How to Create an Effective Poll: The Beginner’s Guide

Customer satisfaction is at the center of every organization’s marketing strategy. That means the opinion of your audience becomes increasingly important every day. Organizations use polls and surveys to gauge users’ interests and opinions, thus gaining valuable feedback. Read on to learn how to create effective interactive polls.

What is a Poll?

A poll refers to the questioning or canvassing of a pool of individuals selected at random to obtain information or opinions to be analyzed. Polls are an effective way of gathering a general consensus of people’s opinions on a certain topic. For example, polls can help you measure the success of an event amongst attendees. The interval at which polls are conducted depends on what kind of data needs to be extracted from the respondents.

In the past, polls were mostly carried out in-person. A question used to be given to a group of people, who were asked to raise a hand to express their opinion. Later came the telephone polls wherein a respondent would be asked to dial a number as an answer. Today in the digital world, polls are conducted online and all a user has to do to answer is just click.

Online polls help in market research by providing data on customers’ preferences and thereby can help create a strategy. If an organization knows better what a customer wants, then chances of their success increases. Polls can also help predict demand and help businesses better prepare themselves for the future.

Polls vs. Surveys: What is the difference?

A poll helps you capture the respondent’s opinion about a subject by asking a single question to extract a specific set of information. Polls include multiple answer alternatives to a single question. You should use a poll when you need a general picture of where the market is going. A poll can provide you with fast results, since users only need to choose answers rather than think too much on what to write. 

Surveys are more detailed, with several questions. You should use a survey when you need more detailed information about the state of your market. Surveys usually include multiple-answer questions and open-ended questions. For example, in a customer satisfaction survey, you can ask the user to rank the service with a number, or select the best feature of your product from a list.

Polls can be quicker to fill than surveys, since participants just need to choose the appropriate option. Surveys may require several minutes to fill, requiring more effort from the participants. Since polls are structured, it is easier to tabulate answers and the analysis is pretty simple. Surveys require detailed analysis, often with the help of advanced statistical tools. A poll can provide you with a quick bite of data, while a survey will provide more substance for analysis. Both are effective and have their unique uses.

Important Factors to Consider When Developing Your Poll

Like any other market research tool, an online poll will return better results if you tailor it according to your target market. Below, you’ll find a review of key factors you should keep in mind when creating online polls.


You should take into account who is going to answer your poll. Personalize the poll answers for the targeted participants. The answers should also reflect other types of users so you can sift your target market according to the answers they choose. 

For example, if you are making a poll for a website selling all-inclusive vacations in beach resorts, you may ask: 

What is your ideal beach luxury accommodation? 

Then you can offer answers such as:

  • An all-inclusive hotel
  • A family beach resort
  • A luxury hotel 
  • A rented villa

Keep answers relevant and simple. If you want to know if they prefer their accommodation close to the beach or right at the heart of the city, you should create an additional question.


The location of the poll is also important. An online poll on your own website requires a different look than one posted on another website or platform. The latter should clearly reflect your brand and stand out from competitors on the platform. It goes without saying that it should link to the relevant part of your website. Make sure that your poll is user-friendly, responsive, and accessible to all users and through all devices. 

Read SurveyAnyplace’s article on How To Increase Customer Satisfaction With Instagram Polls.

4 Tips For Writing Effective Polls

You need to make polls short and to-the-point. The objective of an online poll is to gather the most detailed information in the shortest time possible. Below, you’ll find a number of tips to create polls that are effective in quickly collecting the information you need.

1. Simple and engaging language

The question should be simple and easy to understand. It should also be engaging, to attract the respondent’s interest. For example, if you want to launch a new flavor of instant soup, you can ask the audience, “Which flavor would you like to try?”. Then you follow it up with two or three options that you want to launch. This will make the respondents feel they are a part of the decision-making process. 

2. Keep questions neutral

Polls should be limited to practical, neutral questions. Complex opinion questions, such as open-ended questions are more suitable for surveys. Polls can consist of  “yes/no” questions, multiple-choice questions, or rating scales. 

3. Limit the options

The number of choices should be limited to no more than four, including options such as “Other” or “Prefer not to answer”. The options should also be clearly differentiated, to help the respondent make a quick decision. For example, two types of tomato soup can confuse the respondent. 

4. Avoid misleading questions

Avoid questions that are biased towards one answer. For example: “Our soups are the best on the market. How would you rate them over competitors A or B?” The goal is to keep polls as objective as possible, so you could get an honest opinion of respondents. In this example, we can fix this issue by rephrasing the question and asking respondents to rate the brands in order of preference. 

The Bottom Line

Online polls are excellent tools to get feedback from your target market. However, a poll is only as good as its question. Following best practices and asking questions that get to the point will help you make the most out of the poll’s results. 

Explore our templates below to get started with your poll today!

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