Every year, my husband and I get together with a bunch of his college friends for New Years. The location varies from year to year but we usually rent a house for about a week where we all stay and ring in the new year together. Have you ever tried to plan a vacation for 18 people? It’s not easy to get everyone to agree on a location, a rental house, what food to buy, etc. This year, one of our friends got really smart and figured out a great way to get everyone’s input and make the best decisions for the group – Google Forms.
Of course, there are tons of ways businesses can use this sort of tool for collecting information. Today, we’ll look at how to use Google Forms for creating easy, great-looking surveys and forms.
How to Use Google Forms: Creating a Simple Survey
Google Forms are one of the tools available through Google Drive, a free suite of tools for creating, storing and sharing various types of files. In recent Toolkit Tuesday posts we offered an overview of Google Drive and then gave a more detailed tutorial for Google Docs. Lots of small businesses know about – and use – other Google Drive tools on a regular basis, such as Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. Google Forms, however, is often overlooked because people don’t know how to use it or don’t understand what to use it for.
1. Create Your Form or Survey
To get started, go to your Google Drive and click the big red “New” button, then select Google Forms to start creating your form. Like most Google products, working with Google Forms is very intuitive and user-friendly. You simply choose the type of question you want, fill in the necessary fields, and repeat as many times as needed until you have a complete questionnaire or survey.
You can choose from several types of questions:
To view what your form will look like to recipients and test it, click the “View live form” link at the top of the form editor.
A really nice feature in Google Forms is the ability to present different questions based on the participant’s previous answers. For instance, if one of your co-workers chooses “office chairs” in question one, you can set the form up to direct them to page two to answer questions about what type of chairs they’d prefer, whereas those who answer “printer” could be directed to a different page or be finished with the survey.
To use this feature, create all of the different pages you’ll need by clicking Insert > Page Break, being sure to create the follow-up questions for each response. Then check the box that says “Go to page based on answer” and select which page the participant should be directed to next.
You can customize the appearance of your forms by adding a header image and choosing colors and fonts. You can also choose from a variety of default theme templates provided by Google. Click on “Change Theme” in the form editor toolbar, choose a theme and click “Customize” if you want to make additional changes.
2. Share Your Form
When your form is ready to send out, click the blue “Send Form” button in the top right corner of the screen. You can share the form via social media or email, or you can grab the link to the form to share with people or publish online.
As participants fill out your form or survey, the responses will automatically be added to a new Google spreadsheet for easy viewing and analysis. Just click “View Responses” at the top of your form editor to see them. You can even set it up so you’ll receive email alerts each time a participant completes the survey.
8 Ways to Use Google Forms
Here are just a few ideas for how you can use Google Forms to collect information for your business:
- Gather feedback from customers on your product or service
- Collect registrations for an event or conference
- Survey attendees at the end of an event or conference
- Ask participants to rate your company’s customer service after contacting you for help or support
- Conduct market research – send questions to a focus group to gather information for developing new products
- Ask participants to vote on contest entries, help choose a product name or vote on what type of new product they’d like to see from your company
- Gather information from new clients
- Ask your employees or colleagues to share ideas related to a project
Ready, Set, Poll
We hope this tutorial gives you some great ideas for how to use Google Forms for your own business. Any questions on how to use this great tool, or tips to share? Leave your comments below!