10 Tips to Engage Survey Takers for a Higher Response Rate

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SoGoSurvey shows organizations how to increase online survey response rates to ensure results are statistically representative.

We help our clients take advantage of best practices for improving survey participation.

SoGoSurvey, a leading provider of online survey software and a recognized expert in survey methodology, shows organizations how to increase survey response rates to ensure their results are representative of the population, whether it's employees, customers, or patients.

“Executives are taking surveys seriously now as a way to achieve customer loyalty and a high-performance work culture. Companies spend a lot of time on these surveys, and they are useless if response rates are low,” said Haris Azmi, chief marketing officer of SoGoSurvey. “We help our clients take advantage of best practices for improving survey participation.”

1. Keep the survey short
If you have demographic data about respondents, don’t make them enter it again. Pre-populate known data to make the survey experience fast. Also, don’t try to tackle too many topics; keep the survey to 3 to 12 questions. And make the questions and answer choices short.

2. Only include relevant questions
To ensure questions are relevant, clearly define your goals and target audience. Also use branching functionality to route respondents around irrelevant questions to make the survey experience shorter.

3. Keep email subject lines short and descriptive
To immediately grab attention, don’t use a dull subject line such as “We want your feedback.” The subject line should clearly indicate what’s inside the email, such as “Short Satisfaction Survey from JJ’s Landscaping.” Keep subject lines to 50 characters or less. Avoid using hype, all caps, or exclamation marks. Also avoid the words “help,” “reminder,” and “free.” Those equal “ignore.”

3. Craft the email invitation carefully and keep it short
Keep your email invitation concise: state the purpose of the survey, why it’s important to participate, and the estimated time for completion. Depending on the survey, also include your privacy policy and reassurances regarding data security and anonymity (e.g., an employee engagement survey).

4. Send surveys at the right time and follow up with reminders
Generally, the best time to send email invitations is midweek in the afternoon; however, this depends on your audience. Send reminders to those who haven’t responded, but don’t send more than two reminders.

5. Brand and personalize the survey and invitation
A personal touch generates a higher response rate. Personalize the invitation with the receiver’s name, company, city, etc. Also brand the invitation and survey with the look-and-feel of your organization’s website and logo. To further personalize your survey, pipe a respondent’s answer into subsequent questions.

6. Offer multiple ways to access the survey
Reach respondents where they spend time—on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on your website.

8. Offer meaningful incentives
Research shows that small incentives such as coupons are not effective. Instead, offer to share the survey results and explain how the feedback will impact your organization’s decisions.

9. Send a test survey
Send test invitations to yourself or a group of colleagues. Meet with the test group to see if they encountered any issues, how long it took to complete the survey, and if the invitation, questions, or flow of the survey needs to be changed.

10. Don’t send the same survey twice
Try using different subject lines, content, branding, and timing to see what is most effective. When you try something different, monitor any changes in the response rate and compare them with previous surveys.

All these best practices ensure a high response rate so organizations can make accurate generalizations about responses. However, one of the very best practices is to follow up and tell your audience how you used their responses. Respondents are much more likely to take your survey the next time if they know you actually acted on the feedback they provided.

To find out more about how SoGoSurvey can boost your response rates, visit http://www.sogosurvey.com.

About SoGoSurvey-
SoGoSurvey is the challenger, plugging the galactic gap between low-end, out-of-date survey software and the overpriced products at the high end. Fueled with the power of an enterprise solution, SoGoSurvey is affordable, easy-to-use and flexible. It goes beyond data collection with action-driven analytics that optimize work-flow, reports, event-alerts, and decision-making. SoGoSurvey is all about giving survey makers and takers a rock-solid, professional experience. When users discover what SoGoSurvey offers, they do back-flips. SoGoSurvey's customers are individuals and small to mid-sized businesses, right up to Fortune 500 companies. SoGoSurvey's founders have been recognized experts and visionaries in the field of data-driven decision-making for over a decade. http://www.sogosurvey.com

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Patti Frasier
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