How to Create a Market Survey

Developing a well-designed market survey questionnaire will ensure that you get the information you need about your target market. These surveys can be conducted in writing, in person, via e-mail or over the phone.

Develop a standard set of questions. Ask potential customers what they like/dislike about your product or service. Ask them if they would buy the product or service. Ask them about their buying habits.

Create a simple form. Use multiple-choice or yes/no questions. Have respondents answer the questions in the same order.

Make your written survey easy to read. Double- or triple-space the text. Use broad, white margins on the top, bottom and sides of the document. Keep it simple by sticking with black ink on white paper.

Identify who should fill out your survey. Figure out the demographic you want to target. You can buy mailing lists from market-research companies.

Give your respondents time to answer. Don't rush them or answer questions for them.


  • Make sure that your questions are brief and clear. Test your questions on friends and family before you write up the survey. Make sure they completely understand the questions. Introduce only one issue per question. Divide complex issues into individual questions. For example, instead of asking "Where do you buy computer equipment and software?" which may result in two different locations, ask "Where do you buy computer equipment?" and "Where do you buy software?" Ask yes/no questions. While these answers are easy to tabulate, they may not provide as much insight into the respondent's habits. Be sure to follow up yes/no answers by asking "why?" Review a market survey from a similar business or product, if possible, before you develop yours. This might help you come up with more specific questions.


  • Be careful in the way you phrase questions. You don't want to bias your respondents' answers. Instead of asking a question like, "Would you go to a shop that's surrounded by other businesses and lots of traffic?" ask, "Would you go to a shop that is stand-alone -- that is, one that is by itself instead of in a mall?" Avoid "not" questions. This type of question could cause people to give double-negative answers. For example, a question such as, "Would you not buy a used car online?" might result in an answer like, "No, I wouldn't not buy a used car online," which means that the respondent would like to buy a car online.

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