overwhelming them and creating respondent fatigue that leads to less accurate responses and affects data reliability.

The competition in the ever-changing world and the reality of email marketing make it absolutely crucial to conduct successful surveys. Without further ado, let us see why you should keep your surveys short and how you can do this.

Why do you need to keep your surveys short?

Did you know that the average human attention span is 8 seconds? This means that you cannot command people’s attention with mediocre content and expect them to be interested in that content. Here are some other reasons to keep your surveys short:

  • shorter surveys lead to higher response rates as people are more likely to spend time on a survey that they view as manageable in a short period of time;
  • respondents are more likely to spend enough time on each question to give accurate and insightful answers when they are not overwhelmed by the survey’s length. This leads to more solid insights and analysis;
  • when faced with a lengthy survey, respondents may rush through questions, give inconsistent answers, or stop answering the questions altogether. Shorter surveys minimize these risks and produce more reliable data;
  • shorter surveys mean fewer questions to analyze. This speeds up the data collection process, allowing researchers to focus on extracting meaningful insights from the data more efficiently.

What is the ideal survey length?

The ideal length of a survey largely depends on the survey’s aim, the target audience, and the complexity of the questions. Since keeping respondents interested is a rather difficult task, the best idea to maximize the number of survey responses is to keep the survey short.

According to a recent study published in HubSpot, “the ideal survey length is 10-14 minutes, and consumers are willing to answer between 7-10 survey questions.”

Of course, depending on the particular data you are trying to collect, the survey can be longer than that. The challenges that arise in a survey can be overcome by following some tips to make the survey both appealing and effective. Let us see these tips!

How to keep your survey short (with tips)

When your goal is to keep your survey short, you cannot merely ask fewer questions about fewer topics. Each survey is created with the objective of unearthing something previously unknown, such as how respondents feel about your product or services or the quality of customer service. And certainly, you cannot compromise the integrity of the survey by simply asking fewer questions.

Keep your survey short _ Stripo

(Source: Email from Stripo)

Instead, you can improve the response rate by focusing on the survey design and asking good survey questions of various types and response options. Let us go through some effective tips on how to design an effective survey while keeping it as short as possible.

1. Focus on the purpose

When you create a survey, it is important to be clear about the main goal of that survey. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can prioritize the most significant questions. This will ensure that only the necessary questions are included.

2. Use different types of questions

There are various kinds of questions one can use in an online survey. They include a rating scale, multiple choice questions, open- or closed-ended questions, and even star ratings. When you use different types of questions, the survey will look much more interesting.

💡Tip: It is a good idea to limit open-ended questions as they usually take longer to answer and will increase the response time. Instead, mostly opt for multiple choice and rating scale questions.

3. Do not use jargon

Using difficult language and specialized terminology may confuse some respondents, resulting in conflicting results or incomplete surveys. When designing a survey, you should prioritize the clarity of the questions and keep them short.

Survey invitation email example _ Figma

(Source: Email from Figma)

4. Avoid redundancy

Do not repeat questions, and make sure you are not using similar, repetitive questions about the same topic. This will only result in a series of intimidating questions, not informative ones.

Survey with a variety of questions _ International Cat Care

(Source: Survey from International Cat Care)

5. Leverage technology

Use smart online survey tools to take advantage of effective survey features, such as question randomization and progress indicators. These tools change the placement of questions and show the survey progress to respondents.

6. Use conditional logic

One of the easiest and most effective methods for keeping your survey short is using conditional logic. This is a smart tool that displays some questions depending on the answer above. This tool is great for developing short and effective surveys while avoiding repetition.

For example, if a respondent answers yes to the question, “Was there a time where you felt…,” then the next question can ask for further details on the matter. This will ensure that you do not include unnecessary questions and make the survey appear long while collecting the necessary information.

7. Use interactive polls

Using interactive polls directly in emails is a great way to reach your target audience quickly. These offer an immediate and convenient way for respondents to express their opinions directly via email without going to another website or platform. When a person can receive the survey directly through email, this increases the survey response rate by 520%.

Use interactive polls _ Outdoorsy

(Source: Email from Outdoorsy)

Extra tips

The information provided above is focused on how you can shorten your surveys without compromising the quality of the information you collect. By following those tips, you can learn more by asking fewer questions.

Below, we offer seven extra tips on how to make surveys that are both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.

1. Keep it visually engaging

Using different visual materials, such as colorful backgrounds, supporting images, or GIFs, is a proven method for keeping surveys interesting. They make the survey experience more enjoyable and memorable for respondents. An attractive survey design also enhances understanding, thus minimizing respondent fatigue and ensuring accuracy in the responses.

Keep your survey visually engaging _ Calvin Klein

(Source: Email from Calvin Klein)

2. Do not use leading questions

Be sure not to include leading questions to obtain a particular answer, as this will jeopardize the quality of the data. Use unbiased and neutral language and do not influence the respondent’s answers.

Use unbiased and neutral language _ Stripo

(Source: Survey from Stripo)

For example, instead of writing, “Don’t you think our museum membership is the best alternative for all those interested in cultural experiences?” frame your question as follows: “How likely are you to recommend our museum membership to a friend or colleague?”

3. Make your survey mobile friendly

Not everyone has a computer, and people tend to fill out surveys on a mobile phone from the comfort of their home. If a respondent starts your survey but sees that it does not fit on their small screen, they will abandon it. That is why you must make the survey adaptable to all devices.

4. Offer incentives

If applicable, it is a good idea to offer incentives, such as discounts and gift cards, to encourage participation. This would be especially helpful if the survey is longer. You just need to make sure the incentive is appropriate and fits the nature of the survey.

Offer incentives in your surveys _ Dribbble

(Source: Email from Dribbble)

5. Share surveys regularly

Sending surveys in a planned manner helps in tracking progress and obtaining real-time insights. According to CustomerGauge, short, frequent, quarterly surveys are best for businesses. Surveys can be sent monthly, quarterly, annually, or after specific events to collect feedback. Regularly sending surveys allows for identifying areas of improvement, measuring the quality of current changes, and making informed decisions for the future.

6. Make use of email marketing channels

If you are able to do it, using email marketing channels to promote your business, help your organization, and achieve an impact could be a great idea. Email marketing, with its numerous advantages, is a great alternative to phone calls.

7. Test it before sharing

Once you have finished preparing the survey, test it with a small group of respondents to make sure there are no issues with question clarity, survey flow, or technical aspects. Then you can proudly launch it to your target audience.

Wrapping up

In this article, we have addressed the ideal survey length and have given you some tips on how to keep your surveys short but effective. One of the key elements in guaranteeing success is sending out short surveys, as people are more likely to complete a 5-minute survey than a 20-minute one. It is also essential to keep in mind the short attention span of individuals when you are sharing a new survey. You can limit your survey length by focusing on its goal, avoiding redundancy, and using conditional logic.

We have also shared tips to help you make your next survey aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. These details may seem small, but in the end, they will affect the success of your efforts. Keep them in mind for the next time, and good luck!

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