Should I send a survey? Before you hit send–

(In case you missed them, there are three earlier survey-related posts: don’t use a surveystill don’t use a survey, and okay fine, use a survey.)

You’ve written your survey and you think you’re done.

Stop. Email the survey to yourself (exit out of your survey app so you’re starting from an experience similar to your respondent).

Make sure you can answer “yes” to these 10 questions:

  1. Is there a smooth experience between viewing the survey invitation and clicking through to the actual survey? (i.e. continuity of language, same branding if you’ve included visuals)
  2. Does the survey start with a friendly explanation of why you’re asking this person to complete it?
  3. Have you limited the survey to 10 or fewer questions?
  4. Read each question out loud — does the language sound human and conversational?
  5. Have you eliminated jargon or corporate-speak? (If you’re not sure, send a preview of the survey to a smart friend who works elsewhere. If they’re confused, rewrite. Your customers may use your product daily but still not recognize what you call certain features.)
  6. Have you limited yourself to 2 or fewer freeform write-in questions?
  7. If you referred to a feature or function, have you also included a screenshot so that the respondent feels confident that they know what you’re talking about?
  8. If you promised survey respondents an incentive, did you provide a place for them to input their contact information?
  9. Did you ask permission to send follow-up questions or contact them for future research?
  10. Does the survey end with a thank you message?