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Customer Insight, Online Survey, Research

How To Create a SMART Survey Design

Creating a survey takes time and effort – if you expect to get results. There are many things to consider, such as the look and feel of the survey, the question wording and order, who you’ll send it to, and the best time to send it. So, to be sure you get the most bang for your buck (and your time), it’s a good idea to create a SMART survey, based on the concept of SMART goals.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each component of the SMART framework works together to accomplish a goal that is well thought out, clear to everyone involved, and trackable when it comes to analyzing results. It’s not uncommon for companies to set goals that are difficult to achieve because they are too vague, too aggressive, or just poorly framed. Trying to reach these goals, then, becomes very frustrating. However, by using SMART goals, a framework for success can be reached.

Components of SMART Goals

Let’s dive a little deeper into the acronym itself and look at what each word that makes up the SMART acronym really means.

S: Specific

Goals need to be as clear as possible. Broad goals are likely to be too lofty, so it’s important to narrow them down as much as possible. The narrower they become, the more you’ll come to understand the path to achieving them.

M: Measurable

You need to be able to measure your goal in order to understand your progress. Rather than one ultimate goal, you may also want to set milestones along the way to give you the opportunity to evaluate how you’re doing and make course corrections if necessary. 

A: Achievable

Goals need to be achievable, otherwise, they simply set you up for failure. So, make sure your goal is challenging but reasonable in order to stay focused and motivated. Before you begin working toward a goal, decide whether it’s something you can accomplish or whether there are other steps that need to be taken first in order to get there.

R: Relevant

Goals need to be relevant, meaning they must align with your values and your bigger long-term goals. If a goal doesn’t add to your broader objectives, it may need to be revamped in order to make it worthwhile and get other team members on board.

T: Time-based

How long will it take to reach your goal? It could take longer than expected or it may be achieved sooner than expected. Either way, it’s still important to set an end date to provide motivation and help you prioritize. If you run past the end date, consider why it has taken longer than anticipated or what roadblocks slowed you down. If you beat the end date, give yourself a pat on the back and make note of everything you did right so you can duplicate it in the future.

What is a SMART Survey Design?

A SMART survey design is all about applying the SMART goal concept to your surveys and survey questions. The best way to see how this works is with some survey design best practices and examples.

SMART Survey Example 1

The goal: A company wants to better understand how customers feel about its new rebranding efforts. Applying the SMART goal methodology, the plan may look as follows:

  • Specific: To determine whether the new rebranding is a hit or a miss with customers.
  • Measurable: Must get at least 500 surveys completed to gain a reasonable idea of people’s response to the rebranding. Assuming an industry average response rate for external respondents of 15%, about 3,000 surveys will need to be sent in order to measure results.
  • Achievable: The goal can be achieved through online surveys. If not enough surveys are returned via email, pop-up surveys on the website can fill in the gaps.
  • Relevant: Understanding how people feel about the new rebranding effort will allow the company to roll out national campaigns if the response is positive or rethink the effort if the response is negative.
  • Time-based: Surveys must be completed by the end of quarter 2 so a national rebranding effort can begin in Q3 (or, it can be halted if the response is negative).

SMART Survey Example 2

The goal: A school district wants to know how high school students feel about virtual learning after COVID-19. Applying the SMART goal methodology, the plan may look as follows:

  • Specific: To understand whether students are open to virtual learning even after the pandemic.
  • Measurable: Must get at least 1000 surveys completed to gain a reasonable idea of high school students’ thoughts on virtual learning. Assuming an industry average response rate for internal respondents of 40%, 2,500 surveys will need to be sent in order to measure results.
  • Achievable: The goal can be achieved through online surveys. If not enough surveys are returned via email, cafeteria and library kiosk surveys can capture more responses.
  • Relevant: Understanding how students feel about virtual learning will allow the district to determine whether online classes are a viable option in the future.
  • Time-based: Surveys must be completed by the end of the school year so that virtual classes can be implemented or shelved by the following school year.

Conclusion

To make the most of your surveys, it’s important to follow the rules of SMART goals. That is, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Another smart move? Use SurveyLegend for all your online surveying needs and be sure to download our free ebook on how to design survey questions. Our survey templates are beautifully pre-designed, making it easy for you to get started as soon as you have your goals set (check out some of our survey design examples here). Plus, you’ll get real-time data, making it easy to measure your results. With SurveyLegend, your surveys simply become smarter! Do you follow the SMART methodology when creating your surveys? Which component of SMART do you think is the most valuable when surveying people? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does SMART goals stand for?
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
 
What are SMART goals?
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. By applying this methodology, people and companies can accomplish goals that are thorough, clear, and trackable.
 
What is SMART survey design?
A SMART survey design applies the SMART methodology to surveys to help ensure acceptable results. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
About the Author

Jasko Mahmutovic

Born entrepreneur, passionate leader, motivator, great love for UI & UX design, strong believer in "less is more”. Big advocate of bootstrapping. BS in Logistics Service Management. I don't create company environments, I create family and team environments.

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