Use Polls on your website

People love to share their opinions online, especially if you make it easy for them. And engaging your customers or constituents to take an action, such as answering a poll, is a sure-fire way to make them more interested in your online content.

Polls and questionnaires are a great way to increase the engagement of your online readers with your blogs, email newsletters, and web sites.

Should I use a poll or a questionnaire?

Polls require HTML or Javascript, but they are free or low-cost, and they are easy to use. Alternatively, you can post a short questionnaire on your website, blog, or email communication. The trick with questionnaires is to keep them short and to frame questions that will deliver information that your responders will want to know, not just benefit your company or organization. Questionnaires typically take more time to complete than polls, and they usually also collect some amount of personal information. Because of those barriers, questionnaires can be tricky instruments to use. The main pitfall associated with questionnaires is poor follow-up. If your readers have gone to the trouble of answering your questions, you are really obliged to tell them the results. Make that incentive up front. Tell them that you will publish the results of your questionnaire on your website, in your next blog post, or in your next email newsletter, and stick to that time-frame.

While questionnaires can be more work than polls, a short questionnaire can be a fun way to bring life to a newsletter or blog, and it can provide valuable feedback. And, as I mentioned, you don’t need a special program to write and publish a short questionnaire.

Polls Offer Instant Gratification

But what about polls? Polls are especially effective engagement tools because they involve a limited number of choices, and typically, people can see instant results. Being able to see how other people voted on a question (after answering it) increases their interest and also promotes their participation (since they are more likely to trust instant results that haven’t been “doctored.”) Polls also don’t collect personal information (although there are accuracy safeguards so that only one vote is collected per computer), which also increases the likelihood that people will participate.

How to Get Started With Polls

Fletcher Prince uses the email marketing program Constant Contact to place polls on their website. It’s easy and fun to use, and works well on websites, and it costs very little.

There are also free poll applications you can use. Advertising is often associated with free, third-party applications. But if you’d like to try a free poll program, check out http://www.twiigs.com. With this application, you can add polls to your website or blog. I’ve used Twiigs to create the poll below.

Answer Our Poll!

Let’s try it! Here’s a short poll for you to answer:

  • Create YouTube Online Video showing how it works
  • Write blog entries about it
  • Create a website just for that product
  • Post an Online Banner Advertisement
  • Send an email newsletter to existing customers
  • In a way not mentioned here

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on August 26, 2009, in Web Site Design and SEO Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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