Low survey response rates are continuing to be a problem in quantitative market research. There are a growing number of people who simply won’t participate in surveys for a variety of reasons. But the facts remain that well-designed surveys that use the right incentive and engaging, mobile-friendly techniques can still get noticed, and deliver healthy response rates.
Looking to boost your response rates? Here are a number of basic tips – make sure you’re following all of these, and use common sense to customize your methodology accordingly.
1. Invitation targeting
Where do your most-important respondents spend their time? Consider a variety of relevant sources for your prospective respondents. Go beyond finite email lists and think about linking your surveys from newsgroups and web forums.
2. Personalize email invitations
You should still fire out your survey invitations by email. But do it the right way: Voxco lets you personalize email invitations, which can boost response rates by 5% or more.
3. Short, simple email invitations
After the personalized ‘Hi Steve’ opening of your email invitation, keep the rest of it short and simple with only one link – the one to your survey. Then quickly and straight-forwardly explain who you are, the purpose of your study, the survey’s benefit/incentive, and its length.
4. Simplify your first survey page
People have clicked the link, and decided they’re going to take your survey. Hooray! But you can still lose them because they want to get started, and through it, as soon as possible. People don’t read long instructions or terms & conditions, and they’re likely to get turned off if you try and cram 8 questions into Page 1 of the survey. Baby steps…
5. Be clear & concise re: data privacy
6. Don’t be shy about reminders
Most of the prospects who choose to take your survey will take it right away. But you can significantly improve response rates by sending follow-up emails to anyone who does not. But keep it reasonable – more than two reminders is spammy.
Incentives don’t need to be significant, but make them interesting. Remember that the best thing to offer to a respondent is choice: let them select a reward from among a few different options.
8. Remember: some people genuinely want to share their opinion
Some people will complete a survey to help out, or to share their experiences rather than to receive an incentive. Incentives can be optional – or give them an option to donate their rewards.
9. Add a custom look & feel, strategically
Surveys don’t need overly fancy graphics, as graphics run the risk of taking away from the survey itself, or even influencing answers. But graphics and multimedia can improve survey experience and responses.
10. Publish survey results online
Respondents, especially those who completed the survey because they care about the brand or issue at the heart of the study, will want to see results, and getting exclusive access to these results could encourage completion.
Bonus! Expand reach by targeting respondent friends & family
Use a share button on the last page (or the incentive page) of the survey. If the option is there, some people will share it, and that will boost response rates further. People trust people they know, so prepare yourself for better response rates through shares than through your initial invitations.