a href=”http://checkbox.site.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/check.jpg”>Your doctor doesn't make a diagnosis without running all the necessary tests. Air traffic control won't clear an aircraft for takeoff without double checking the runway. With your business and reputation on the line, why should you be any less thorough when launching your surveys? Sure, online surveys may not be a matter of life and death, but that's no excuse to be sloppy.

The best practices below are common sense, really. But we've all forgotten (or intentionally skipped) them because we were in such a rush to launch our surveys and collect responses. The funny thing is, no matter how many times we make a mistake, whether it’s missing a typo or inviting list “A” instead of list “B”, we continue to prematurely deploy surveys before double checking for obvious errors. The best way to break this bad habit is with a checklist.

Even the slightest oversight could damage the credibility of your business or organization so, before clearing your next survey for launch, be sure to go through the following list of ways to avoid embarrassing mistakes:

  • Test data merge tags in emails and surveys to make sure they pipe in the correct information.
  • When setting start and end dates for surveys or when scheduling email invitations and reminders, take a second look at the AMs and PMs. You don’t want your recipients’ smartphones buzzing at one in the morning and your name to come up when they check their phones.
  • While we’re on the subject of time, make sure you consider recipients' respective time zones before scheduling email invitations. Also, make sure that your own time zone is set properly in your application's settings.
  • Test all conditional and branching logic (if any) before sharing your survey with respondents. You don’t want your data to be compromised due to a branching rule oversight that skipped all of your respondents to the end of the survey by mistake.
  • Proofread! Better yet, have a trusted colleague comb the survey copy for typos. This one is probably the most obvious, but most skipped, pre-launch “to-do.”
  • Make sure all of your essential questions and form fields are required items. If there is data you need, make sure you get it.
  • Send a test email invitation to yourself and a few colleagues to make sure it doesn't contain text in the subject or body that could be flagged as spam. Speaking of subject lines, don't forget to include one! It happens.
  • Double check your recipient email list. You really don’t want to mess this one up.
  • Include your company or organization’s website and/or contact information somewhere in your survey. You want respondents to be able to find you quickly and easily.
  • Activate your survey and double-check your active dates BEFORE sending it out. There's nothing worse than a respondent clicking on a survey link, only to be told “This survey has not been activated.”
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