5 Strategies for Encouraging Survey Participation
August 1, 2012 Leave a comment
If you’re just beginning to launch a survey or have been struggling to attract survey respondents, we’d love to offer these tips from the free online survey resource SurveyTool.
1. Choose survey questionnaire and answer formats wisely
Some survey questionnaires are quick and easy to answer, since the questions and answers are simple and quickly read. Other surveys might require more in-depth information, leading to questions that ask for greater details and the answers that are elaborate. If you’re curious to see which presidential candidate is the most popular amongst your community, a quick poll with a short question and a few multiple choice options will encourage better survey engagement. If you’re wanting to find out which university in town offers the best college experience, it might be best to encourage respondents to answer in their own words with fill-in-the-blank answer spaces. Editing is absolutely crucial to encouraging survey participation – make sure you include only the questions that are absolutely necessary. The whole point of your survey is to gather information from respondents and if the length or level of survey engagement is discouraging people from taking the time, then you need to edit the survey in order to improve your chances of gathering data.
2. Know your survey sample and target a relevant audience
A survey sample is your selection from a target audience that you choose as your survey participants. To ensure that as many people as possible from your survey sample take your questionnaire and hand in valuable information, you need to make sure that you conduct the survey in a setting convenient to the survey sample. If a Costco manager wanted to know if their members enjoy the freshly-made pizza offered at the food court, then it makes sense that the target survey sample for this survey would be shoppers sitting in the food court eating the actual pizza. The manager could wander the warehouse floor and ask random shoppers for their opinions regarding the pizza, but those shoppers aren’t likely to be as interested in responding to the survey since their focus is on knocking out their shopping lists and there is no guarantee they’ve even eaten at the food court before. Limiting the survey to the food court and asking questions amongst people who are clearly familiar with the pizza and who have the time and inclination to offer their opinion will enable the manager a higher rate of survey participation and more valuable information.
3. Make the survey as convenient to take as possible
Just because you have a very clear idea of who your survey sample includes and how you are going to get information from them doesn’t mean you can convince them to respond to your survey. It is for this reason that you should make the process as simple and convenient to them as possible. Depending on the information you want to gather with your survey, find a venue that enables your survey respondents the time and place to answer in ways that you desire. If you’re surveying students, set up in their school at a spot where students hang out during free time. If an employee satisfaction survey is in order, allow the employees to take the survey at a time they feel is acceptable, so that no important work is interrupted…and don’t issue a mandatory survey during leisure time, as you’ll end up with a lot of unsatisfied employee responses. Remember, respondents are doing you a favor by taking time out of their own schedule to answer your survey, so be considerate and polite, making the survey experience as enjoyable and convenient as possible for your survey sample.
4. Choose a high-traffic venue…
Surveying the general public at random isn’t the most effective route to take when wanting to encourage survey engagement. We’ve all seen the unlucky types who walk around malls with clipboards or chase down shoppers outside a busy storefront. Even if you’re smart and set up close to some girl scouts selling cookies or offer an incentive, you still might not be able to reach many people or control the survey sample. However, this tactic can sometimes pay off and earn you participants, typically if you’re staging a survey event where people know you (school, neighborhood, fitness club, etc.) and are willing to give you a bit of their time.
5. …or just use SurveyTool’s online database of participants
The largest online database of pre-profiled and categorized survey respondents is available to SurveyTool users. The benefits of using this online database are many, including:
- Survey participants are already profiled and categorized, enabling users to quickly and easily choose their survey sample.
- The database is accessible to all SurveyTool users, both paid and free online survey memberships.
- These participants are available and prompt, enabling feedback to be quickly returned to SurveyTool users.
- Thorough, well-thought out responses are rewarded, ensuring that users receive information that can be as detailed as required.
- Users can specify how many responses they would like, allowing them to stay in control of the amount and quality of gathered data.
- Data gathering, email distribution, downloading and custom thank you messages are all automated, enabling the user to spend their time on what matters.
Need more info on how to find participants for a survey?
Feel free to contact us if you need any help with attracting survey participants and gathering information from your survey sample. SurveyTool is a valuable free online survey resource for many industries like business development, product research, customer service and academic studies. We’d love to help you meet your survey goals!