With so much in marketing depending on knowledge of your target customer base, one of the most powerful weapons in your armory is market research. When it comes to online marketing, the power of market research is increased exponentially, partly because of its unbeatable cost effectiveness, and mainly because of the huge numbers of people it can reach. There is many a free online survey tool available to make your Web surveys even more effective, and here are five of the most essential:

SurveyMonkey. This survey tool is well known among online marketers and is widely recognized as a very helpful application. As with most of these tools, the free version is somewhat basic and limited, but nevertheless offers many features to make your surveys easier to operate and manage, such as keyword searches, security to prevent false results and cheating, plus add-ons that aim to increase your surveys’ accuracy. Great for the basics.

dotSurvey. This is one of the best survey editors currently available and is free to use for 60 days. It is an extremely easy to use, with on-the-spot editing and drag and drop for most functions. It only takes seconds to create a survey theme and not much longer to put it on your website once it is complete. With in-depth reporting and analytics as standard, dotSurvey really is the complete package.

PollDaddy. This tool offers a variety of polls and surveys designed to be simply embedded in other applications and websites. The slimmed-down free package offers users up to 10 questions per survey, with 100 responses each month and very basic reporting and analytics. Paying one of two tiers of annual fees provides access to more questions, responses and analytical tools.

Google Forms. A good way to gather large swathes of data easily, this latest innovation from Google automatically adds all responses to your survey to a spreadsheet for easy analysis. While it does not limit the number of surveys or responses, however, it does only offer six types of questions, which rules it out when seeking depth of market research.

SurveyGizmo. Again, this tool offers a free version, plus varying degrees of more advanced pay versions – but all enable you to create fully customizable surveys, with the option for embedded images and videos on your website. It also features a Dashboard to help you pore over all your surveys in one place.

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