The Key to Annoyance-Free Website Surveys That Get Results No one visits your website for the express purpose of telling you how they think you're doing. They are there to see what you can offer them, not the other way around.

By Mikal E. Belicove

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Key to Annoyance-Free Website SurveysThere are plenty of annoying distractions online, and chief among them are pop-up surveys. Adding insult to inconvenience is that these pop-ups require instant action: You either have to click something to make it go away, or click to participate.

Either way, these irritations distract website visitors from their primary purpose, which should be your primary purpose, and that's getting them what they were seeking in the first place.

Surveys, when presented unobtrusively, can offer valuable insight to your business, enabling you to keep your finger on the pulse of your target audience's wants and needs.

Jerry Chrisman, president and CEO of Grip Media, says clients are increasingly asking his Portland, Ore.-based web-development and design firm to create pop-up surveys, requests he frequently advises against. He says visitors' distaste for pop-ups on the web is surpassed only by their distaste for spam.

Related: 5 Tips for Making Your Website More Social

Here's what Chrisman recommends to businesses intent on conducting surveys:

  • Don't put a survey on your homepage. Move it inside your website. Don't spring pop-ups on unsuspecting site visitors. Instead, introduce them in a promo that explains what they're about.
  • Offer an incentive. Offer a reward for taking a survey, something people actually want. Suggestions include drawings for iPods and $100 Visa gift cards. Don't offer things that cheapen the effort, like a free subscription to your site or $5 off a purchase of $500 or more.
  • Be selective with your "friends." You'll get better responses from motivated and interested customers, people who have demonstrated interest in your brand by opting in to receive your enewsletter or who have "liked" you or followed you on social utilities like Facebook or Twitter. Asking those people for feedback, instead of random strangers who visit your site once, is bound to produce more useful results.
  • Keep it social: They don't call it survey fatigue for nothing, so if you insist on having a pop-up survey, tell your customers how it will help them, not just you. Consider making it humorous. And keep it short with three to five questions so visitors can get back to why they came to your website in the first place.

Related: Five Affordable Consumer Research Tools

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

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