How do I Improve Survey Response Rate?

Tess C. Taylor

Many businesses today use some form of survey marketing in an attempt to learn more about consumers' wants and needs. Surveys can be written on any topic and distributed to others in different format, from printed flyers and postcards to Internet surveys delivered by email marketing or posted on a website. Surveys can be a helpful tool when sales start to decrease or when preparing to launch a new service or product.

It may be beneficial to hire a trained interviewer to ensure surveys are administered with objectivity and professionalism.
It may be beneficial to hire a trained interviewer to ensure surveys are administered with objectivity and professionalism.

In order to improve the survey response rate, consider keeping the length of the actual survey down to a reasonable number of questions. This will help consumers to pay attention and answer all of the questions, which will improve both participation and results of the survey. Generally speaking, any more than ten minutes worth of questions will decrease the likelihood that customers will take the time to do your survey.

When putting together the survey, in order to get a favorable survey response rate, keep in mind the flow of the questions themselves. Each question should make sense in the overall context of the survey. Questions that are jumbled or jump around on topics will only lead to frustration for participants. Use each question to stimulate the thought process and lead into the next question or set of questions for the best results.

Consider the best format for your target audience when putting together a survey. For example, if you are targeting a group of businesses that exist in your local region, a postcard or hand-delivered survey may produce the best results. If you are working with a wider audience or consumers that do a bulk of their communications online, then an online survey tool or email marketing format may get better results.

One effective way to improve survey response rate is to set a deadline date for the completion of the survey. A good way to get participants to turn in the survey data is to then offer some form of incentive for participating. This can be as simple as a free giveaway such as a report or a discount to offering a prize to the first respondents.

In order to get a favorable survey response rate, you may benefit from hiring an outside survey provider to conduct the survey in a secure and objective manner. Consumers may or may not want to share personal information, so having an outside company monitor this in a confidential manner may produce better results than trying to handle the data gathering alone. In addition, it frees up your time to focus on other aspects of the survey process, such as following up with respondents to offer incentives or get more direct feedback on desired services or products.

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