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Three Common Questions About Online Surveys

blog survey What are the demographics requirements for taking online surveys?

 The requirements for each online survey are based on criteria set by the survey administrator. Factors that can influence your selection for participation on a panel can include state or country of residency, age group, educational status, household income and other demographic requirements. If you are not chosen for a paid survey, it is most likely that you do not meet the demographic profile that the client is seeking.  Just hang in there and eventually a good match for you will pop up.

 What equipment do I need to take online surveys?

 You will need a computer with access to the internet to participate in online surveys. If you do not have your own computer, there are options to get around this and still take surveys. You can use a friend or family member’s computer (just make sure to log out and log in with your information) or to visit your local public library.  We’ve even seen laptops with web-access in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists for the use of their patients while they wait – what better way to use this dead time than by taking an online survey!  Also, some survey sites have their paid surveys online and formatted in such a way that they can be accessed and viewed through your smart phone.

 How will online survey participation affect my computer?

 Of course, you are giving the survey site permission to email you when new projects arise that meet your profile. Make sure that your email account is set up so that these important messages do not go to spam.  Another way that you computer may be affected is that the survey site may want to leave a “cookie” on your computer so that it can recognize you each time you visit. Please visit the privacy policy of each survey site you join to understand this in more detail. Some large survey providers such as Neilson and others may ask for permission to install a program that runs in the background to collect your behaviors on web surfing. Other survey sites, such as Mypoints, may suggest installing a tool bar that lets you interact with their web site in a more efficient manner. Again, because the details of paid surveys vary so much from company to company, it is your responsibility to read the terms of use and privacy policy to understand what you are getting into before taking these paid surveys.

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Eat Out For Free Without Washing The Dishes

blog mystery diningEating and extra cash – are these two of your favorite things? Well, now you can indulge in yourself in everyway, from the tip of your tongue to the bottom of your wallet, thanks to restaurant industry market research opportunities. Many larger urban areas in the United States offer chances of foodies like you to dine-out on the house, enjoying every category on the menu from appetizers and entrees to desserts and after-dinner drinks. What is the catch for this chance to eat and drink like a king? You’ll have to fill out detailed reports on your experience in the restaurant – but it is well worth the effort!

 To find these palate and pocketbook pleasing opportunities, search through an online database of survey sites, such as Survey Adventure, to find those companies which offer “secret shopper” and “mystery diner” programs. You can also try to contact the marketing department of your favorite restaurant chain or independent establishment to see if they manage any programs of this type. Depending on where you live, you’ll find opportunities in a wide rage of spots including casual family-friendly restaurant chains to fine dining establishments and even coffee houses and ice cream shops.

 While you do get to eat for “free” as a restaurant mystery diner, the feasting does come with a little work. Typically, you will be asked to observe and record many factors during your dining experience that will later be submitted on a mail-in, telephone or online survey. These questions could include everything from subjective questions like the overall ambiance, server-friendliness and food quality to precisely measurable factors like the time it took food to arrive, were your table items (like  bread, chips, water) refreshed, and did the server suggest a dessert after the meal.

 So that your identity as a mystery diner isn’t revealed during your restaurant visit, you will usually be asked to pay for your meal as if you were a regular customer and then submit your receipts for reimbursement. This also provides insurance for the company that you will actually fill out the reports. After you have filled out the paid surveys to the satisfaction of the mystery shopping agency, you will then be sent your dining refund plus and other incentive that was offered.

 Mystery shopping for the restaurant industry is a super way for cost-conscious folks to enjoy a night on the town without busting the piggy bank. However, do remember that this is still a job and the number one priority of mystery shopping in dining establishments is secretly collecting the data that the client company has contracted for. As long as you keep this in mind, don’t blow your cover and fill out your paid survey in a timely manner you’ll have a positive and rewarding experience.

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Black Friday shopping Survey

blog christmas shoppingWhat are you doing the day after Thanksgiving? If you are like a good number of Americans, you’ll be shopping at Black Friday sales. Black Friday has become a post-turkey day tradition where retailers offer some of their best deals of the year in order to lure in the holiday shoppers. The Nielsen Company, a leader in online surveys and marketing research, reports that nearly one in five people in the United States will be shopping at the Black Friday sales.

If you are wondering how the term “Black Friday” came about, it simply refers to the standard accounting practice of marking debits in red in the ledger and credits in black. A book full of black entries is a good thing for retailers! Buy gathering data on the planned purchases of survey respondents, Neilson was able to make inferences that would be helpful to the client’s bottom line. For example, 61-percent of those shopping reported planned expenditures of $100 to $500 and about the same number will be not be impulse buying, they’ll be shopping with a list.  The biggest categories of sales are expected in electronics and toys with video games and gift cards close behind.

The Nielson Company along with other market research companies gather this type of attitude, perception and behavior data with corporations all over the country. If you’d like to share your ideas and insights about shopping habits, signing up as a participant for online surveys, focus groups, and other marketing research is a great way to be heard. Corporations gearing up for Black Friday use your comments, combined along with the comments from other participants, to help develop products that meet market demand, ensure retail staffing is adequate for crowds, figure out how to advertise and lay out the store and other important areas that drive overall sales.

A benefit of taking paid surveys is that at the end, you’ll receive a reward for your help. From actual cash and gift cards to reward points and store discounts, each time you take surveys, you’ll have a little more in your pocket book to shop with on Black Friday. Don’t know where to start in your search for online surveys? A reputable online database of survey sites is a great place to find paid survey companies that are completely legit and are waiting to hear what you have to say.

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Writing Your Way To Extra Cash

blog book pictureThe entire month of November has been devoted getting recreational writers to pen their first book thanks to National Novel Writing Month. Billed as a seat-of-your-pants experience that encourages 30 days of reckless literary abandon, this fun activity got us thinking about writing (and how it can make you a little bit of money) in general. While you might not be ready to write the great American novel, there are other ways to employ your writing and analysis skills to make a few bucks --- why not try writing book and product reviews or even take online surveys.

 Many major bookstores and retailers offer an online forum for you to post your comments and opinions about the latest, greatest best-seller or an all-time, tried and true classic. Instead of answering the standard scaled questions, reviews give you the opportunity to express your thoughts and opinions in further detail. This is so much more cathartic and satisfying than answering simple “yes” and “no” questions found on many online surveys.

 Writing reviews isn’t just limited to books and literary material. Almost every major online retailer has a web feature where you can post your thoughts about a product and leave a 1 through 5 star rating. From toys and high-tech products to fancy hotels and standard house wares, a person could write a review on almost everything imaginable. Like data collected through online surveys, these reviews and ratings are used by consumers all over the world when trying to decide whether or not to purchase a particular product or service. Your opinions really carry a lot of weight that can influence tomorrow’s demand in the marketplace.

 While you might think that companies would be worried about getting negative reviews, this is not necessarily the case. The format for online reviews can give corporations a chance to see flaws in their products and services and make improvements as a whole as well as address the specific concerns of each individual. To encourage consumers to participate in reviews and related online surveys, companies will often tie-in a chance to win a prize such as a nice prize of cash or a gift card to spend on the web site. While product reviews aren’t exactly like taking paid surveys, they do make a nice complement to your arsenal of ways to make money at home.

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America Recycles Day – Surveys For Recycling

blog recycle picTake time to love the Earth and make some money at the same time. America Recycles Day is each November 15th and is a time to learn about and implement ways to recycle products that are cluttering up the planet – and also to buy products made from recycled materials. When people recycle, it creates less waste and helps to preserve our dwindling natural resources.

Because eco-friendly issues have become a hot topic in the last decade, corporations are stepping up to the plate to find new ways develop, manufacture and market “green” products that consumers demand. One way that companies understand the way their target audience thinks about recycling is to ask them for their insights and opinions via online surveys. When consumers take surveys online, they are empowered to speak up and have their comments and concerns heard by top executives. It’s a win-win for everyone.

It is easy to find online surveys to take, just sign up at an online survey site that administers a variety of marketing research projects for major corporations. Once you submit your basic contact information and interest profile, the survey site will contact you when projects become available that meet your demographics.  To find legitimate survey sites, use one of the free online databases of surveys providers found on the internet. Many of these survey sites offer compensation for your time, either with cash, merchandise, reward points or entries into sweepstakes.

Another way to find online surveys about recycling is to contact the company yourself. Checking out the corporate web site and signing up to be a panelist puts you in the running to take surveys for the company when they become available. A great reward for serving as a panelist is that you may be offered extra perks for filling out online surveys. For example, a local government looking for your opinions on watershed quality issues may reward you with free passes to the local swimming hole as a thank you.  

Don’t just limit the “reduce, repurpose and recycle” sentiment for America Recycles Day for November 15th. Use the power of your voice on online surveys and focus groups to help make a change for the better, every day of the year.  Another great “green” thing about taking recycling online surveys is the “green” – the green cash that is!

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Teen Surveys Are So Cool!

blog teen computerWith more that 30 million teenagers in the United States, it’s no wonder why major corporations are looking toward them to make a buck.  Today’s 13 through 19 years olds wield a good deal of clout in the economy, especially if you think of their purchasing power as a collective unit. Teenagers are the ones going to the movies, buying the video games, snapping up the latest must-have gadgets, perhaps even more so than their hard-working allowance-paying parents. Plus many teens have their own part-time jobs and have lots of discretionary income.  If you are a teen or have a teen who would like to make a few extra bucks to pad those baggy-jean pockets, taking online surveys is a great way to get started.

 Many survey sites online are strictly geared for adults aged 18 or older, which may be frustrating for the teen surfing around for an opportunity to take surveys. However, searching free online database that categorize, organize and verify survey sites, a teen can find great surveys meant specifically for his or her age group. Survey Head, Mindfield Online, My Survey, Global Test Market, and Survey Savvy are all good web sites to begin. Sometimes there are even opportunities for pre-teens to take paid surveys under the supervision of an adult. By law, you must be 13 years or older for any entity to collect personally identifiable information. If you are a parent and have any worries about privacy, please click the privacy policy of each survey site.

 In addition to free surveys that often pay cash, teens may also be invited to test out new products and services marketed to this demographic. Savvy companies understand that valuable marketing information in the form of opinions is a great deal in return for mailing out a few free samples. It’s a win-win for everyone – teens get to test out the latest in make-up, athletic shoes, games and more while companies get vital feedback to tweak these products and services to meet market demand.

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Talkin’ Turkey – Thanksgiving Surveys

blog guy turkeyLet’s talk turkey! What are your opinions on the cost of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this year? With the state of the economy in 2010, there is a lot of banter and backlash on the subject of providing a great holiday spread for family and friends. While you might have plenty to be thankful for this year, a full pocketbook to purchase whatever you want may not be on the list. Recently the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) held their annual marketing study to determine how much prices in 2010 have gone up or down for food staples in the cornucopia.

This study predicts that in 2010, a typical family can put a bird with all the trimmings on the table for about $43.47, enough to feed 10 people. This price is up about 1.3 percent from 2009, with the biggest increase coming from milk, cream, butter, sugar and other miscellaneous items used in baking and preparing side dishes. In fact, the price of turkey declined 6-percent and stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkin pie all held relatively steady.

The way this AFBF study was conducted is often interesting to people who like to take surveys and go on mystery shopping assignments. The shopping task is undertaken by 112 volunteer shoppers spread across 34 states; they are told to shop wisely but not to take advantage of loss-leader type sales promotions or coupons.  Aside from the AFBF’s survey, there are marketing research firms who conduct similar type projects where mystery shoppers and survey takers are needed.

If you are interested in sharing your shopping habits and earn cash and rewards at the same time, you can sign up with a reputable survey site and start receiving invitations. An online survey database is a good place to start finding survey sites and marketing research firms that meet your interests. After submitting your contact information and providing demographic information, you will be matched up with assignments that are best suited to you.

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Your Personal Information and Paid Surveys

Protecting personal information is priority number one for many people who shop, surf and socialize online. However, this is a touchy subject for both companies who are administering paid surveys and those who want to take them. While it’s understandable that you would want to keep some of your information hush-hush, letting go of basic contact information, demographics and even what you think about products, services and issues is essential when taking online surveys. After all, sharing information is the point of taking surveys online.

 It’s no secret that people are afraid of scams, with news reports sensationalizing identity theft and other fraud. It’s not to say that these criminal acts aren’t happening to unsuspecting Internet users, they just not something you’ll find if you sign up with a reputable survey site. For one thing, legitimate companies gather data at an aggregate level meaning that you are never mentioned by name or in another personally identifying way unless it is fully disclosed before the survey starts.  Companies you give online surveys just want to have data from generic “types” such as “women over 40 who life in California” or “men 18-25 who play video games more than 20 hours a week.”

Although you are considered a nameless person in a sense, this doesn’t mean you can sign up to take surveys as a Jane Doe or a John Smith. In the same vein, don’t report other fictionalized data as the truth such as a changed birthday, educational status, income level or more. This misinformation will skew the data for the company and possibly cause a product or service to be developed, manufactured, or marketed in the wrong way. Some people even mark down false hobbies and past-times on their profiles hoping that they will be invited to join in additional paid surveys. This is also a bad idea, because you may not be able to expertly talk about an issue in the way that corporation may be expecting.

Respondents always need to be completely honest about name and other personal data when taking online surveys. Think about the end result of using a fake name aside from harming the integrity of the survey project – your payment check will not be able to get deposited into your account! That is a waste of everyone’s time. And, if using the wrong mailing address guarantees the money won’t even make to the right doorstep. Also, if you are caught using false information you will be dropped from the study and, most likely, the survey site as well.

The safest means of finding paid surveys to take is to get your leads and invitations from a reputable survey database that has done all the legwork and verification for you. Take it a step further by checking the BBB, reading through survey site forums, and reading through the privacy policy of each survey sight. And, let the alarm go off and drop the survey like a hot potato if it asked for information that is too personal such as Social Security numbers and credit card accounts.

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Don’t Overlook Academic Institutions – They Love Your Opinions!

blog university surveyIf you’ve been chatting with your friends, you may have discovered that many have been moonlighting by taking online surveys. It’s fairly quick, simple and straightforward, once you get registered and set up with a number of survey sites. Most of your friends are probably members of survey sites that administer market research projects on behalf of corporations – retail, entertainment, food & drink, automotive and that kind of stuff.

 However, there is another really good way to make some cash that is similar, but just a little bit different.  Academic institutions such as colleges and universities often have in-house projects that are open to the public in the business, psychology, political science and communications departments. We have found, first hand, that taking surveys online for academic institutions is a steady source of work that won’t take too much of your time. Instead of focusing on consumer products and services, these online services often revolve around attitudes and perceptions of social, cultural and political issues.  

The reason why colleges and universities offer online surveys, focus groups and other marketing projects is to help further the work of students and professors with their research. For example, the data that is gathered when respondents take surveys is analyzed and used to prove theories that are ultimately printed in term papers, theses, dissertations, and academic journals. Sometimes, outside organizations will partner with the academic institution to administer paid surveys on their behalf – for example, for political candidates, advertising agencies, health care providers and more.

To sign up for paid surveys at academic institutions, there are a few different ways. Talking with your friends about their experiences taking surveys online is one way to get good word-of-mouth referrals. Or, you can also take the initiative to visit an academic institution in person or on their web site to find out when, where and to whom their projects are available. Also, signing up to be a member of an online database of survey sites that have been researched and verified for your protection is another option for getting in the loop.

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Sandwich Day Surveys

blog sandwich surveySandwiches have come quite a long way since they were fist invented in 1762. The annals of English history have recorded that the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, was quite the gambling man and in order to avoid having to step away from the gaming table to refuel, devised a way to eat that did not including sitting down in the dining room with a fork and spoon.

Hence, the birth of meat between two hunks of bread was born and given the eponymous title of the inventor – Sandwich. Instead of the highly preserved meat and stale bread of centuries past, today sandwich lovers enjoy all sorts of fresh and tasty creations. November 3rd of each year, Sandwich Day, is dedicated to honoring the practical and pretty tasty contributions the Earl of Sandwich – the Lord of Lunch if you prefer!

After you bite into your favorite sandwich from a shop, check out the bottom of the receipt to see if the store offers any customer experience surveys. These are usually online surveys or automated phone surveys that ask you to answer simple questions about your visit. Questions on the online survey can include quantitative scales to rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 10 in many areas. One section to rate could ask questions based on freshness of ingredients, taste, innovation of menu items, temperature of food and so on.

Customer service is also another prominent area of interest to sandwich chains when offering surveys online. For example, you might be asked how long you stood in line, the friendliness of the cashier, your order accuracy, and help resolving a problem if you had one. Also, your rating of the physical property is also usually asked to find out if the inside and outside were well maintained, if the bathrooms were clean, if the tables were wiped down and more.  At the end, many of these online surveys about your dining experience will leave room for you to answer more in-depth and subjectively with room for a paragraph or more.

Sometimes these questionnaires can be paid surveys where you’ll actually be mailed a small check. Most often, however, the company will offer in-kind rewards such as free products and coupons to come back and spend in the store. Also, another frequent reward to take surveys is to be entered into a sweepstakes for a large cash prize or exciting trips and merchandise.

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