Five tips for successful, global web surveys

It seems like everyone is running a web survey these days.

While I appreciate the importance of asking your website visitors what they think, too many of these surveys are poorly implemented.

So here are five tips to consider before launching your web survey…

1. Make it worth my while

I used to love to participate in focus groups. But I didn’t do it just to be nice (and get a sneak peak at new products). The focus groups paid me for my time.

On the Internet, most web surveys offer little (or nothing) in exchange for my time.

Consider this plea from Twitter, which attempts to coax you with cuteness into participating:

Twitter survey

Facebook doesn’t even try to be cute. But, like Twitter, nothing in exchange for my time:

Facebook survey

Why, Facebook?

Why should I give you 3-4 minutes of my time? (Or, to be honest, an additional 3-4 minutes of my time.)

I’m not suggesting you must pay people to get them to participate. But offer them something. A chance to win a gift certificate or free product is always a nice incentive.

Some surveys will tell me they want my feedback to help them improve my user experience. This isn’t much, but it’s something. And it displays an understanding that my time has value and that the company appreciates it. The New York Times does  that:

New York Times web survey

And how about offering to share the results of your survey with your respondents? This too would be something of value that many of your respondents might appreciate. I certainly would.

2. Speak my language

During the production of The Web Globalization Report Card, I visited a few hundred websites. Roughly 35% of these websites featured a web survey, though only a small fraction of these websites offered surveys in the local user’s language. For example, as shown below, a visitor to the Texas Instruments Russia website encounters a pop-up survey in English.

Texas instruments survey in Russia

Perhaps the company was targeting English-speaking web users in Russia, though I doubt it. Most companies simply overlook non-English speaking markets when they launch “global” web surveys.

Fortunately a few companies do invest in localizing their web surveys.Best Buy localized its survey for its Spanish-language website, shown here:

Best Buy Survey in Spanish

So the lesson here is simple: If you’re planning a global web survey, invest in making it truly global.

And keep in mind that localizing a survey is not simply a matter of translation. Questions may need to be completely rewritten, added or deleted.

3. Be brief

The following survey, which I encountered last year, is so text-heavy and complex that I  wonder who actually bothers to participate.

Gillette survey

And how valuable is the feedback from someone who has the spare time to navigate such a survey request, let alone the survey?

4. Don’t block navigation

As you can see below, a web survey overlay on the Siemens website blocks my ability to select a country website.

Now let’s suppose I don’t speak English and I just want to get to my country website.

Siemens web survey

Clearly, overlays are designed to not be ignored. But consideration should be given to web users who may not speak the language of the global home page.

These people are simply trying to move along to their localized websites and web surveys can be very disruptive.

5. Don’t be creepy

Microsoft web survey

I think surveys that interrupt you with a pop-up when you first visit and then promise to interrupt you again when you leave the website are a bit creepy.

Most people don’t like the idea of being watched online and this feels like that — like someone hovering too close while you use the ATM machine.

And how about this one from LG:

LG web survey

This message implies that LG somehow knows how to get in touch with me via email or text.

I realize this isn’t the case but I’m not sure all web users will know this.

Bonus Tip: Test your survey on friends and family

Too often we launch surveys and promotions without asking a few simple questions:

  • Would my mom or dad bother to take this survey?
  • Would my significant other?
  • Would my child?
  • Would I take the time to complete it?

It doesn’t matter if these people aren’t your “target” web users. Because everyone’s a web user these days. Everyone’s busy. And everyone is encountering web surveys.

If the answers to these questions are NO, then find out how to get them to YES. Often this process alone will help you address many of the points mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

Free Webinar: The Leading Global Retailers (and why)

The Leading Global Retailers and Why

I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday for a free one-hour webinar (sponsored by Lionbridge).

I will talk about my research on the retail industry, focusing on companies like Amazon, Apple, and Best Buy. You’ll get a better understanding of just why retail is so challenging from a global perspective and how to minimize risks.

April 4, 2013
12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time | 17:00 Greenwich Mean Time

UPDATE: The call is now available for replay here.

Navigating the multilingual web: The Art of the Global Gateway


In 1999, I first used the term “global gateway.”

At the time, I was referring to a company’s “select language” pull-down menu.

Needless to say, the term stuck. But it has also evolved. Today, a global gateway is so much more than a pull-down menu. It is an umbrella term for the visual and technical elements you employ to direct users to their localized web sites and applications.

Well executed, the global gateway functions like a multilingual tour guide, helping people find exactly where they need to go. As companies add languages to their web sites and mobile apps, the importance of the global gateway is sure to grow.

Which is why I’m pleased to announce the second edition of The Art of the Global Gateway.

What people appreciated about the first edition was the wealth of real-world examples — both good and not so good. Included in this new edition are global gateways from more than 30 companies, including: Bank of America, Best Buy, Caterpillar, Dymo, Dyson, Emirates, Evian, Facebook, GE, Honda, Nike, and Starbucks.

This new edition is nearly twice the size of the first edition. That’s because I’ve included some new best practices that have emerged over the years. I’ve also added new sections that address how global gateway concepts apply to mobile web sites and apps, as well as social media. For example, how do you ensure that people find your French Twitter feed or your Japanese Facebook page? Multilingual navigation isn’t just about web pages. Finally, this book includes a case study that illustrates how global gateways evolve over time, as companies add languages and country/regions.

The Art of the Global Gateway is now available in PDF format and is also now available in print and Kindle format from Amazon.

Best global retail web site: IKEA

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted findings from the 2010 Web Globalization Report Card, but I did want to include a brief note on the retail sector.

We define this industry segment to include those retailers (and a few food/beverage chains) that have a physical presence in the countries in which they do business. This excludes a company such as Amazon, and it greatly narrows the selection of global web sites, as most “bricks and mortar” retailers have been slow to expand into new markets. For bricks and mortar retailers, the world is not quite as flat as it is for their virtual competitors. To illustrate, the average number of languages supported by the retail web sites we studied was 13, well below the overall average of 22.

We included 11 retailers in the 2010 Web Globalization Report Card.

The Web Globalization Report Card is an annual benchmark of how effectively companies internationalize and localize their web sites and applications for the world. It is now in its sixth edition.

Of the 11 retailers studied, IKEA emerged on top.

IKEA is no stranger to the top spot. It was an early leader in this space and has done an amazing job of balancing global consistency with local flexibility in every market it enters. IKEA was also one of the first multinationals to use a splash global gateway — which it still uses today (FYI: if you want to learn more about global gateways, check out the brand new edition of The Art of the Global Gateway).

Starbucks made significant improvements over the past two years, and adding eight new languages. Starbucks has also beenagressive in embracing social media around the world. For example, its German Facebook page — Starbucks Deutschland — has more than 175,000 followers (it gained more than 100,000 followers in the last seven months).

Best Buy has done an excellent job with its US Spanish web site, blogs, and community forums.

It will be an interesting site to watch over the next year as the company expands into Europe.

Here is the full list of retailers included in the 2010 Web Globalization Report Card:

  • Best Buy
  • Build a Bear
  • Godiva
  • H&M
  • Home Depot
  • IKEA
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Tiffany
  • Wal-Mart