How To Catapult Your Online Survey ResponseHow To Catapult Your Online Survey Response

One of the perpetual (and frustrating) challenges of conducting online surveys is trying to motivate your audience to respond to them. People live busier lives than ever. That means their free time is limited. Unless they are given a compelling reason to participate in your questionnaire, they are likely to ignore your invitations. Sadly, even if your survey has been flawlessly designed, it will be hobbled if few people answer your questions.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve the likelihood that your audience will be receptive to your survey invitations. This article will describe them. You'll discover how to increase your response rate by keeping things simple, leveraging the loyalty of your customers, and testing the effectiveness of your announcements.

Simplicity Increases Participation

The more difficult it is for your audience to complete your survey, the lower your response rate. Simplicity is critical. If possible, keep your questionnaire short and limited to ten questions or less. Make sure each item is clearly phrased to avoid ambiguity or confusion. And while transparency is important, be as brief as possible without sacrificing clarity. Because you're organizing your project online, you can provide links that allow respondents to find more information about a given item.

The presentation of your questionnaire is also important. Again, lean toward simplicity. The font you use should be easy to read and attractive to the eye. The background should be plain in order to avoid distracting participants.

What Incentives Can You Offer Your Audience?

Incentives can dramatically improve your response rate as long as they have perceived value among your audience. For example, many large companies (i.e. Starbucks, Walmart, etc.) have been encouraging customers to complete online surveys by offering to enter their names into drawings. Other inducements might include tangible gifts, such as a t-shirt or gift certificate.

Depending on your market, you may be able to entice people to respond to your questionnaires by offering to show them the results. While this approach is less effective for the consumer market, it can be effective when targeting specific niches.

Leverage Customer Loyalty

When customers enjoy the experience they have with a specific company, they develop a deep-set loyalty for that business. That loyalty is valuable in the context of encouraging customer participation in your online surveys. When asked to participate, customers are not only willing, but anxious to play a role in the direction of the company. The more strongly the customer feels, the more valuable the data.

On the other hand, if your audience is indifferent or apathetic toward your company, they are likely to ignore your invitation. Leverage the loyalty your customers feel and you'll enjoy a much higher response rate.

Test Your Announcement Mechanism

There are several methods you can use to announce your surveys. You should test as many as possible to determine which is most effective given your main objective.

Brief email announcements are still one of the most effective strategies if the emails are sent to your in-house list of customers or subscribers. This can be especially useful for approaching people who have recently purchased a product from your site.

If you're targeting people who visit your website and may not be on an in-house list, place links in high-traffic areas of your site that point to your online questionnaire. And even though popups have become less popular over the last few years, you should still test them. Every audience is different; your visitors and customers may be receptive to popups.

Lastly, if your questionnaire is short and focused on a topic that dovetails with content on your site, embed the survey directly within your pages. Visitors who read the content will be motivated to respond to the related questions.

Increasing the response rate to your online surveys is directly within your influence. Keep your questionnaires simple, offer incentives that your audience values, leverage your customers' loyalty, and test your notifications.
by Franklin Lucer
References and Bibliography
SurveyGizmo is a leading provider of customer survey software, for more great ways to use surveys to enhance your business check them out online at
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