Choosing Survey Software – Fluid Surveys

There are so many online survey software options, that it can be confusing to know which is right for you.   In my last post I talked about five things to consider when choosing the right survey software.   I have been trialing a few software packages recently, and this week I would like to start by discussing Fluid Surveys, using the five criteria mentioned in my previous post.

In general Fluid Surveys is fairly easy and intuitive to use, with an easy drag and drop interface that allows users to quickly design surveys and polls.   They also have one of the best and easiest to follow online help options, with video tutorials which show you step by step how to create and distribute your surveys.   There are also written instructions for those who prefer receive instructions in that format.

Fluid Surveys have four options available: A Free Option, a Pro Option, an Ultra option and an Enterprise option.

Below is an overview of Fluid Surveys based on the five things you need to consider when choosing online survey software.

1.       How many responses are you likely to receive?

Like all other survey tools Fluid Surveys free option has some restrictions.   With Fluid Surveys you are restricted to 150 responses per survey.  That’s great for a quick survey on your website or Facebook page, but if you want to set up an ongoing survey among a larger sample you will need to consider a premium option.  All the premium packages offer unlimited responses per survey.

Fluid Surveys has the ability to send customised emails, either individually or by uploading your own contacts list.   Again there are some restrictions, this capability is not available to free account holders.  The premium accounts also have limitations on number of emails you can send each month as follows

Pro  1000
Ultra  5000
Enterprise  50 000

However, for most small businesses 1000 or 5000 per month should be enough.  I have done work for a large national organisation and we have never needed to send more than 5000 emails per month.

2.       The ability to customize your template and URLs.

The ability to customize your template is an option available for all the premium package users.  This is a great option to have, the more you can customize a template to reflect your brand the more professional your survey will look, and the more likely people will be to respond.

Customizable URLs which make the survey look like it comes from you directly with no reference to Fluid Surveys, are only available on the Enterprise version of the software.

3.       What do you want to do with the data you collected?

This is such a big consideration and something that you need to consider before you start writing your survey.  Unfortunately I have met a number of people write their survey, collect responses, and then wonder what to do with the results.

The free version of Fluid Surveys only allows you to view you data online.  You cannot download it.  This is probably fine for small polls or surveys with very few questions, but can be frustrating if you want to create your own custom filters and cross breaks.  The good news is you only need to sign up to the Pro account to be able to export your data to excel or a CSV file.  You only need an Enterprise account if you want to down load data directly into an SPSS format.

4.       Piping and branching

This is when you prefill a question based on respondent’s answers to previous question.  Piping is a great tool to use in complex questionnaires, for most simple surveys it’s not always necessary.  I certainly don’t it use in all my questionnaires.  However if you think you will need the option this option you will require and Ultra account or above.

Branching is when you direct customers to different questions based on their previous answers.     Branching is usually required for more complex professional surveys which is probably why it is only available on the Ultra Package.

5.    Advanced survey logic

There are various types of advance survey logic available.  One I always look for is looping.  Looping is the ability to check back to a previous question more than once. For example let’s say you want to ask

Q1  Which of the following beverages do you drink?

Tea
Coffee
Coke
Then for each answer you want to ask

Q2 How often do you drink (beverage)?

Once a day
2-3 times a day
4 or more times a day

Fluid Surveys looping will check back for an answer more than once on their Ultra Package,  so if you choose all three at Q1 then you will be asked Q2 three times, once for each beverage.  Some software will only allow you to ask Q2 about one beverage and then move to question.  Again this is something that you may only need for more complex professional surveys, but worth checking out if you think you will need it.

Another advanced logic I look for is advanced branching that allows you to choose who answers a question based on more than one of respondent’s previous answers.  For example following on from the questions above, let’s say you wanted to ask another question of those who drink tea (from Q1) four more times a day (from Q2) then you can program your survey to only ask the question of this group, while all those who don’t drink tea or drink it less than 4 times a day will be skipped to another question.

Other Fluid Survey offerings

Fluid surveys have a number other great options to, like the option to add multimedia to your surveys and social network integration which is a great way to do polls if your business has a twitter or Facebook account.

Pricing

There are monthly account options and annual account options.   Obviously monthly is great for a one-off study, but if you intend to do a number of surveys or ongoing surveys then paying annually works out a bit cheaper.

The price for each option is as follows

 

All packages have 14 days free trial to try it out, but you do need to put in a credit card number to get it, so make sure you remember the date your trial ends if you don’t want to get the monthly fee charged to your account.

If you do decide you want to buy one of the annual plans type, REF-mD2 in the discount code box and get 10% off the prices listed above, or simply click here

Which package should I choose?

If you are a student or just starting out and you only want to ask a one or two survey questions then a free package is all you need.

However, if you want are a small business owner that wants to do a quick follow-up satisfaction survey among customers who have just made a purchase from you, it may be worth considering the Pro or Ultra package.

The Enterprise package is best for experienced researchers and larger organisations who want to do their own in house research.

Here is a quick introduction video to give you a peek inside Fluid Surveys.

Let me know if you have any other comments about this or any other online software.

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