Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The truth about Paid Surveys!

Did you know that over $200 billion is spent each year in advertising and marketing research in the U.S. alone? While a huge piece of the pie is geared toward advertising and promotions, a lot is also spent on marketing research, including opinion surveys.

Top companies actually pay for surveys and surveys are essentially consumer opinions combined with information regarding demographics. Surveys, especially online surveys, are a convenient way to find out what consumers opinions are on current products and what they think companies should be producing and why.

Why companies need surveys:
In order to produce goods and services that can best meet the needs of consumers, companies need to understand how consumers think and feel.

They need to know why consumers choose certain products and avoid others. They need to know the details that affect a consumers purchase like product benefits, pricing, value for money, social acceptance, even stuff like scent, color and packaging.

The more detailed they know about consumers spending habits, the more likely they can produce goods and services that attract buyers. The more their products are purchased, the more they make money. It’s that simple.

Companies spend a lot on marketing research because consumer tastes are dynamic. Consumers can easily change or be swayed by simple devices like marketing campaigns or celebrity endorsements.

Even a simple tweak of product packaging can make consumers either love the product or avoid it like the plague. And the only way companies will know what goes on in consumers’ brains is to find out through surveys.

What you get for your opion:
Online paid opinion surveys typically start at $2 to $20 for typical surveys and more than $30 for participation in focus groups.

What are the different types of paid opinion surveys?
Cash survey sites offer cash and entries for cash sweepstakes for every survey completed by a member. Prize surveys are those that offer incentives in the form of gift certificates and goods instead of cash. Paid-to-try surveys offer cash, gift certificates or goods to members who try or test products and services from various companies.

What is involved in a paid opinion survey?
Basically, you just need to answer a ready online questionnaire, which will take from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the length.

How to participate
First, you need to become a member to gain access to paid opinion surveys. You will need to register and provide information like age, location, marital status, family background, hobbies, personal habits and interests. This is necessary to create a member profile so it will be easier to match you with available surveys.

You can then log on to the site anytime to check for surveys you are qualified for. To make it more convenient for you, online survey companies also notify you through emails if a survey is available for you to participate in.

How much pay can I expect to receive?
Depending on the type and length of the survey, you get paid from $2 up per survey. Focus groups pay more. Some surveys will earn you gift certificates or entry into a sweepstakes where you can win either cash or goods. Others offer points instead of cash and you can redeem these points for goods or gift certificates.

Not all surveys are legitimate.
There are scam surveys lurking in the net for gullible surfers. Remember that if the offer is too good to be true, it just might be. Beware of sites that claim you can earn enough money to go full time. This is improbable. While you can earn money, the amount is only good as extra cash and can probably pay some of your bills, but it will not be enough to handle all your expenses.

Legit online opinion surveys are also free. There is no need to pay for membership. However most paid membership sites offer a list to top pay surveys, and convenient location of all links, plus most come with special time saving software to help fill out the membership forms.