Form follows function Create an elegant survey and embed it in your site with Google Forms

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 4, 2009

google_logoSurveys are an easy way to let customers weigh in on your products and offer up new ideas.  We’d probably use them more if price wasn’t a factor.  I mean, paying for every question and survey participant kinda deters you from using a tool to its full potential.

We recommend taking a look at Google Forms.   This data collection tool just got a makeover, making it less clunky and more user-friendly.  Not to mention, it’s free.

If you’re not familiar, Forms is part of Google Docs.  We’ve discussed the virtues of Google’s whole productivity suite in the past – it’s web-based, easy to use, and the fact that it’s free is definitely worth mentioning again.   Prior to the upgrade, Forms was a very basic offering.  You’d create questions and input fields, share a link with survey participants, and watch as the live form populated a spreadsheet.   Simple.  Efficient.  Boring.

Now, creating (and taking) a survey with Google Forms is fun.   The interface is cleaner, with customization options within the form builder (e.g. multiple choice questions, supporting text to explain a question, etc).  You can also add a theme to your survey, which makes for a better presentation than a plain, black and white screen.  Google offers up a library of 60+ designs to choose from.

When you’re finished formatting the survey, you can share via email, direct link, or embed the form in your website or blog.  As survey results come in, you can view the data in real time, either through a Google Spreadsheet or in graph summary.  It would be nice if you could put the graph on your site, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Feedback is a crucial ingredient in any marketing strategy. What Google has done here is make their simple form service a real contender for your survey needs.   You’re getting the same functionality and frills as a paid solution, with no penalties for success.

Google Labs is like Google's playground for new products and feature updates. There's a whole section devoted to enhancements of their core products: Gmail, Documents, Calendar, Toolbar, etc.

The Digital Marketing Standard was a survey of over 100 top marketing executives to get their take on digital marketing and how they've adapted their strategy and workforce for the digital age.


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