Struggling to Find Survey Respondents? Consider These 5 Options

As a market research company, we hear this complaint all the time.

You've designed a great, well-thought-out survey, but when launching it to fieldwork you see little to no responses.

Unfortunately, a well-designed survey means nothing if you can't find your target audience to provide the feedback and insights you need.

People are strapped for time and claim to be busier than ever before. As a result, finding survey respondents can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this blog post, our market research company provides 5 options to consider when surveying hard-to-reach audiences.

5 Ways to Find Survey Respondents | Market Research Company Buffalo


Option 1: Customer Contacts

Let's get the most basic form of sampling out of the way. These respondents come directly from your customer contact lists. You can export names, addresses, phone numbers, or emails from your POS system, CRM tool, or newsletter list.

In addition to being the easiest to pull, it is also the least expensive option. This is because you have all of these contacts in-house and you do not have to pay to purchase.

Customer lists are used for customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) which is likely the most common form of market research. CSAT surveys explore the loyalty of customers and key drivers to satisfaction.

Voice of Customer (VoC) is another common form of customer market research in Buffalo and other markets. VoC explores needs and wants. It is one of the most in-depth and valuable types of projects you can conduct. All you need is a customer list.


Option 2: Social Media

Another excellent sampling option is social media. Read more about the benefits of using Facebook for market research here.

As social media becomes more and more relevant in our daily lives, these platforms are also channels that you can use to your advantage when searching for respondents. 

Social media is all about sharing. Encouraging respondents or followers to share the survey link to their social circles might increase the response rate.

However, with using different platforms comes different demographics, so choose wisely!

Choosing the Correct Social Media Platform

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter all have different and unique audiences that are capable of providing you with data points for your survey. 

  • Facebook and Twitter are strong options for B2C market research. This includes both paid and organic posts.
  • LinkedIn is a strong option for B2B market research where you may need to target specific industries or profiles. This includes InMail, sponsored ads in feeds, and group messages.

Social media can help your organization reach non-customers as well as customers. This is helpful if your survey needs to test market perception or associations.

In this type of market research study, it wouldn't make sense to survey only customers. Since they are a customer they already have a built-in bias to your organization.

To learn more about recruiting market research participants on social media, watch this 60-second video.


Option 3: Purchase Lists

This is a paid option to obtain survey respondents. Several list vendors and providers exist (just a simple Google search will name a few).

Although, we'd recommend against purchasing any type of general email list.

If the recipient has no relationship with your company, the open and response rates are likely to be incredibly small. Not even worth the minor investment.

When to Use Purchased Contact Lists

Lists are mostly used for phone surveys. They can be purchased for B2B surveys or B2C surveys.

List vendors offer cell phone lists and landline numbers for households. You can target by geography, income level, children in household, etc.

Although, as we wrote about in a prior blog post, phone surveys are on the fritz. A large driver of their death is driven by the inability to purchase strong lists.


Option 4: Use an Online Panel

An option that has emerged over the past decade is the use of market research panels. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase the response rate for your survey. 

A market research panel is a pre-recruited group of individuals who have agreed to participate in studies such as online surveys, in-depth interviews (IDIs), focus groups, mobile ethnographies, or even in-home usage tests (IHUTs).

By opting-in they will respond to any survey invite when sent, are quick to respond, and offer quality feedback. They understand and enjoy taking surveys so these panels offer incredible value.

When to Leverage Online Panels

When it comes to paying for panel survey respondents, you will pay a cost-per-complete (CPC). This is largely based on the incidence rate.

The cost to obtain a response from a left-landed, blonde-haired, female aged 18 to 24 is more than the cost to simply survey females.

This is why panels are great if your survey has a broad reach.

If you are looking to target a niche geography (counties, designated market area (DMA), or ZIP Codes), an online panel company won't likely have enough sample to support your needs for 100, 200, or 400 completes.

Social media is an excellent way to back-fill these.


Option 5: On-Site Intercept Survey

A final option seems almost so basic, you may have overlooked it. A simple way to obtain survey feedback is to go right to the source and talk to customers directly through on-site intercept surveys.

Although this is a more costly option, it is also one of the most insightful methodologies.

Intercept surveys allow a company to collect feedback live and in-the-moment. With this market research tool, analysts have access to gather opinions from customers or visitors right after their experience.

Therefore, using on-site intercept surveys as a means to collect participants for your survey collects high-quality data!

Additionally, because this is completed in-person, response rates will be higher.

Face it, it's easier to ignore a survey invite through email than it is to ignore a person asking you to take a survey.

Recommended Reading: How to Collect Customer Feedback with In-Person and Online Intercept Surveys

*Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in August 2017 but has since been updated to add new context.


Contact Drive Research to Find Survey Respondents

As a market research company, our team is always working hard for our clients to find survey respondents. More data is always better than less data.

The more customers or respondents a market research company has to analyze the more reliable, trustworthy, and credible the findings are.

However, finding survey respondents is not always as easy as it sounds.

Struggling to obtain data for your online survey? Contact our team for help.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.


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