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MARKET RESEARCH TIP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: How long should your market research survey be?

surveysheetMARKET RESEARCH TIP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: How long should your market research survey be?

I get asked this question all of the time. Now, more than ever we are bombarded by so much information and have less and less time. (That’s one reason why I am writing shorter blog posts.) Furthermore, surveys are typically not the most exciting thing for people to complete, especially if they are not getting anything of value in return. (I will address incentives to boost response for your surveys in a future blog post). Basic rule of thumb, keep it short!

A guide to determine how long a survey should be is to think of how long YOU would like it to be if YOU were answering the questions. Is that 2 minutes?, 5 minutes?, 30 minutes? Often people under or over estimate how long something takes to do.

That’s why it may be a good idea to tell the respondent how many questions you are requesting them them to answer. By doing so, this helps make it easier for people to decide to participate.

Try it yourself. Which invitation would you most likely answer?

Option 1. “Please take a moment to answer 3 short questions to tell us how we can improve our services.”

Option 2. “Please take the next 5 minutes to answer our survey to help us improve our services.”

If you are like most people, you chose Option 1. Why? Because the wording of Option 1 seems like it would be quicker to answer 3 short questions, even though it may take 5 minutes to answer those 3 questions.

If your survey is going to be somewhat long e.g more than 20 minutes, then it is important to be honest with respondents upfront about the actual time it will take to complete the interview (e.g. you don’t want to promise respondents that it will take 5 minute but in reality it is a 20 minute survey). If you are not honest, people may drop off early and you will risk not getting answers to all of your survey questions. If you need to have a longer survey e.g. 20 minutes or longer, you may want to think about offering an incentive to boost.

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This entry was posted on June 8, 2015 by in Market Research, Survey and tagged , , , .
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