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Small Business Tools and Considerations for Developing Surveys

How often do you survey your customers or prospects?

Surveys are a great way to engage your customers and prospects and get valuable feedback to help you improve your offerings. I typically recommend surveying your customers and prospects at least once a year. Depending on the nature of your business or non-profit, surveys could be delivered on a more frequent basis.

With many free online survey tools to choose from, it's never been easier to get critical feedback to ensure you are meeting the needs of your target audience.

I've outlined below three free online survey tool options and additional considerations for your team as you develop a survey.

Three FREE Popular online survey tools:

  1. SurveyMonkey. Provides a good basic user-friendly tool to collect feedback. With the basic (free) plan, you can create and send a survey with up to 10 questions or elements (including question types, descriptive text, or images). If you need to upgrade to use a feature, you’ll see a notification in your account. You can collect as many responses as you want for free, with view-only access to 40 responses per survey. Extra responses over your response limit aren't viewable, and each response over the limit will be deleted 60 days after it's received.

  2. Google forms. Offers a free basic option for anyone with a Google account. You can use it to build as many surveys as you need, ask as many questions as you want, and collect responses from as many people as are willing to take your survey. Google Forms doesn't really support customization, especially brand-specific other than uploading an image or logo to the header. It also doesn't offer as many survey template options as SurveyMonkey, but can be a good option to get started.

  3. Microsoft forms. MS Forms for personal use is available today and complements existing offerings for business and education. It is free for anyone with a Microsoft account, with premium features such as an expanded number of respondents and more templates available to Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family subscribers. With Forms, you can easily create, run, and analyze the results of your surveys and quizzes. Leveraging built-in intelligence, Forms does the heavy lifting for you by making smart template suggestions as you go, including recommended themes, plus additional questions and answer options based on what you type in the title. provides a nice listing of additional free survey platforms here:

Additional considerations as you develop a survey.

  • Let your audience know you appreciate their time upfront.

  • Keep your questions limited to 10 and let your customers/prospects know the expected completion time.

  • Start with simpler yes/no questions or you risk losing the interest of respondents.

  • Treat responses as confidential, unless noted, to get the most candid feedback.

  • Consider offering an incentive for completion such as an entry into a drawing for a $25 or $50 gift card.

  • Only ask about one service or product per question.

  • Have an objective person review a draft of the survey to ensure it is error-free and clear to understand.

  • Thank respondents for their time.

  • Survey distinct audiences such as clients and prospects separately to get the most usable results.

If you have never officially surveyed your clients or prospects, now is the time. The free tools above are fairly simple to set up and help you get the feedback you need to remain competitive and grow.


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At It's All About the How Marketing Consulting we offer expert marketing support and practical tools to help improve your brand awareness and results. We can help with all aspects of your small business or non-profit marketing needs from developing strategic marketing plans to weekly blog content. You can reach us at or check out our website at

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