Improve Survey Response Rate
Internal surveys (i.e. a company surveying its employees) generally have a much higher response rate than external surveys (e.g. surveys aimed at customers or people outside of an organisation).
Internal surveys will generally receive a 30-40% response rate or more on average, compared to an average 10-15% response rate for external surveys. Response rates may be even higher if employees feel comfortable with the survey environment and feel that their anonymity is protected.
15 Ways to Increase Online Survey Response Rates:
- Increase respondent convenience by keeping the message as short as possible. To increase the chance your email is read and your survey is responded to, make your invites concise and straightforward.
If you already have information about respondents (e.g. name, age, gender, organization, title, etc.), don’t make them enter this information again in your surveys.
- Craft effective email subject lines and start emails with an engaging question. To gain the interest of the recipient, don’t use a dull subject line. Feature a subject or example from the email content that will draw them in. Avoid the word “free” as many unsolicited emails use the word “free” in their subject line. To keep Spam filters at bay, use original language but at the same time be cautious with your choice of words.
For an employee satisfaction survey invite you could ask “How do you rate the work-life balance offered by your employer? Or in a customer loyalty survey invite you could pose the question “What is the one thing that makes you a loyal customer to XYZ Company?”. The point is to connect with your audience in a way that immediately communicates the high value you place on their opinion.
- Maintain an informal tone. Bulk emails are very easy to deploy. Take some time to personalize your emails in a friendly, welcoming tone that doesn’t sound too much like you are trying to sell something.
- Email Branding and Personalization. Personalized emails are very effective at relating to your stakeholders. Branding your message to the look-and-feel of your organization’s website and logo increases the respondent’s trust in your efforts. A personal touch goes a long way in having people respond.
- Effectively target message and offer meaningful incentives. The content and tone of your email should be crafted based on the varying audiences they are being sent to (e.g. first-time respondents vs. past respondents, executives vs. employees, customers vs. vendors, etc.) and should reflect their specific interests and needs.
Research increasingly shows that offering individuals short-term inducements (e.g. coupons, free low-valued merchandise, etc.) to take a survey is not as effective at increasing response rates or building long-term relationships as offering them more significant reasons is, such as sharing the results with them or communicating that their feedback will impact the direction of the organization.
- Offer multiple methods of survey access. Send direct links, redirect and copy/past URLs to allow participants with varying Internet browser settings access surveys in ways most convenient to them. For individuals who don’t have an email address, send them unique keys via fax, telephone, or postcard to login to surveys. For organizations that administer paper-based or telephone surveys.
- Reminders lower non-response bias. With the instant nature of email communication, you can easily send intelligent reminders to those who have not yet responded to your initial invite. You should not however, send more than two reminders or send reminders to individuals who have already responded by either taking the survey or declining participation. Keep track of how many invites/reminders each individual has received, their response status, and how many surveys of yours they have taken in a certain amount of time.
- Keep email address databases current. People change their email addresses frequently for many reasons. To keep your list accurate, you should keep tabs on emails that bounce back or are undeliverable. You should also offer a way for survey participants to update their contact information in the email or survey.
Participants want to know that their responses are safe and won’t be linked with identifying information (email, IP address, etc.). You should have a line in the content of your email that describes the extent that you address these issues.
- Best time to send. Send emails when people are most likely to receive it and have the time to respond to it. This takes some getting-to-know your specific survey audiences and when their down times and busy periods are. Usually, on Thursday and Friday, people are gearing up for the weekend and on Monday they are recovering from the weekend. Likewise, if you send invites/reminders early in the morning you run the risk of being lumped with the substantial amount of Spam generated late at night. Studies have shown the best time to send an email is mid-week on Tuesday and Wednesday between 2-3 pm.
- Give the option for text-only email. Not every email server allows HTML emails or emails with images/multimedia. Always include a plain text alternative for individuals who can only receive text.
- Do not deceive your audience. Another topic regulated by the Can Spam Act (2003), it is important to be honest about the contents and aim of your email. For example, using a subject line of “Free Credit Score” will annoy individuals greatly when they realize your email has nothing to do with a free credit score check.
- Enable respondents to partially save surveys and to opt-out of a survey. To minimize participants giving up on completing a survey, offer them a way to save their progress and return to it later. Analyzing the stopping points is also a useful way to gauge the optimal length of your survey.
Required now by the Can Spam Act (2003), including a clear and conspicuous way for recipients to decline participation (opt-out) is critical from both legal and etiquette perspectives.
- Try different things. To discover better ways of doing things, try using several different subject lines, body copy, branding, etc. to see what is most effective. Whenever you try something different, monitor the changes in response rates and compare it with previous survey initiatives.
- Always test emails before sending. Before launching your email invitations, best practice tells us we should test and preview all aspects of the survey experience to ensure everything appears and functions exactly as we expect it to.
Conclusion: You can get survey responses by distributing survey yourself. You can post your link to different sites, forums, chatrooms etc. But you will not get enough survey responses to draw some professional results. Many of the responses will not be true, these type of responses will ruin your survey results.
I recommend to use a professional Survey distributor company like Global Survey Market. They provide Survey Respondents from all over the Globe. You can select your respondents preferences according to your Survey topic.