How to send surveys: 4 survey distribution methods

Surveys are an excellent way to gather information in order to make smarter business decisions. “You can receive good, honest feedback via surveys,” says Mick Essex, growth marketing manager for POWR, a global software company. “Surveys also show you care about your audience’s opinions.” 

Running a survey can be challenging, though, especially when it comes to getting it in front of the right people — whether it’s those who are most likely to respond or members of a specific group that’s germane to your research goals. In order to maximize your survey responses and collect helpful data for your business goals, it’s important to choose the right survey distribution methods. The method you choose will depend on who your target audience is for the survey and what’s most convenient for them. 

In this article, we share the top survey distribution methods and explain the best way to create and share your surveys.

Survey distribution methods

1. Email

Email is a popular survey distribution method because, in both the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors, email is often the primary way that organizations communicate with their audiences. It’s also the main method of internal communication for most organizations. Sending surveys through email makes sense because recipients are used to communicating with organizations this way. 

Plus, businesses can use automation to automatically include an element of personalization, like adding a custom greeting or other data field, to help increase a survey’s response rate. Email marketing systems can also provide insights into how many recipients opened the email and clicked through to the survey itself.

Email does have some downsides, though. Messages can end up in a recipient’s spam folder, which makes it less likely the recipient even sees them. In addition, emails may have delivery issues, depending on the system they’re being sent from or delivered to. 

“You risk having a possible low open rate with email,” says Essex. “It’s important to have an email strategy in place and target the right audience list.”

2. Website

Many organizations embed surveys on a website or landing page, especially if the survey pertains to other information on the site. Using a website as a survey distribution method is a great way to get more information on a specific area of the business. For example, organizations can include a survey as part of a blog post to understand how many website visitors are interested in that specific topic.

Because anyone who visits your website can fill out the survey, it can be difficult to target specific segments of your audience with website surveys (much like with social media), but they can increase visibility and engagement and garner more responses. In addition, website-based surveys are intuitive and easy to use.

3. Social media

While surveys sent through email go to a targeted list, surveys shared through social media represent the opposite approach: Anyone who follows the social media account can fill out the survey. This method can work well in many cases, especially when an organization is looking for the highest response rate possible and doesn’t care about narrowing down the audience to a specific market or demographic segment.

While social media as a survey distribution method doesn’t allow for specific audience targeting, it provides more visibility for the brand and can enable greater engagement. In addition, with social media, it’s easy for followers to share the survey with others with the click of a button. 

There are some drawbacks to this, though. “If you send surveys via DMs (direct message), you have the potential to be unfollowed or blocked,” says Essex. “Proceed with caution. The success will depend on what your follower list looks like.”

4. QR code

Sharing a survey via a QR code is a great way for a business to expand its reach because QR codes are easy to share both in print and online. Organizations can print QR codes that link to the survey on items such as flyers, business cards, posters, and other marketing materials or include them online on websites, in online ads, and more.

The downside of QR codes is that respondents need to be familiar with how to use them — if they aren’t, you could get a lower survey response rate. In addition, QR codes require a smartphone to read them. If someone doesn’t have their phone with them, they can’t access the survey.

How to create and distribute surveys with Jotform

Jotform is a great tool for creating and distributing surveys. With hundreds of survey templates for just about every purpose you can think of, Jotform makes creating surveys a breeze. Each template is fully customizable, from the visuals to the text, so you can fully align the survey with your brand. 

Essex offers these tips to keep in mind as you create your survey: “Always be intentional and honest about the purpose of the survey, and be as brief as possible. Offer multiple choice questions, as most people don’t want to provide detailed answers. You can offer a free area for comments at the bottom for those that have more to add.”

With Jotform, organizations can share their surveys via email, QR codes, or links in social media, as well as by embedding them in websites and landing pages.

Although Jotform makes surveys easy, Essex offers one last bit of advice: “Don’t overdo it. Send out surveys sparingly.” The right frequency for distributing surveys will depend on your business.

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