App of the Day
Customer Engagement Software January 30, 2014

Best Online Survey Tools

Companies are always on the lookout for market research. One of the most popular ways to get the research is through online surveys. But as a small business, how do you get started making online surveys, and which sites offers the best deals and options? To answer this question let's explore a few options for both the best free and paid survey making sites.

For many, paying to make surveys can be out of the budget. A great place to start for free survey making is:

LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey Review

LimeSurvey is a free and open source survey tool application. Unlike most free options, LimeSurvey offers many payed-plan benefits such as allowing for surveys to have both an unlimited amount of questions as well as unlimited amount of responses. They also allow for up to 14 different question types. A great feature they also offer is later editing. Say a question you created was worded incorrectly and is not getting the type of answers you want. Later editing allows for you to go in and change it without removing the survey and starting over completely. Being an open source program, means the app will always be changing and will always remain free. If open source worries you or LimeSurvey doesn't look like the right fit, another great option is Survey Gizmo.

Features Include:

  • Unlimited Questions
  • Unlimited Responses
  • 14 Types of Questions
  • Later Editing
  • Open Source, Constantly Evolving

Survey Gizmo

Survey Gizmo Review

Survey Gizmo is very similar like LimeSurvey, except they are not open source. This means pricing and availability can change, but also the software is strictly monitored. Depending on what you want this could be a good or bad thing. If the non open source route is the way you want to go, Survey Gizmo is definitely a great option. Their free option allows for unlimited questions with up to 350 responses per month. Unfortunately the free package only offers 8 different question types as opposed to LimeSurvey's 14. But if you are willing to pay at all, the features of Survey Gizmo quickly outweigh LimeSurvey.

Survey Gizmo not only offers a free package, they also have three different levels of paid options. Here are the package options:

The Basic Package: $19 per month

  • Unlimited Responses
  • Survey Templates 
  • Phone and E-Mail Support

The Pro Package: $75 per month

  • All of the Basic Package 
  • Customization of Themes
  • In-Depth and Advanced Reports

The Enterprise Package: $159 per month

  • Everything From Basic + Pro
  • Professional Training 
  • Client Management 
  • Multiple Teams 
  • 5 User Seats.

The Pro package does offer more than the basic package, but is not necessarily a great deal. If you are going to step up above the Basic Package, the best route would be to fork out the extra cash and splurge on the Enterprise Package.

The Enterprise package package is quite pricey, but  even at $159 per month, it is a far better option then the Pro package, especially for small businesses. By having 5 user seats, you will be able to build a small team around market research all with access to the site through one payment making it cost effective and easy. If your needs exceed what is available in the free or Basic options, then skip the Pro and go for the Enterprise.

Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey Review

Another great option to look into is Survey Monkey. Like Survey Gizmo they offer numerous packages ranging from free to Platinum and Enterprise. The prices are a little more reasonable then Survey Gizmo, but once you reach the enterprise level, they are quite comparable. Just like Survey Gizmo, Survey Monkey walks you through the steps of creating and implementing the surveys. A great feature that Survey Monkey adds is customized URLs for the surveys as well as automatic linking to a promotional web page after the survey is complete. Therefore as soon a user finishes the survey, they get sent to the promo page. On this page you can add links to another site or survey, or even have special links for promotional items. The latter of the two is a great way to entice users to actually take the survey.  Basic (Free Version) features include: 10 questions per survey, 100 responses per survey, Real-Time Results, and Email Support.

Select Plan: $17 per month

  • All of the Basic Features
  • Unlimited Questions and Responses
  • Custom Survey Design
  • Skip Logic and Other Advanced Features

Gold Plan: $25 per month

  • All of Basic + Select Plans
  • Custom Redirect After Survey
  • Even More Advanced Logic Features
  • Text Analysis on "Open Responses"

Platinum Plan: $65 per month

  • All Gold, Select, and Basic Features
  • Complete Brand Control with Research.net
  • HIPAA-compliant Features
  • Full / Expert Phone Support

Key issue these products overlook: 

How do these small businesses without major coverage or popularity get people to take their surveys? 

One great way is to offer promotional items to those that complete the survey in full. Whether it is free samples or services, this can help drive traffic towards the survey. This is why a site like Survey Monkey carries so much value. By automatically directing users to a promo site after the survey is complete, this takes away from you having to worry about reaching out to users by looking through reports of who has and hasn't taken the survey.

What it all boils down to is if you want a free service or not. LimeSurvey is by far the best free option, but it is open source and a little more difficult to learn. Survey Gizmo offers a free, yet limited, service as well if LimeSurvey isn't the right fit. Of course if your budget allows for some money to be put into survey making, then the enterprise solutions from both Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo are great options to look at.

Have any questions about survey makers? Feel free to voice your questions opinions in the comments below.

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