Amassing Community Feedback with the Community Survey

Amassing Community Feedback with the Community Survey

community survey

The community survey. Although less known than the main types of market research surveys, this type of survey offers invaluable insights into your target market through a local lens.

Consequently, it is a location-based survey, meaning that it elicits responses from the local residents of a community, or a small geographic region. 

A community survey does not represent a community in the more abstract or holistic way, in which it can denote a group of like-minded individuals. The term that grasps this idea is that of the target market, which is what most survey research is based on, at least to some degree.

On the contrary, a community survey is gripped to a geographical site. This article explains what this survey is and why it is crucial for certain types of marketers and business owners.

Identifying the Community Survey

Not to be confused with the American Community Survey program, which is sometimes simply referred to as a Community Survey, the general meaning behind a community survey is a survey that studies the behaviors, preferences, attitudes and opinions of people who live in a particular area — the community in question.

Since this kind of survey is anchored in a location, participants must be screened on this very demographic. That is to say that your survey should include screening questions and quotas on the demographic of location.

Since it is designed to measure a community, you should set your geographical preferences to the local level in your survey, instead of a macro level, such as state or territory. 

That way, you can capture the feedback of a local community, instead of a wider area containing multiple zip codes. 

The Importance of Collecting Community Feedback

This type of survey reveals the problems and needs of a community which your business can help address, thereby increasing (or establishing) a foothold in the area for your business. As such, conducting this kind of survey can help grow your revenue and business at large.

Collecting community feedback is especially necessary if you operate a brick-and-mortar business. This is because your business exists in a geographical context (at least in your physical store), and should thus take into consideration all the associated factors of that context. 

After all, you won’t be able to properly market your local business to locals, if you know nothing about them.

Gathering community feedback is also crucial if you are considering to psychically branch out your business into a particular community. You may have come upon a particular neighborhood while conducting real estate market research and mulled over if it’s worth opening a brick and mortar there.

In this scenario, collecting community feedback also comes into play, as it will lay any of your doubts and curiosities to rest. That is, of course, if you conduct community feedback. 

The most auspicious way to collect this information is by conducting a community survey. 

The Benefits of Implementing a Community Survey

Whether you’re set to conduct a community research campaign for marketing, advertising or for the objectives covered in the previous section, a survey designated for this research is a must. 

As aforesaid, a community survey helps you uncover the attitudes, needs and opinions of a particular community. 

It is the chief primary research method for garnering community feedback, unless of course, you’re going to conduct interviews, which is a far more costly and time-consuming task. 

Here are some more critical ways your business can benefit from a community survey:

  • Allows you to understand the major needs of your local community’s target market
  • Allows you to tweak your product or service in a way that’s best suited for the community
  • Gives you the chance to fill any major gaps your niche has in the community you study
  • Informs you on how to market and advertise your product to the community
  • Enlightens on the ethnic makeup of the community, including local languages, cultures and even lifestyles (think surrounding institutions) 

How to Create a Community Survey

Now that we’ve covered community research, feedback and the advantages of the community survey, let’s dive into creating one. When conducted the correct way, a community survey is no feat; it is simply an asset to your market research needs.

We’ve mapped out the 7 steps of creating an effective community survey.

1. Find the main purpose(s) of your survey.

Figure out the goals you intend on pursuing with your survey. To do so, ask yourself the following:

  • What are some of the primary insights you want to glean from this survey?
  • How will surveying this particular neighborhood help you help you find these?
  • How can your business better assist the residents of a neighborhood?
  • How do residents feel about the community and what would they change about it?
  • How can your business provide a better experience for the entire community?

2. Draft a set of questions aimed at fulfilling the purpose of the survey.

Once you have a purpose or more for your community survey, tailor your questions to achieve that purpose. 

Since it is a community survey, ask several questions that are most relevant to the community, whether it pertains to its physical setting, the language respondents prefer to speak, or the issues they face, especially as they relate to buying from your business.

Here are a few question examples:

  • What is the best part about shopping in this area?
  • What is your favorite type of
    ? Would you go out to buy it?

When you’ve come up with a set of questions, consider adding advanced skip logic. This mechanism involves using a custom question path for respondents who give particular answers. 

For example, if a respondent answers that they don’t know about a particular store in the area, the survey shouldn’t lead them to a question about the store. Instead, it should route them to relevant questions only, which is how skip logic maneuvers. 

3. Put your survey on pilot mode.

It may be tempting to hit the ground running once you’ve come up with a set of key questions, especially if you’ve added skip logic to them.

However, as with any successful campaign, you should ascertain that your survey is ready to be sent out to the masses, even if it’s a rather small community.

To do so, test your survey by running it by your team members. Let them take a stab at it to discover what they think and whether there are any typos, irrelevant questions or other errors.

Then, once they give you the green light to launch the survey, send it to a small sampling pool. For example, let’s say there are 5,000 members in your community. Send it to 50 to see how your survey fares. 

For example, perhaps respondents left negative feedback in the final question about the survey itself. This can help you revamp the survey for a better experience. 

Or, perhaps the respondents gave nonsensical answers to the open-ended questions. Either way, you should test the survey out before you do any large-scale launches.

4. Deploy Your Survey to Your Community

After running your survey on pilot mode, distribute it to members of your community. Do so via Google Forms or through a survey platform.

This survey platform should help you add all the questions you need, apply advanced skip logic, use screening questions, add quotas, and most importantly, deploy the survey to your community of study only.

5. Streamline the Participation

To quicken the study, consider using incentives. If you use a survey platform, ensure that you can communicate this incentive to your respondents in the website or app your survey is distributed to. 

Or, make sure that the participants can at least be informed of an incentive when they click on/open the survey in the publisher’s site/app.

The incentive can be a small discount on your product/ service, or entry in a giveaway. Feel free to get creative.

You can also streamline the survey completion time by opting for a survey platform that allows you to implement quotas on the demographics you qualify to take the survey. To stay ahead on the timing, it is apt to use a tool that forecasts the survey’s total completion time. 

6. Conduct a survey analysis


  • When you’ve reached the total responses you preset the survey tool to receive, it’s time to do a survey analysis. To analyze your freshly accumulated data, organize it in the following ways:

  • View your data in different formats for a high-level understanding, export it as an Excel sheet, or view it as charts, graphs and other visualizations that your survey platform permits.
  • Apply market segmentation by breaking up answers’ based on respondents’ age, gender, income, etc., and studying their answers on a segmented basis.
  • Organize market segmented data into spreadsheets and other data formats. 
  • Compare responses with cross-tabs to uncover relationships between variables
  • Read your open-ended responses, categorize them if you find similar answers.

6. Summarize Your Findings and Prioritize Next Moves

After you’ve analyzed the results, you should summarize any patterns, relationships and other key findings in a document.

Afterward, share the document with your team members, particularly data analysts, market researchers and marketers. You should come up with a plan of action based on the summary.

Begin by prioritizing the most pressing needs of the community, especially if they appear doable. Then, plan out other outstanding needs and set timeframes, so that you’re running operations smoothly.

Keep in mind that some issues may seem scathing but only have affected a small fraction of respondents. Thus, they don’t pertain to the entire community. To that end, you may want to consider whether addressing those issues is worth doing at all.

Seizing Community Feedback to a Maximum

A community survey not only helps detect the issues and concerns a community may harbor. This type of survey informs you on how to best market to the community, including how to innovate your service and experience for them.

But remember, this survey is only one primary research method used in collecting community feedback and research. You should therefore conduct other methods of primary research, along with secondary research on a community before you begin setting up your survey.

After all, conducting secondary research may reveal a neighborhood you previously didn’t know about, one that you can possibly venture into in your next brick-and-mortar store. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a community survey?

A community survey is a location-based survey that seeks to better understand the feelings, attitudes, or behaviors of the residents of a small geographical community, such as a neighborhood or zip code.

Who is the intended audience of a community survey?

A community survey is conducted to elicit responses from a small geographical location. The target audience should be a narrow region, such as a single zip code or neighborhood, rather than a larger area, such as a state.

What types of businesses can benefit from a community survey?

Brick and mortar businesses are most likely to benefit from a community survey since they tend to serve nearby communities. Grocery stores, clothing shops, health and beauty stores, and real estate agents are all examples of businesses that can benefit from a community survey.

How can a business benefit from a community survey?

Businesses can use a community survey to better understand the needs of the local market and thereby adapt the product/service to best serve that market. It can also be used to identify a niche for your product in the local community.

How is a community survey used to support marketing and advertising campaigns?

A community survey can help inform marketing and advertising campaigns by shedding light on the demographic and cultural makeup of the local community, including information about language, lifestyle, interests and needs.