You are only as good as the data you collect. Very true in market research. An online survey or email survey is a leap into the great unknown in the industry. How many will open our invitation to participate? How many will respond? These questions are nearly impossible to answer. A market research firm can help you estimate this based on industry and client experience.
However, you likely have a goal number of completed surveys in mind (100, 200, 400, etc.). Depending on how engaged and interested your email list of contacts is, this can become a very easy task or difficult one.
I'm guessing if you came across this post on how to improve response rates to your online or email survey, you are struggling with return. The good news for you is our market research firm has a lot of experience with these types of projects.
We've designed 4 basic but valuable, tactical, and impactful tips to improve response rates to your survey. Read more about each of the 4 tips below.
Follow these 4 basic tips to improve your survey response rates.
Tip 1: Create an Engaging Subject Line in the Email
The first step to getting a respondent to participate in your online survey is to get noticed. In order to get noticed in an endless stream of emails in someone's inbox, you need to stand out. The typical "Take Our Survey" is unlikely to help.
Get creative with your invitation subject line. Have some fun with it, take a risk, include some lighter language. Remember the goal is to draw attention and an open. If your subject line is too bland or boring the respondent will move on.
Spend some time thinking about a brief but noticeable subject line that relates to your study. You do not want to be too wild where you include text that in no way relates to the survey itself, but you need to be somewhat creative. Think about using an A/B test here.
Tip 2: Send Reminder Emails
Think you only have to pull the trigger once on an invitation? Think again. Although you're likely to get the vast majority of your completed surveys in your first invitation, you should send a reminder or 2 to your sample. This reminder should include similar text to your invite but clearly include the word "reminder" or something similar.
Reminder emails help. Your survey software should allow you to send reminders only to non-responders or partial responders. You do not want to send an invite out to your entire list a second time. If a respondent has completed the survey already you want to make sure you do not bother them again with another invite. They may think you did not receive their response or you made a mistake.
Tip 3: Keep the Body Text Concise and to the Point
At this point, you've passed the first step. You got the respondent to open the email. Now the next goal is to get them to participate in your survey so you do not want to lose them now. It's important to be clear and concise in the body of the email.
In the body text you'll want to include what the survey is about, how long it will take, and why a response is important. Reference the incentive or reward. Don't include 6 or 7 paragraphs of text as it will likely overwhelm the respondent and discourage a response. At this point the reader is likely to skim the information anyway.
Tip 4: Clearly Define the Next Step
So the respondent has noticed your email and subject line and they've opened up the email and read the text in the body of the email. What next? Remember, the ultimate goal is to obtain a survey complete so you need to make either the survey link or survey start button highly visible.
Some survey platforms even embed question 1 of the survey right into the email invitation which helps respondents start the survey right from the email. All your work goes for naught if they do not complete the survey, so keep that in mind here as a final step.
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