Master Marketer Research Tips to Increase Your Survey\’s Response Rate

Survey Says – Market research surveys are an invaluable tool to grow your business. Have you used one recently?

When used effectively, market surveys can help you understand your current customers and find new ones, or new ways to serve existing ones. Done well, they are golden. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of a survey is largely dependent on its response rate. If too few people respond to your survey, the resulting data will have too small a sample size to be meaningfully analyzed. By increasing your survey\’s response rate, you increase the sample size, leading to stronger insights when it comes time to analyze the data. Fortunately, there are several tried-and-true steps that you can take to increase the response rate.

Offer Incentives

One of the most common tools for increasing a survey\’s response rate is to offer incentives for completing the survey. I’m shocked when people ask for survey info with no incentive or thank you for your time and input. The incentives you offer will, of course, depend on your project\’s overall budget. Market research projects with a large budget can afford to offer gift cards, or even cash, to everyone who completes a questionnaire. If your budget is not sufficient to provide an individual incentive to each person completing the survey, another option is to hold a raffle. This way, you can purchase just a few items to offer as incentives, and offer one raffle ticket for the items to each person who completes the survey.  My favorite (and often most successful) is making it easy and brief  such as –5 questions, less than 5 minutes for a $5 Amazon gift card. If we get more than a 50% response we will make a $500 donation to (insert your favorite charity – I often use the place I adopted my last animal with a picture of the animal).

Follow Up

Another way to increase your survey\’s response rate is to send follow-up letters or emails to potential participants. Just because someone didn\’t respond to your initial contact does not mean that they won\’t complete the survey. Giving up after one email ask is a major marketing blunder. They may not have noticed the email, or may have been planning to fill out the survey later but never gotten around to it. Additionally, send your follow-ups at different times of day and different days of the week. Some people are more likely to respond to surveys they receive in the morning, while others are more likely to respond at night, or even the weekend when they might have more time or even be waiting somewhere while doing a weekend chore.

Give Advance Notice

The flip side of sending follow-up emails is to send an email to survey participants before sending the actual survey. Traditional market researchers have been using this tactic for years, but it isn\’t used as frequently in online market research. Notifying your readers that they will be receiving a questionnaire will help show that you value their responses and allow them to set aside time to participate. And don’t be shy in letting them know there will be incentives involved, if indeed there are.

Keep it Short

Finally, you can increase response rate by keeping your survey short. Although a rare few survey participants are happy to spend half an hour completing a questionnaire, many will have shorter attention spans and give up half way through. I’d recommend no more than 5 minutes and let them know how many questions and how long you think it will take up front.  To prevent this, eliminate any unnecessary or redundant questions to keep your survey as short as possible. By limiting its length, you can drastically increase the number of readers who will make it all the way through.Your survey\’s response rate can make or break its effectiveness. When sending a survey out, use all the tools available to you to increase this rate, which will give you a greater sample size of data to analyze, and allow you to get the strongest insights for your company. Now with these tips, you’re well equipped to go find out what your audience and clients want next.

Survey Says – Get Surveying. It’s a powerful tool and it works.

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