The Marketer's Guide to Surveying Users

Chapter Eleven

The Best Survey Tools: How to Choose

There’s no shortage of survey tools on the market today. Quite the contrary, if you’ve been struggling to find the right survey tool then it’s most likely because of too many options rather than too few. We’ve designed this chapter to serve as your guide, cataloging the basic tools, as well as explaining how each one works and what it’s good for.

Before deciding which tools are best for you, keep in mind that they’re only as good as the person wielding them. You still have to ask the right people the right questions—these tools will simply help the process to run a lot more smoothly.


Many of these services bundle all of your survey needs into monthly or annual packages. You write the questions, and they distribute your surveys, analyze the results, and deliver the data to you—and most are browser-based, meaning you can access them from anywhere.


Even better, many of these services offer a free trial or Basic (free) package that allows you to experiment before committing to the service. This means you can figure out firsthand which service is right for you before signing on for six months or a year.

  • Qualaroo is designed to collect feedback from website visitors so that you can improve the performance of your site. It takes just a few minutes to set up and begins delivering feedback instantly. Select questions from a pre-written library or write your own; implement surveys on specific pages and target distinct user characteristics or behavior (like exit detection, browser type, and so on), to better hone in on specific issues and individual visitor’s needs. Format: On-site, including a mobile version. Price: Qualaroo offers a two week free trial, after which packages range in pricing depending on need.


  • SurveyMonkey is one of the biggest players when it comes to surveying software, and their goal is to make creating and running custom surveys as painless as possible. For custom surveys, the Basic SurveyMonkey plan will probably fulfill all of your initial needs, but if you want more customization, upgrades are available. Format: Custom url for use across multiple sites and platforms, as well as integration with services like MailChimp, GroSocial, CleverReach, and more. Price: Based on packages from Basic (free) to Premium ($780.00 annually).


  • If you’re looking to run a product/market fit survey, you could certainly build your own using one of the tools above, but Survey.io is a free, pre-built way to implement this type of survey. Format: Custom url. Price: Free


  • FluidSurveys is designed to work across multiple platforms, especially on the go. It boasts unique features, such as advanced survey logic, advanced templates, and client response panels for those lacking an established user base. Format: Users can access surveys via multiple platforms, including email invitations, tablet and mobile versions, website popups and embedded versions, a kiosk mode tailored to in-person business, and an offline version that syncs once internet connection is reestablished. Price: Packages range from Free to Ultra ($588.00 annually), with an Enterprise package that is based on a pricing estimate.


  • LimeSurvey offers hosting, support contracts, code development, individual consulting, and template and survey development at additional cost. There’s no limit to the number of surveys you create or the the amount of participants you have. Format: Browser-based survey opens in a separate window. Price: Varies according to need.


  • Polldaddy helps you create polls for your website, as well as code and analyze the results. Polldaddy also offers customizable introductory and concluding notes. Format: Embed into your website or choose from three kinds of popups. Price: Based on packages from Free to Corporate ($899.00 annually).


  • SurveyGizmo offers all the survey basics like piping, customization tools, customer support, plus a full-featured API that allows you to design and interact with the software alongside your survey. Format: Custom links, popups, and embeds, plus integration across multiple platforms, including mobile and tablet. Price: Based on packages from Free to Enterprise ($1900.00 annually).

If the basic software options don’t offer what you’re looking for, more advanced software may be a better choice for you. These advanced options provide everything the above basic packages do, plus much more in the way of customization, tools, and research capabilities.

  • Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) is an online market research tool, utilizing experts and panels worldwide to help you build your brand and better understand your target market. AYTM offers demographic targeting, psychographic filters, and promises real-time pricing and delivery guarantee. There’s a higher-level package option in which more of the responsibility is passed off to their experts. Format: Distribute your survey to your own list of contacts or survey AYTM’s 20+ million panel. Price: You have to request a pricing estimate based on your needs, but expert help begins at $995.00.


  • Key Survey specializes in custom surveys for large enterprises. Instead of using a set-interface like other software options, Key Survey will tailor one specifically for your business. Advanced options and tools include CSS for custom styling, Predictive Text Input, API, and solution specific plug ins. Format: Varies widely based on business needs. Price: Pricing estimate available upon request.


  • iPerceptions boasts “Insight Professionals” who create and implement research projects for businesses of all types. Each plan is custom built around a business’s unique needs and goals. Format: Varies widely based on business needs. Price: Packages varying from free to enterprise according to need.


  • Qualtrics offers advanced survey logic, research, and logistics, plus a handful of services based on what your business might need. If you don’t have an established customer base, Qualtrics Panels management finds your target audience, builds and monitors your sample, and then delivers the results to you. Format: Varies widely based on business needs. Price: Pricing estimate available upon request.

Though we could probably go on, the goal of this list is to provide clarity, not confusion. The above will get you off to a great start, as long as you keep in mind that there’s no “best” tool—just the right tool for the job.


We recommend that, with your survey objectives and needs in mind, you click around, watch some demo videos, and try out the free trials and basic packages these services offer.


Find a tool that not only meets your business’s survey needs, but one you’re comfortable using, with data analysis you can wrap your head around, and a format that’s easy for your customers to access.

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