How to Choose the Right Sample Size for Your Surveys

How to Choose the Right Sample Size for Your Surveys

Conducting proper market research is essential when it comes to the long-term success of your business. After all, a company that neglects marketing can never expect to keep up with its competitors. This could easily create a situation where you fall far short of your performance metrics.

One of the most effective ways to gain insight into your audience is through the use of surveys.

However, not every business understands how to choose the right sample size. Let’s explore everything you need to know.

You Should Always Choose Over 100 People

Interestingly, this is something that many businesses tend to forget. If you survey 50 people, you might assume that a random sample of five people will be indicative of consumer behavior. Unfortunately, this just simply isn’t enough people to have a diverse sample.

To help put this into perspective, let’s assume that the five individuals you randomly selected all gave the same answer. However, let’s also assume that 40 other people out of the 50 person survey gave different answers. If you chose to use your sample size of five as a representation of the entire survey pool, you may encounter problems in the future.

This could easily cause you to make subpar marketing decisions under the belief that you are on the right track. So, you should always choose a sample size of at least 100 people.

In General, 10% of Your Total Sample Is a Good Size

Some surveys contain thousands of participants. A sample size of 100 might not always be applicable in scenarios like these. If you find that you need to choose a larger sample than the one recommended above, you can more than often get away with making your sample 10% of the total survey volume.

So, if you have a total service size of 5000, your sample would be approximately 500 people. However, this tactic does not work with samples over 1000. This is primarily due to the fact that additions over this amount don’t necessarily add to the accuracy of the sample itself.

It will also cost much more time and money to analyze a sample that is significantly larger than 1000. For instance, imagine having to look at the results from 10,000 survey submissions. Working with 500 suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting, and it is still able to provide you with accurate results.

You May Choose a Number Between These Parameters

In some cases, you may need to choose a number between 100 and 1,000 even if your survey is not particularly large or small. This typically comes into play when you have certain objectives in mind. For instance, if you are fairly limited on the time and money that you can invest, it’s best to choose a sample size that is closer to the minimum of 100.

This is true even if 100 would be only a small percentage of your survey volume. It’s also recommended to choose closer to the minimum if you only need a fairly rough estimate of the survey results.

In contrast, you might want to choose closer to the maximum parameter of 1000 if you have the resources to do so. The closer you get to this number, the more accurate your results will be.

This makes it ideal for scientific studies or surveys that will strongly impact your future marketing efforts. To clarify, companies sometimes send extensive surveys to their audiences when they are planning on rebranding. They need feedback from their audience to determine what their target demographic wants to see out of their company during the transition.

If the results you get in this scenario are not accurate, you may not be able to make the appropriate changes. Choosing a larger sample size is also best for surveys that you think people will give many different answers for.

In context, this would involve the survey that has users type multiple responses as opposed to simply click a multiple-choice answer. As long as you choose the sample size that is most practical for your situation, you will be sure to get accurate results that you can leverage in the future.

Don’t Forget Your Margin of Error

The larger margin of error, the smaller your sample size should be. If you have a high margin of error but also have a large sample size, the answers may end up being skewed. A smaller sample size, however, means that you can get away with choosing a larger sample.

It should be noted that your margin of error could easily change depending on your needs. For instance, you may go into the survey with the understanding that you do not want to exceed a 5% margin of error.

However, you may then decide that 10% is the new threshold that you wish to not cross. This could easily cause your sample size to decrease by hundreds of people.

Keep this in mind moving forward so that you can make the decision best for your situation.

Want to learn more information about how to calculate the optimal sample size? You can check out this page by CheckMarket to learn more.

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Choosing The Right Sample Size Might Seem Difficult

The good news is that it’s much more straightforward than you might think at first. From here, you’ll have no problem choosing the right sample size for your surveys and gaining powerful insight into your target demographic.

Looking for more tips that can help you out later on? Check out the rest of our blog for plenty of more useful information.