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4 Ways to Improve Your Online Survey Response Rates

4 Ways to Improve Your Online Survey Response Rates

Online surveys are often the default choice for people doing market research. We capture the voice of the customer, test responses to new ideas or gather much insight to aid key business decisions. The problem is that surveys are useless if next to no one responds to them. After all the hard work your company spends on crafting a survey, you sometimes see meager responses in the tens rather than the thousands. Needless to say, tiny sample sizes are not great at predicting how a wider market would respond.

The trick, then, is to not only create a survey, but to also create it and release it in such a way that you get a much clearer and more accurate depiction of your consumer base.

Here are some ways to encourage higher response rates and get more people motivated to complete your survey from start to finish:

1. Be Clear Why You Are Releasing a Survey and Why Someone Should Take It

When creating your survey, you will ideally have created a well-defined goal for what you hope to find out. No matter the reason, you will want it to be specific and easy to define. You should then take this definition and deliver it to the person you want to take the survey in a personable way. The go-to “in order to improve our service with you…” can often suffice, but realize that this statement is neither specific nor relatable. Brands that want to generalize in this way should still be more compelling, such as saying: “We care about what our customers think, and we want to give you this opportunity to let us know how we are doing and how we could do better.”

If you are willing to share even more information, all the better. Telling a customer something like, “We are considering expanding our product line in bold new ways, so we want to know what ideas get you most excited,” lets the customer in on your intentions and makes them feel as if they are part of the process. Being vague, by contrast, is less likely to get people engaged.

2. Tell Them How You Are Going to Use Their Information

Be up front with your research participants. Many people are increasingly wary of sharing personal information. Others are willing to do so only if they get something in return.

Use your survey introduction to tell participants exactly how their information will be used, whether it will be anonymous, and if it is anonymous how that anonymity will be protected. Briefly providing relevant context of how you will use the information in the e-mail invitation helps you convert more of the people that do read the e-mail into survey takers.

3. Keep the Survey and the Questions Short and Sweet

Shorter surveys are more likely to see completion. If you must have a longer survey, consider creating a core set of questions that everyone receives and rotating sets of additional questions that not everyone will answer every time.

Consider the respondent experience when selecting question types.  If you are not already thinking about it, mobile optimization starts in design and is not just a survey software and programming issue.

4. Deliver Surveys at the Right Time and Place Using Diverse Strategies

Many customers are only willing to take surveys when they are in a certain mood. Some people expect to be engaged and want to share their opinion. Others rarely participate, but can be influenced. Still others will have no interest in participating, but could be persuaded during their checkout or bill payment process if they get an incentive.

In the end...

A company’s best bet to improve their online survey response rates is to try several strategies at once and keep track of how respondents were led to the survey. You will likely get a more diverse base of participants, and you can capture more responses overall.

In the end, appealing to your target audience with a survey that caters to their time constraints and desire for relevancy will be the best way for your survey to succeed.

If you want to take further steps and learn some best practices in designing your research study, read our ebook on demographic and screening questions, or try our online survey demo.

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