How to Narrow Down Your Target Audience for an Online Survey

Tips to consider when determining who you should send your survey to.

Surveys are an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to get valuable insights from your target audience. But how do you know who you should be surveying in the first place?

Selecting a target audience is usually considered to be a straightforward task to some - but are you truly getting your survey in front of the right people? In many cases, survey creators don’t understand the impacts of not ensuring data quality by not thinking through who is taking the survey, their mindset, their biases and more. Defining your ideal audience is one of the most important factors that will go into seeing success with your survey results. A quality audience will help you maintain quality data that’s backed by a well documented respondent selection process. 

Here’s what you need to know about narrowing down your survey respondents and why asking thorough screening questions is so important. 

Finding Your Ideal Respondents 

When selecting your target audience, start by thinking about who would be most likely to have relevant opinions and insights on the topic of your survey. Consider whether your survey should focus on age, gender, geographic location, interests, or any other demographic information. If your survey is for research purposes or if you plan to use the data for marketing purposes later on, it's important to make sure that the people taking part are representative of the population as a whole, or the population of the demographic you need to specifically talk to. Consider working with a partner who will help you define and find your ideal audience, and leverage pre-qualification surveys to ensure you are only sending your final survey to an audience that is relevant to your work, and prepared to take the time necessary to give you data that’s honest, high quality and is sourced from appropriate channels.

When thinking about your audience, consider: 

  • Who is my target demographic? 
  • What respondent geographies are ideal? 
  • What expectations should I set for my participants about the survey (survey length, goals, objectives..etc) 
  • What value do my respondents get in return? Should I provide an incentive or reward? 
  • What bias do I want to remove from respondents? Should I ask questions to verify their bias?
  • What percentage (%) of error am I considering? How does that impact how specific my respondent pool needs to be? 

Once you have determined who might be best suited to take part in your survey, create a questionnaire or screener that will help you further narrow down who responds. This is where asking thorough screening questions comes into play; by making sure that only those who fit into your target demographic answer the survey, you'll get more accurate results and avoid wasting time talking to people who don’t meet the criteria you want. It’s also important at this stage to verify data quality and stop any respondent fraud. We’ve found leveraging voice response questions is a great way to verify users, and ensure only qualified stakeholders are participating in your study. 

Build your screener survey or pre-qualification questionnaire with tools that remove fraud and unqualified respondents. 

Qualification surveys are so important to ensure only the right participants make it to your survey. When developing your screener survey, you’ll need to ensure the tools you leverage provide ways to effectively qualify your respondents, and include abilities to properly track users, screen out unqualified users and verify their qualifications and identity. Consider Voiceform for your next qualification survey, as we offer just that! Plus the added benefit of being able to directly connect you with your target audience through our global audience capabilities, and verify their qualifications with engaging voice response options. 

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