I'm a heavy user of Google products since they're free and come with almost all of the functionality that I require to run my business. I'm especially fond of (lol) Google Forms and Sheets. Used together, you can collect, store and analyze data and, again, there are no fees for this service.
There is a lot you can do with the Forms and Sheets combination. You can create a customer satisfaction survey, a quiz, an RSVP form, a sign-up form, etc. This week, I'm going to show you how I use Google Forms to collect ad sales data for our family business. I will do a follow-up post next week to touch on what to do with all the data you collected in Google Sheets.
OK, here is a little background. We've celebrated our five-year anniversary on April 15, 2017. The magazine recently changed its name from Local Connections Halifax to Curated Food & Drink Magazine to reflect our shift in focus. We publish six issues a year, each issue has at least 48 pages and we print 25,000 copies per issue. The magazines are available at select locations in Halifax, Annapolis Valley and South Shore.
We get our revenue from selling ads in the magazine, so it's kind of important to keep track of that. And that's where Google Forms comes in handy.
How to create a new form
Sign up for a Google account if you haven't already by visiting this page. Once you're in, go to the Google Drive, and click on "NEW" button on the left top of the screen.
Navigate: More > Google Forms > Blank form.
A blank form will be created, and you'll see something like this below.
I decided to call the form, The Curated Magazine - Booking (shown below). To change the form name, click on "Untitled form" to edit. You can also edit the "form description."
But before we go any further, let me tell you something very important. You'd want to limit the use of short answer options as much as possible for data quality assurance. Here is an example. Let's say that I wanted to know how many times someone picked up our magazine last year. If I created a short-answer question, I can get any of the following responses: 2, never, one, maybe twice? don't know, once, etc. But if I used a multiple choice of a drop-down menu, I can limit my responses to: 1, 2, 3...never, don't know. See how you can collect cleaner, useful data by limiting the response options?
Adding the first item
To add the first item, click on "Untitled Question."
My first question is, "Is this a regular booking or an amendment?" Sometimes, our clients need to change their order, so I need to know if this is a new order or an update. If it's an update, I need to manually delete the old order later. (It would be fantastic if I could find a way to automate all these. I'm looking...) [Image 4]
I want to make this a multiple choice with two answer options: regular and amendment. Click on "Option 1" and change it to "regular." Then click on "ADD OTHER" to insert change it to "amendment." [Images 4,5]
To change the response type, click on the downward arrow on either side of the response drop-down menu. (Multiple choice selected in the image below) [Image 4]
I also want to make this a required item so anyone filling out the form cannot skip this question. So I turned on the required option on the right bottom. [Image 5]
To add a new item, click on the "+" sign on the right side of the screen. Now I want to add a drop down item so each salesperson can attach their name to an ad sale. This info will be used to calculate their sales commissions. List all of your salespeople and make sure to turn on the "required" option.
I need to know the name of our client. Short answer option is perfect for this and again make sure to turn on the answer "required" option.
So far I have items to collect 1) regular/amendment, 2) sales person, 3) account/client and now I'm ready to add sales info items. And I wanted to add a short guidance on how to fill the out. To add a description, click on the "Tt" symbol.
Ad size and price
To record the size of the ads sold, I used the drop-down option and added all the ad sizes that our magazine offers.
I didn't make this item a required option because not everyone buys ads for every single issue of the magazine.
For entering the corresponding ad price, I created a short answer item but with a built-in data validation check. To do this, click on the three vertical dot on the right bottom of each item, which will bring up two options: description and data validation. Click data validation.
Here, I wanted to make sure only the numeric values are entered and the number must be greater than or equal to zero. You can also choose to have text only or maximum character counts.
Lastly, I added a notes section where a sales person can enter any important information regarding the specific sale.
Now let's see how your form looks like. Click on the eyes icon.
Connect to a Google Sheets document to store data
Click on the "Responses" tab.
Click on the green spreadsheet icon (Create spreadsheet)
Which will bring up a new window.
Click "Create," which will open up a new spreadsheet with all of your questions on the first row of columns.
The new spreadsheet is saved in the same folder as where you created your Google Forms document. If you wish, you can move both the Forms and Sheets documents to wherever you like in your Google Drive.
Once the form is ready, invite people to fill it out by email, links, embedded form, Google +, Facebook and Twitter.
That's it for today! Next week, I will go over how to use the Google Sheets to use the data you collected via the Forms.
P.S. Here is a link to the official how to use Google Forms tutorial.
Get started with Forms: G Suite Learning Center