What are surveys?

Hear what your current customers think about your organization, and learn why visitors that leave your site didn't buy.

Jump to: What data - How effective - Which findings - FAQ

What are the pros?

  • Get feedback in their own words
  • Find out what info is missing
  • Hear what is bothering visitors
  • Learn why customers converted

What are the cons?

What data will be analyzed?

Customer surveys

How is the data collected?

The input from your current customers is collected through email surveys. These emails can be sent out to everyone that has bought your products or services in the past. However, we think it's important to make sure the data that is obtained from the surveys is fresh and relevant. Therefore, we advise limiting the range in which the purchase was made to only include the previous month. If at a response rate of about 15% this won't get you over 100 responses, we suggest stretching the date-range until you do reach this number.

Why is it relevant to collect this data?

This data will, for instance, allow you to learn what your strengths/weaknesses are and allow you to structure your content in a way that it relates better to their needs. It will also enable you to frame your purchase triggers more accurately.

By sending out separate surveys to visitors (as advised by Dr. Karl Banks on ConversionXL who have just now purchased your products or services, you might also learn more about "What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you buying from us?" or "What was your biggest fear or concern about using us?".

What are some example questions?

While the list of questions that you might want to ask your customers is endless, Purna Virji suggested on Search Engine Watch to focus on painting a vivid picture of your customers’ wants and needs, as well as how they interact with your site. Therefore, they suggest you start by asking questions such as:

  • What are they missing out on by not having it?
  • Have they tried to use a similar product before?
  • How do they plan to use the product?
customer survey

Web traffic surveys

How is the data collected?

This input is collected on your website through a variety of possible popups. Because most conversion research software allows you to trigger these popups in multiple ways, you can get feedback of visitors that, for instance, are surfing a set amount of time on a particular page, or are about to leave your website.

Why is it relevant to collect this data?

With this data, you can learn what creates friction for visitors in a given phase of the conversion funnel. For instance, it can highlight the fact that visitors are unable to find your return policy on your product page or are abandoning the shopping cart because it doesn't list the shipping costs clearly.

It is estimated that over 75% of the visitors to a website don't return. Given this estimate, the risk of alienating visitors with an exit overlay (also known as an exit popup or exit survey) is considered low, especially given the tremendous amount of valuable feedback it might return.

What are some example questions?

Just like with the customer surveys the amount of questions that you might want to have answered will be limitless. However, Peep Laja urges in the article on ConversionXL that was referenced earlier to "Start with learning about friction. What are the FUDs (fears, doubts, hesitations) they are experiencing – while on a particular page?". Specific questions that fit in which such a line of questioning:

  • What’s holding you back from adding this product to the cart right now?
  • What’s keeping you from buying this product right now?
web traffic survey

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How effective will this be?

Number of current customers and visitors

The typical response rate for external email surveys hovers somewhere around 10-15% on average. So, in order to get 100 completed surveys, you would need a mailing list of about 700-1,000 customers that you have permission to send emails to.

According to Qualaroo the average response rate for web traffic surveys via popups is about 1-4%. In order to get about 100 responses, you would need at least 2,500-10,000 visitors. Do take note that the way in which the popup is triggered can influence the response rate greatly. For instance, a targeted exit overlay will probably receive a higher response rate than a generic popup that shows for every visitor that lands on a product page.

group of people

Other ways of gathering qualitative feedback

If you're already gathering qualitative (personal) feedback from customers and visitors through other channels, surveys might prove less effective. These other methods could include contact via support tickets, online chat, conferences, etc. Another great way of gathering such feedback is through user testing. Though I would argue that surveys, especially web traffic surveys, can work great in tandem with user testing. For instance, it would allow you to determine whether the feedback you've received from one test subject is something that is bothering a larger group of visitors.

thumbs up

Which findings will it deliver?

✓ Learn what content you visitors need

This is one great for both content marketing, and persuading visitors to buy from you. For instance, if you learn that many of your visitors are abandoning your site to see what competitors do, you might create a page on which you explain your unique benefits. Also, the questions that either your visitors or your customers can't find answers to might be great material for your knowledge base or FAQ.

✓ Get continuous feedback on how well your are doing

By asking your visitors and customers the right questions, you can determine if what you're doing is working for them. If, one the other hand, you receive negative feedback in your customer surveys, or tools like Usabilla show that your visitors are feeling negative emotions on certain pages, that would be a good trigger to start improving your website.

✓ Collect ratings and testimonials

Your surveys and popups you can also be a great way to collect ratings and testimonials (or reviews) for your website. If you embed these ratings as rich snippets not only will your visitors see the social proof of how other customers have rated your product, but also gain additional exposure in the Google search result pages and in PPC campaigns.

Do I need permission to send out a survey?

Yes, you do. MailChimp states the following on this topic:

"You can use MailChimp to send a survey invitation, so long as these are your customers, and they gave you permission to send them emails. If the list is older than six months, and these people haven't heard from you in a while, the list is considered stale and you will need to reconfirm that your subscribers still want to hear from you before you can use MailChimp.".

Other email services have similar guidelines, so be sure to check it for your provider of choice.

Web traffic surveys

Because the popups on your website are opt-in by design, you don't need to specifically ask for permission to have the web traffic surveys online.


Will the results be representative?

Unfortunately, probably not entirely. Given that both survey bias and respondent bias are both well-documented phenomena, it can be difficult to achieve representative results from your surveys.

Some data or not data

However, when taking into account these limitations, both in their processing and presentation to others, I would argue that gather some data would trump gathering no data, even if this data might not be entirely accurate.