Digital surveys and lead form surveys can provide us with invaluable data that we couldn’t have obtained any other way.

In recent years i’ve designed dozens of digital questionnaires, surveys, and lead form surveys.

From survey to survey i slowly and steadily improved the answer rate for digital surveys using a variety of methods.

In this post i’ll let you in on a check list that will help you create the perfect lead form survey that is sure to yield high a answer rate.

Make the digital survey is seamless as possible

Nobody likes to fill out forms, Especially if that’s not what they came to your site form.

Make sure the survey looks and feels like a part of what the user came to the site to accomplish.

If the action the user performed before the survey was shown was a part of the page (not in a popup) – keep the survey on the page as well.
Popups are intrusive and they’re very easy to close and ignore.

Lead form wireframe
Keep the lead form as short and as easy to fill as possible
Online survey - simple question example
Make the transition to the survey as seamless as possible

Personalisation goes a long way

If you have the users’ first name – use it! preferably in the surveys’ title or another bold, easy to read location.

It will definitely catch the users’ eye and attention.
Studies show that using a persons’ first name gives them a sense of confidence.

They survey will feel a lot “easy going” from the get go and it will certainly affect the conversion rate and the users’ willingness to share personal information.

Use friendly, eye level wording.
It’s easier for users to answer questions when they’re asked in a friendly manner.

Try to camouflage the fact that it’s a survey

As mentioned before, Nobody likes to answer surveys.

If you can (and if it’s ethical), Don’t boldly refer to the survey as a survey.
You can just go ahead and ask the first question.

Don’t give the users an easy way out

Assuming the survey is not in a popup (see previous recommendations) – There is absolutely no need to show the user a big bold “Skip Survey” or “Exit” button.

Users that do not want to answer the questions can just continue browsing the page or navigate to a new page.

I’ve found this tip alone to improve digital surveys’ answer rate by almost 30%.

If the survey is in a popup and you want the user to be able to return to the underlying page, You must include an “x” or “close” button.
Try to make it apparent enough to notice but not too bold that you notice it at first glance.

Keep it short and to the point

From my experience, Surveys that contain 3-5 had the highest answer rates.

Make an effort to reduce the number of questions in the survey to the bare minimum needed to gain the valuable data you need from the user.

Don’t ask redundant questions

Since you want to keep the amount of questions to the bare minimum – Don’t ask questions that you don’t need the answer to.

Don’t ask questions that have no logical answers.

Example: If you have a question like “How many children do you have?” and the user answers “None”.
Don’t ask the user later “How old is your youngest child?”.
Wouldn’t that be annoying? The user would feel like his talking to a machine and we certainly don’t want that.

Phrase questions in a way that they have only one acceptable answer

Try to phrase the question and the available answers in a short and concise way.

Present the user with the question and a list of optional answers.

Questions that are phrased in a way that the user has to choose one answer from a list are the easiest and fastest questions to answer.

The easier and less “bumpy” the user experience is – the more likely a user would complete your survey.

Digital surveys - Phrase questions and answers in an easy to understand manner
Phrase questions and answers in an easy to understand manner

No need for a “next question” button for questions with one answer

If you managed to phrase the question and answers in such a way that all the user has to do is pick the appropriate answer from a list than you’ve already done a good job.

For such questions there is no need to display a “Go to next question” Button.
Clicking (or tapping) an answer should move the user to the next question.

If you’re worried users might want to change their answer – you could include a “Go to previous question” some where on the screen.

I would not recommend doing that unless it’s very important that the users will be able to go back and change their answer.

Avoid open ended questions

Open ended questions that require the user to type an answer require a very very high engagement from the user.

These type of questions require the user to stop and think before they can answer.

If you absolutely cannot avoid open questions – put them at the end of the survey.

A lot of users might be discouraged by this kind of questions.
If they’re at the end of the survey, You may At least be able to collect data about the easier to answer questions before the user leaves.

Typing in an Physical or Email address requires a lot of effort.
Asking a user for such a detail counts as an “Open ended” question.

Give thought to the questions order

There are three main factors you should take into account when deciding upon the questions order.

  1. What data is most important to you?
  2. How much thought and/or effort the user has to invest in order to answer the question.
  3. Logical sequence

Put your important questions first and save the hard questions for last.
It’s not uncommon for users to get discouraged and abandon a survey in the middle.
If put your important questions in the beginning you’re more likely to have them answered.

Make sure to order your questions wisely.

Save hard to answer questions to the end of the survey

Accessibility is important

Put aside users that cannot complete the survey unless it’s accessible.

A lot of users like to use the keyboard to navigate forms.
Especially if the forms include input boxes, typing, etc…

Making sure your survey is easy to navigate will do a great deal to improve the answer rate.

Reassure the users

Let the users know when they’re doing a good job!

If the survey is under 5 questions i don’t think you need to display a progress bar and / or tell the user how many steps (questions) they have left.

Confident users complete surveys in higher rates.

If you’re asking for sensitive data such as phone number, social security number, physical address, email address, etc… Make sure the user feels safe providing those details.

It’s okay (and even encouraged) to state that the form is secured.
You may let the users know what systems you use to keep their data safe.
You may also want to disclose what that data will used for.

Digital surveys - Safety is key
Make the users feel safe to disclose personal data

Save the data to your database each question is answered

Digital surveys are a tedious task for users.
It’s not uncommon for users to exit the survey before answering all the questions.

Make sure to save the users responses to the database after each question ins answered.

That way if (and when) a user decides to abandon the survey in the middle – you will at least have the answers for some of the questions.

Give the users an incentive to start and finish the questionnaire

Tell the users why they should answer your survey.
Offer the users some sort of benefit if possible.

Pay close attention to the microcopy, Make sure to phrase the benefit in a way that is clear to the user what they’re getting out of it.

Give users an incentive to complete they digital survey for a higher answer rate
Add to cart popup survey on Ron Deri’s Online Abstract Gallery

Summary (Do’s and Don’t)

I hope this check list for high conversion digital surveys provides some insights and inspiration about planing and designing your next online questionnaire.

Let’s sum up the do’s and don’ts.

Do:

  1. Make the survey seam as part of the action the user came to the site to perform
  2. Address the users’ by their name
  3. K.I.S.S – Keep it simple stupid. Short and concise questions will yield a higher answer rate
  4. Make sure the UI is easy to understand and there’s no unnecessary clutter – let the users focus on the questions.
  5. Order the questions wisely
  6. Make sure the survey is accessible and the keyboard navigation functions properly
  7. Make the users feel safe disclosing their personal data
  8. Save the data to your backend database as soon and as often as possible
  9. Provide an obvious incentive to start and complete the digital survey

Don’t:

  1. Boldly state the survey is actually a survey, Try to camouflage it.
  2. Give the users an “easy” way out – no need for a “Skip survey” button – users that don’t want to answer the digital survey can just navigate away from it
  3. Ask redundant questions
  4. Long and or unambiguous phrasing of questions and answers
  5. Unnecessary buttons – keep it clean