There are thousands of ways to gather information about a specific demographic or niche market, but one type of research method remains strong, even today. That would be survey research, which is ideal for collecting data on populations and 3rd party opinions that are not usually monitored by transactions online. However, there is one issue that many people face when they launch a survey to collect data: getting an adequate response rate to receive conclusive and actionable evidence. Over the years market research response rates have taken a nose dive, and it might solely be because most people don’t design their surveys well enough to attract people to take them.
In order to boost survey response rates and optimise the data you collect, be sure to follow the tips below to make beautiful and interactive surveys that get you the answers you seek:
1. Make the Taker Feel Revered
People need a reason to do the survey, and the best way is to express genuine concern about a problem and appreciation for participation. When you first introduce the survey, emphasize the need for their opinion and explain how their feedback will help you deliver more exceptional service than ever before. Also be clear about how long the survey will take, when the results will be published (if you decide to do that), and make the survey shareable, so people feel like they have some influence on the future of your company.
2. Provide Tantalising Incentives
While some people want to share their opinion, others want something in return. Offer coupons or discounts for a service, cash incentives, raffles, gift cards, or a random prize if you have the budget for it. If you’re on a tight budget, then you can add other incentives, like access to free content or a free trail to an exclusive membership or service.
3. Don’t Waste People’s Time
Surveys don’t need to be long. In fact, you should show respect for the participant by promising the time frame when introducing the survey. When you claim that the survey should only take 5-10 minutes, make sure it can actually be completed within that frame. Additionally, 5-10 minutes is the ideal length of time. Most people are willing to spend 5 minutes on a survey. That willingness drops exponentially if the survey is longer than 10 minutes.
Other ways to not waste people’s time is to add a skip option, an opt out, and paths that lead them to the end of the survey if they’re not an ideal match.
4. Make It Immersive
By asking the right question and disguising the survey as a quiz, adding media, like a video, or share buttons, you can make the survey feel more like a game and less like, well, research. Keep the questions short and sweet, maxing out at around 10-12 questions, depending on whether they are open-end or not. You can even add a rating question with the chance to provide additional feedback to make people feel like they are more than just customers.
5. Add A Progress Bar
Although it is a tiny addition, a progress bar is preferable amongst survey takers. The reason is because people like having an indicator that shows how much longer they have, and this motivates them to complete the survey.
6. Think of A Catchy Subject Line
Did you know that 33% of email recipients decide to open an email based on the subject line? That is why headers and tag lines are so important when writing content. The catchier, the better. An excellent method for getting responses is to add a question in the subject line. You will notice Quora doing this often. The question is often intriguing, such as “Is [this] department the best [department] at [your company]?” or “Has [our company] ever let you down?”
Inquires such as these prompt curiosity and compel the reader to open the email, which leads them to the chance to contribute their opinions on the matter.
One more thing: never announce that the survey is a survey in the subject line. That will turn people away.
7. Buttons Galore
It’s simple. Add buttons, get clicks. Buttons are a quick and visual way to add a call-to-action to an email or landing page that will direct people to behave a certain way. You can use phrases like “Give input,” “Contribute,” “Share an opinion,” “Have your say,” or “Vocalise.”
8. Do the Follow Up
Following up is a must. You can’t avoid it, and if you do, you’re missing out on responses. If you follow up with people who have yet to respond to the survey prompt, it shows that you value their opinion. Sending up to 3 follow up emails, no more.
Also, if you have a small budget, follow up emails can be used in place of incentives. For instance, you can add something of value to each of the follow up emails that shows you care but also is a reason for the reader to take the survey, such as additional information on the topic you are trying to gather information on.
9. Strategic Image Placement
Some surveys don’t require images all over the place. Some just need text. That said, imagery is a wonderful way to include those who consider themselves more visual, especially if you are evaluating the performance of a material product. If you want to include images, do so in a way that it doesn’t look cluttered. For example, you can use pictures as an answer for a multiple choice question, illustrating what you are asking about.
10. Publish the Results And Use Them To Your Advantage
When respondents know that they can see the results after a while, it will compel them to complete the survey and check back regularly. Furthermore, communicating those results to the audience is proof that you are listening. This will make respondents and those who didn’t respond more willing to participate in the next round of surveys. But aside from just posting the results in a blog, you should do good on your word and actually use the results to your advantage. Regardless of what you asked, you can learn a lot of responses, such as:
- How or why you should change a product or service
- What people think of a specific product or service
- Why people use your service
- How their life has improved because of your product or service
- How well your company’s brand is being received
- What you should do in the future to continue receiving orders from customers
- New content for your blog
One warning: Respect privacy and confidentiality. If you plan on quoting someone, never post their name or other identifiable information online.
11. Show Gratitude
Showing that you appreciate what the survey takers have done for you is more than adding bonus incentives for completing the survey or following up. If you want people to continuing taking your surveys, say thank you. Let them know that you are grateful for their participation. One way to do this is to add an outro like:
- We appreciate your feedback. Now we can make your experience even better.
- Thank you for taking our survey. We appreciate your time.
- Thanks for helping us! You rock!
- Thank you for giving us your opinion. We wish a wonderful day.
It’s time to turn questions and words into action. By using these tips to help you design your surveys and emails notifications, you can optimise the response rate.