Winning Online Survey Design Tips

Winning Online Survey Design Tips

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Designing your online survey is as critical as the questions you're asking. Why? A wonky design hinders customers' responses and pushes them to exit the survey without finishing. If the design of your survey is on point, you'll have happier customers and critical data.

Sure, there are some intrepid customers that may plunder through your crappy survey but the data you'll collect will be incomplete.

Also, you may think that since you're using a survey software system you're protected from any design flaws, but, sadly, you're wrong. The best survey software – whether its freeware or paid – allows you to customize your design, along with tailoring your questions and answers to meet your needs.

Survey templates aren't always a sure thing, contrary to popular marketing beliefs.

Regardless of whether you're creating your online survey from scratch or editing a template, design is key.

Though there are truly two ways in which surveys are distributed nowadays – email and online – we're going to tackle email-based surveys first. In this post, we're going to touch upon design ideas for online-based surveys.

So, let's dive in!

Subject Lines

As we've all learned from our email marketing campaigns, subject lines are crucial to open rates. If your subject line is blah, then you're risking your open rate, along with conversion, click-through and other critical rates.

With online surveys, the same thought process going into writing your email marketing campaign subject lines applies to your surveys.

Simply, if your subject line isn't alluring, then no one will open it (except for the scant few that really don't have anything better to do).

So, to write an amazing and "winning" subject line for your next survey, consider these tips:

  • Start with your incentive: "Enter to Win a $500 Gift Card When You Tell Us What You Think!"
  • Ask a silly question (because they'll silently ask "Wah?" and open it): "Do You Prefer Ostriches or Emus? Receive a 10% Discount When You Answer."
  • Appeal to their humanity: "Answer a Few Questions and We'll Donate $10,000 to the ASPCA."

Sender Information

Similarly to email marketing campaigns, it matters who is "sending" the email. Typically, emails sent with a living and breathing person attached, garner more opens than an email sent with a company's name or some other equally anonymous sender.

Though you may think that sender information or even subject lines aren't really a design thing. Design starts with intention and it extends beyond pretty pictures or flashy graphics. Essentially, you design a first impression, and if a customer sees a real person attached to the survey, then they'll understand that their response is crucial. Really, people want to know if their answers go to a person who can do something about it rather than an automated service that spits out their responses.

Considering that, here are some "winning" suggestions to help you along:

• Use a real name as a sender: "John Q. Marketer"

• Use a top person (with permission!): "Jane Smith, President"

• Set-up a real email account for the sender to ask questions regarding the survey: "" instead of "".


Everyone knows that basic human nature dictates that to not do something out of the goodness of our hearts or charitable feelings. Human nature, at the most basic level, propels us that in exchange for something, we get something in return.

Sure, there are people that will self-sacrifice and respond to your online survey without any form of enticement, but, really, the majority of users want something for our time and effort.

Incentives are an amazing way to not only satisfy our base instincts but also to gather critical data on performance.

Your incentive must be good. Really good. 10% off something isn't going to cut it because it usually equates to an insignificant amount. People are lazy and are always after a great deal. Make a financial sacrifice if you have to, but offer something substantial in return. 25% off works as well as a chance to win some money.

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