How to get customer feedback with surveys and polls

How to get customer feedback with surveys and polls

One of the most important things you can do to grow your business is get feedback from your customers.

If you don’t know what your customers are looking for and why, no amount of tweaks to your site will have much of an effect. To find out the right headlines, media, content, and even product features your customers want, all you need to do is ask. Armed with that data, you can a/b test your site copy, onboarding processes, and marketing materials to increase conversions.

There are several ways to get feedback, including live user testing with friends and family, talking to customers on the phone or in person, and online surveys and polls. We’ll be focusing on surveys and polls, since they are the easiest to implement.


There are lots of tools out there you can use to create your surveys and polls. Qualaroo, Survey Monkey, and HotJar all provide these services.

I recently started using HotJar, which allows you to create polls and surveys for free. Even the paid plan is affordable, in contrast to Qualaroo, which is pretty expensive. I’d recommend HotJar, but no matter which service you use, it’s important to start gathering data as soon as possible.


Source: HotJar

Source: HotJar

Polls are unobtrusive popups that ask 1-2 questions that are usually context-specific. You can target the page or pages for each poll, and even the delay or user action that triggers it.

Polls work great for finding out problems or omissions from your website pages, or getting an answer to a quick question. For example, on we wanted to find out the role of our website visitors, so we could know what type of copy we should be using. We created a poll that asked “What is your job title?” and offered a multiple choice question that contained Developer, Designer, Business/Marketing, and Other.

It’s important with both polls and surveys that you test a hypothesis, instead of just blindly asking questions. The main point for us was to prove our hypothesis that our audience was largely made up of developers. The result was that 61.9% of respondents chose “Developer.” Now we can be confident that we should write more copy that is focused on features, improve our documentation, and get more technical.

Here are some tips and ideas for your polls.

1-2 Questions Max

Use polls to test a hypothesis or gather data quickly, use surveys if you need to ask multiple questions. You’ll get a lot more responses with a single question, the more you add, the less responses you’ll get.

Try open-ended questions

Multiple-choice questions work great for some data, but an empty textarea can surprise you. Keeping things open-ended helps remove some of your personal biases on how you think customers might answer, and often results in the best information.

Use page targeting wisely

In the case of both surveys and polls, don’t bombard your customers the second they reach your site. Use delays of 10 seconds or more, and don’t put them on your homepage. You want to get data from people who are really digging into your content, not the tire-kickers who don’t have anything helpful to say.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if you get a response like this (real response from one of my surveys):

What’s your biggest concern?

Websites that pop up boxes and want my opinion on things when I’ve only just arrived to take a look–that’s the biggest concern I have. How about giving me a chance to look around before bugging me?

Nobody likes a popup, but unfortunately it’s one of the best ways we have to gather data.

Ideas for Poll Questions

  • What is your job title?
  • Is there anything missing from this page?
  • Is there anything preventing you from purchasing today?
  • How would you rate this documentation? (1-10)
  • Are there any questions you didn’t get answered on this page?



Everybody loves a good survey, right?

Even though I hate surveys and almost never fill them out, some people do. Even if only .01% of your visitors fill out your survey, if you leave it up long enough you’ll get some great data.

Surveys work better than polls for multiple questions, but it’s a little bit harder to get responses. Here are some tips for a good survey.

Ask Questions You’ll Use Answers To

This advice comes from copywriter Joanna Wiebe. Your copy should have specific things it addresses, such as pain points, benefits, and features. By asking those questions directly to your audience, you can then use it in your copy.

One example question Joanna uses is:

What problem would you say [your company or product name] eliminates or lessens for you?

The answer to that question can be directly used in your site copy.

Be Open-Ended

Just like with polls, open-ended questions are important, and can help you gather better data. Your customers will write-in stuff you never expected them to say, which can lead to epiphanies about your business.

Use the Responses in Your Copy

It’s important that you speak the same language as your customer, and the best way to do that is to use the exact words they give you. For example, if you see the words security and performance multiple times in your survey responses, put that in your headline.

[Your product] is the best way to increase security and performance…


If you are having a difficult time getting responses, you can offer a discount, or free download in exchange for filling out the survey. The information you get is well worth a small drop in revenue over the short term.

Sample Survey Questions

  • When did you realize you needed a product like ours?
  • Why did you choose our company?
  • What is your biggest concern with our product?
  • What is the #1 reason you purchased our product?
  • What other companies did you consider before purchasing?
  • What is the biggest problem our product/company solves for you?

Get Started

Getting quality customer feedback may be the single most important thing you do to increase conversions, whether that’s getting more traffic, or increasing sales. Without it, you can’t make informed decisions on new content, ads, new product features, or a/b testing.

Tools like HotJar and Survey Monkey allow you to get started collecting responses for free. You don’t have to get your questions and page targeting perfect right away, the important thing is to get started.

Have you been successful with surveys and polls? Let me know in the comments.


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