[OLD] Struggling to Get More Survey Responses? Use These 9 Tips

Wondering why you are not seeing many responses to your survey?

This is a common challenge our online survey company hears from prospective clients. 

The top culprits of low response survey response rates are often related to things like...

  • Issues with the survey writing
  • Setting too narrow of an audience
  • Not using a credible resource for survey respondents
  • Not offering an incentive that motivates the respondents you are trying to reach to fully complete the survey

Ultimately, it’s helpful to get an understanding of the audience and objectives of the survey before providing a recommendation on how to best research survey respondents. 

However, below we share a few different tips for getting more survey responses from both the general population as well as more specific audiences such as business decision-makers, IT leaders, and physicians.

1. Find Different Sampling Sources

Contact an online research panel

Using an online research panel is a great first step when trying to get survey responses.

Knowing there are differences in feasibility and price, researchers typically reach out to a few panel companies before deciding which to move forward with. 

Before reaching out to a panel company, be prepared to provide key information such as

  • An overview of the project type
  • Target geography
  • Length of the survey (i.e., minutes to complete and the number of questions)
  • Goal number of completes
  • Estimated incidence rate

Additionally, it's important to note survey qualifiers (e.g., decision-makers, aware of certain brands) and quotas (e.g., a mix of gender, race, ethnicity, etc.). 

Recommended Reading: Benefits of Using a Third-Party Online Research Panel 

Partner with a Market Research Recruiting Company

Prefer to have a seasoned market research professional work with an online research panel provider on your behalf? That’s also an option! 

For instance, our market research team has an extensive list of providers that details contact information, website, strengths, weaknesses, pricing information, and additional notes.

Keep in mind there are additional intricacies and survey programming that needs to be done when working with an online panel provider.

If this is something you would like to avoid figuring out, working with a market research recruiting company is an ideal sampling method.

Additionally, some market research companies also offer DIY turnkey solutions without having to sign on for a $10K project. For example, the Voice of Employee offering from Drive Research is a turnkey solution for employee surveys

Recommended Reading: Benefits of Using a Third-Party Market Research Firm.

Use Paid Social Media

Looking for an additional source of research respondents outside of using an online research panel or recruitment company? Social media can be an effective next step.

Consider placing ads on platforms the target audience of the survey is likely to be using. 

For example, consider using Facebook or Instagram. Data sources report 73% of U.S. Facebook users to log on at least daily, and 60% of those younger than 35 use Instagram at least daily.

Plus, when using advanced targeting through Facebook and Instagram, ads can be placed to specific audiences such as ages, locations, interests, and more.

Watch our 60-second video to learn our tips and tricks for social media recruiting. Or read our [Ultimate Guide] How to Use Social Media to Find Research Participants

3. Think about whether your audience is feasible to reach

One of the biggest challenges in research is defining a target audience.

Oftentimes, companies will want to make the target audience very specific, which can make fieldwork take longer and increase costs.

Also, making the audience too narrow may also lead to missing opportunities by assuming the target audience is smaller than reality. 

4. Is your incentive appealing?

Offering an incentive is critical for feasibility. One of the dangers of DIY market research is that researchers will buy a cheap email list only to offer the wrong incentive or no incentive at all.

The best way to conduct research with specific decision-maker audiences is to pay per response. This is typically most effective when working with a research vendor specializing in research with specific audiences. 

Choosing the best market research reward can not only help increase the survey response rate but actually reduce project costs. More on that here: Higher Rewards Can Equal Lower Market Research Costs.

Recommended Reading: Market Research Incentives: New Survey Shows What Reward is Most Appealing to Respondents

5. Keep the respondent experience top of mind

It is always important to set and meet respondent expectations when conducting an online survey. For instance, if your email survey invitation says the survey will take no more than 5-minutes - then the survey should take no more than 5-minutes.

When drafting the survey it's always best to consider ways to make the survey easy to complete. 

Earn more survey responses by doing the following in your questionnaire:

  • Mix up the question types being used in the survey
  • Make the questions clear and concise
  • Keep the survey as short and succinct as possible

Other DIY Survey Tips

6. Think about the survey flow

Ensure all questions that would disqualify someone from the survey are asked upfront.

For example, let's say you want to survey content creators and bloggers.

Before diving into questions about their preferred social media channels and brand partnerships, you need to make sure they are actually content creators. The first few questions should screen respondents to assure they match your ideal demographic.

In this case, the first question could be "Do you post sponsored content?" Those who respond no, should be disqualified from the survey.

Also, consider the question order throughout the survey to avoid order bias

7. Be clear about the timeline

Give yourself enough time to complete fieldwork while including a few extra days for setup and data cleaning.

Fieldwork can be done in as short as two days or may last as long as a month or longer. This timing depends on how difficult the audience is to reach and the method of fieldwork.

8. Consider any quotas that are important before you start fieldwork

In addition to defining a target audience for a survey, oftentimes researchers may be looking for specific quotas during fieldwork.

For example, a representative sample of gender. It’s important to consider what quotas are important and whether reaching specific quotas are feasible. 

9. Take measures to ensure high data quality

One of the most disheartening feelings is when you have a large batch of survey responses only to remove half of them for data quality issues.

Set your survey up for success by taking measures to ensure high data quality before fieldwork begins. For more information, check out these tips to spot poor-quality survey data.

A Closer Look at Types of Survey Respondents

Why Physicians Are Not Responding To Your Survey

Physicians have a variety of responsibilities to help their patients, so it is safe to say time is one of their most precious resources.

During a physician's day, tasks may include responding to medical issues, analyzing reports/examinations, advising patients, keeping up to date with medical policies/treatments, and complying with laws/regulations.

When trying to conduct a physicians survey be sure to use a credible source to find respondents, offer an incentive that motivates physicians to complete the survey, and use best practices to ensure the survey is short and concise while meeting the objectives of the research.

Additionally, working with a third party when conducting market research with doctors and physicians can help ensure your survey goes according to plan. These teams can help ensure the survey is being conducted properly.

Why IT Decision Makers Are Not Responding To Your Survey

Senior IT leaders are short on time.

On any given day they could be tasked with installing new hardware, participating in IT inventory asset management, troubleshooting network issues, configuring phone systems…the list goes on and on. 

Therefore, they rarely have a lot of free time to respond to a survey, especially if it is any longer than 10 minutes.

Too often researchers or DIYers will create a 15-minute or 50-question survey, buy a list of 10,000 email addresses for IT decision-makers, and wonder why they get zero or a handful of completes. 

In order to improve your response rates with IT leaders and professionals, it is important to:

  1. Keep your survey short
  2. Use techniques to make your survey engaging
  3. Consider ways to make the IT decision-maker audience you are targeting as inclusive as possible
  4. Ensure the incentive motivates the audience to complete the survey

There are various ways to partner with a market research vendor if conducting research with IT decision-makers. For example, perhaps you want to work with a market research vendor to execute the study from start to finish or you may just want to seek help to complete fieldwork. 

Recommended Reading: C-Level IT Decision-Maker Survey


Why B2B Decision Makers Are Not Responding To Your Survey

Whether you are looking for feedback from a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) they all have one thing in common; they're busy. 

Business decision-makers have a laundry list of tasks to accomplish every day. They manage teams, are responsible for business development, cultivate workplace culture, etc.

For this reason, they don't have thirty minutes to spare on a survey…especially if they do not know the sponsor or do not see value in participating. 

Don’t make the mistake of creating a survey that is too long, not engaging, too narrow of an audience, offering the wrong incentive, or assuming grassroots efforts will suffice. 

When conducting a B2B survey, seek a quote from a market research firm instead of spinning your wheels. Market research firms can help set your survey up for success by using best practices for survey writing and executing fieldwork. 


Final Thoughts

Lastly, ask yourself if the survey is having a hard time reaching respondents because there is one of two things:

  1. A high drop off rate -- respondents are leaving the survey without completing it)
  2. A low incidence rate -- there is a low likelihood of a respondent qualifying for the survey. 

If either of these occurrences is happening, now is the time to consider shortening the survey and/or loosening respondent requirements. 

Ideally, strive to keep the survey to as close to 5 minutes or less for respondents to complete.

Additionally, our online survey company recommends asking less than 3 open-ended survey questions. It can also help if the open-ended questions are skippable, which can lower the drop-off rate.

Recommended Reading: A Closer Look At What Impacts Survey Response Rates.

Get More Survey Responses with Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in New York. Our team specializes in survey design, recruiting, and reporting. 

Need help finding survey respondents? Contact Drive Research to learn more about our pricing.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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