How Do Mail Surveys Work? | Market Research Company

Our market research company near Rochester, NY works with a number of organizations across Upstate NY and the country assisting them with their mail surveys. Mail surveys are used less frequently than they were 10 or 20 years ago but they still remain a core methodology in market research outside of online surveys and phone surveys.

As organizations look to limit expenses and maximize budget, many have jumped to online methodologies. It's hard to argue with the decision. Online surveys offer a quicker turnaround and they are much less expensive. The data quality is comparable to a mail survey as well.

Mail surveys are chosen for a few reasons. One reason is that an organization has no other contact information or way to reach a population such as an email address or phone number. Another reason is the ability to geo-target survey respondents in specific ZIP Codes or other boundaries. Panels and online sample often struggle with the ability to find enough people in a very small geography. Others use mail surveys because they have no other choice. They might have a contract or agreement with an audience that does not allow them to call or email them for survey purposes.

Regardless of why you choose a mail survey, our market research company near Rochester is here to help. Here is the 6 step process for conducting a mail survey.

how do mail surveys work market research company buffalo

Mail surveys are still a methodology utilized to collect feedback for a variety of industries. They are a more personal way to contact respondents outside of the basic email.

Step 1: Survey Outline

Our market research company serving Rochester always recommends starting your survey process with an outline. Make sure you determine what questions you want to ask, your objectives, and how long you want the survey to be before you begin formatting the actual survey document. This will save you a ton of rework and reformatting once you begin the survey document.

Step 2: Survey Document

The survey document is the actual instrument you will use for printing and mailing. These can be formatted on a Word document or PowerPoint. With PowerPoint it is a bit easier to maneuver and change criteria. The survey document can be created with several columns to maximize space on the front and back of the paper. This is the file that you will use to print and tri-fold for your mailing. Consider using a cover letter as well if your budget allows.

Step 3: Return Postage

The sooner you can make a decision on this, the better. Some organizations choose to stamp return envelopes to cover returns. Others often acquire a permit from the USPS which gives you custom artwork so the mail can be returned directly to your site and the return postage is credited from an account. The key here is to pay for return postage with respondents because it boosts response rate. Forcing the respondent to find a stamp or go the Post Office to buy stamps is a barrier and will reduce the number of returned surveys.

Step 4: Printing, Assembly, and Postage

Now you are ready to begin printing. Once you have proofed and finalized the document, envelopes, and set up your mail merge, you are ready to go. In this step, you will typically work with a mail house to assemble all pieces and stuff the envelopes with a cover letter, survey, and return envelope to make for an easy return. This usually takes a few days to assemble.

Step 5: Data Entry

After the mailing has been dropped off at the USPS to be sent out, then you sit back and wait for the surveys to come rolling in. As they are returned you will need to data enter them into your survey software or into an Excel file. It's important to stay on top of these to track response rates and also prevent having a boatload of data entry at the tail-end of fieldwork. Your team will thank you if you stay on top of this data entry throughout. The length of fieldwork depends on your timeline but most market research companies leave fieldwork open for 2 to 6 weeks.

Step 6: Analysis and Report

After data entry is complete, you can begin your analysis and reporting. This is where the fun begins as you get to dive into the data, run comparisons across audiences, and start to develop key takeaways. At Drive Research, our market research reports consist of an executive summary, recommendations, an infographic, and an appendix of question-by-question results.

Contact Us

Drive Research is a market research company near Rochester. We work with clients across Upstate New York including Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Albany as well as clients across the country. Interested in receiving a mail survey market research quote from our team?

Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 315-303-2040.

Contact Us


Mail Surveys