Have you ever thought to yourself, “It’d be super helpful to get feedback directly from my customers” or, “I wonder how my employees are feeling as we near the end of the year?”
Getting this type of insight into your customers, clients, or team members can be incredibly valuable. And there’s a pretty straightforward way to connect directly with your target group — online surveys. Through surveys, respondents can give you insight and feedback that you can incorporate into future decisions.
Many online survey tools offer free versions, or are entirely free to use. Let’s take a look at a few different options, and then we’ll cover some questions you may have about getting started. Let’s begin!
5 tools for creating a free online survey
Surveys can give you deeper insight than you can gain through social media interaction. Send out an email with a questionnaire to get direct input from your most dedicated audience, or embed a feedback survey on your website for visitors to share their user experience.
Here are some of the top options for survey platforms you can use to gather survey data and conduct market research, listed alphabetically.
AskNicely is a free survey tool online that allows you to gather Net Promoter Score (NPS) data. NPS are often used as customer satisfaction surveys. Respondents answer questions on a scale from 1-10, which can yield insight that helps you know if customers are happy with their experience on your website.
AskNicely offers integrations with customer workflow options like MailChimp, Zapier, and others. This allows survey creators to assess customer satisfaction in real-time.
Unfortunately, AskNicely does not publicly share their pricing structure on the website. You can try a free demo, and from there, speak with a representative to learn more about what you can expect to pay.
2. Google Forms
The Google suite is one of the best collections of collaborative tools available, and Google Forms meets expectations as one of the best free online survey tools.
Google Sheets automatically stores the responses it gathers from Google Forms, but you can also export the data to Excel or another database.
One of the downsides of Google Forms is that if respondents do not log into a Google Workspace account, they can respond to the same survey multiple times. This may skew your responses. However, it is an entirely free survey maker that is intuitive for both the survey creator and respondents.
Google Forms has fewer templates and limited survey design elements compared to other options on this list. However, it is entirely free for unlimited surveys.
JotForm is a very popular survey maker. What really sets it apart from other survey software is how simple it is to use while still having a lot of design flexibility. It has over 7,000 templates to choose from and integrations with over a hundred other apps.
When designing an online survey, you can drag-and-drop various widgets that allow respondents to give an e-signature, embed files, or take a photo with their webcam.
The free version of JotForm allows users to receive 100 submissions per month, access 100 MB of storage, and have up to five online forms. The pricing for the paid versions begins at $24 per month and goes up from there with additional features and more storage for larger plans.
SurveyMonkey allows users to easily craft surveys and quizzes they can use to get insight from their audience. The free version works best with short surveys of 10 or fewer questions.
While using the free version, you can access 40 survey templates that can help you craft surveys quickly and seamlessly. While creating your survey, you can check to see what it will look like on computers, tablets, or mobile devices, which can help you make sure it’s a well-crafted survey.
To access advanced features like more templates, more questions, and to accept payments directly from surveys, you will need to choose one of the paid membership options (features vary depending on the plan you select).
Membership begins at $25 per user per month. Each successive tier of membership offers new features that may be beneficial, depending on your needs.
Typeform is an online survey maker with lots of different survey templates, fonts, and colors to choose from, which you can adapt according to your branding and style.
Typeform focuses their design and questionnaire process on the user. Even in the free version, Typeform uses skip logic to let users jump ahead to the survey questions that are most relevant to them. Survey makers typically reserve skip logic for paying members, so this is a unique feature to be able to use in the free version.
The interface is simple-to-use and allows the survey creator to get a look at what respondents will see — this sneak peek can boost your confidence in your own survey’s functionality.
The free version maxes out at 10 questions per survey, but if you want to ask unlimited questions of your audience, you can opt for one of the paid versions. The pricing for these begin at $25 per month when purchasing a year at a time and go up from there to allow more users and additional features such as being able to add your own logo, integrate Google Analytics, and survey more users.
What should I use: Polls or quizzes?
Polls and quizzes both have their pros and cons. Different question types can show you different types of customer feedback. Typically, surveys include more information than polls, while polls are quicker and easier to answer. In theory, you may get more answers via a poll but more in-depth information from a survey.
Opt for using a survey to get more detailed input. This means that survey responses may take longer to analyze and may have lower response rates since they take respondents longer to fill out.
Polls, on the other hand, are more straightforward for respondents. Likely most of the questions will be either yes/no or multiple choice. Polls are much easier to turn into percentage analyses than surveys are, and therefore can be simpler to integrate into your organization’s strategy.
How should I analyze survey responses?
After getting the results, make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to use the information you’ve gathered! If you’re gauging employee experience via a survey, for example, you will use the survey results differently than if you are getting insight on customer experience.
As a survey creator, you may choose to send the questionnaire out to segmented audiences to get survey responses from target demographics or have it as a pop-up on the website and gather information from anyone who visits the page.
Regardless of how many people receive the survey, having a plan for what you need to learn through it ahead of time will help you be more intentional about how you craft the questions.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you as you start building your survey:
- What am I looking to learn?
- What will I change based on the information I gather?
- How much time can I and my team afford to spend analyzing the responses (this may influence whether you choose a survey or a poll)?
Having a clear idea of what information you need and how you will use it can help you create a plan for analyzing the survey data.
How can I get people to respond to my survey?
Getting website visitors, dedicated customers, or employees to respond to a survey can be challenging. Consider incentivising them with a discount code or access to a special feature as your way of saying “thank you” for their time and insight.
Here are some ideas of ways you can increase your survey response rates:
- Make sure everything is running smoothly — people are likely not going to take an online survey that’s glitchy or has spelling errors that make it hard to understand. Before sending out the survey link to your whole mailing list, do a test-run to make sure everything is functioning smoothly.
- Give a coupon discount code — this has the added bonus that it may increase the respondent’s likelihood of purchasing something from you!
- When you send out the survey, tell the recipients that if they respond, they will automatically enter a giveaway — people love the chance to win a fun prize! Let them know what day the raffle will happen and what they can win (it could be anything from an Amazon gift card to a free consultation with you).
- Help people understand why the survey is benefiting them — when people can see that their input makes a difference, they are more likely to respond to the survey. Once you’ve gathered the input from a survey, let your respondents know how their insight is shaping the future of your company.
There are lots of different approaches you can take to communicate with your customers or employees. Creating an interactive pop-up or embedding a survey in your newsletter can help you get feedback directly from the recipients on what they love and how they’d like to see things change.
After you conduct an online survey, let your respondents know that you value their input by making changes based on the information you gather.