Disappointing Response Rates? Learn How to Boost Yours

  • author

    Brenda Stoltz

  • posted

    Nov 12, 2019

  • topic

    Academic Research, Market Research

Disappointing Response Rates? Learn How to Boost Yours

If you’re new to hosting surveys, you may not be sure whether you’re seeing a high response rate or a low one. How many responses you receive to your survey will impact how robust your research data is. And fewer responses means a more limited pool of data to work with.

So, yes, more is better.

But still, what’s “normal” in terms of average survey response rates? And if yours is low, how can you increase it? Not to worry. We’ve got the answers you’re seeking. Check out the article below to learn about the average survey response rates and how to beat them.

Understanding Average Response Rates

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the “what’s a normal response rate?” question. It depends on who your audience is, how targeted your audience is, and what incentive you offer. But, there are some average numbers you can use to benchmark how you’re doing.

If you’re sending a survey to employees or another internal group, average response rates are 30-40% or higher, according to SurveyGizmo. But if you’re sending your survey to an external list, say customers or participants in a research study, the average drops to 10-15%.

Nowhere near those averages? You’re not alone. We hear from prospects all the time who struggle with response rates in the lower single digits and want to improve their numbers.

The key to increasing average survey response rates is to pay attention to the results and make changes to boost those numbers.

How To Boost Your Average Survey Response Rates

We’ve worked with clients in a variety of industries and helped them successfully boost their response rates using these tips. In fact, one of our clients saw a 400% boost in its average survey response rates, thanks to the Qualtrics and Rybbon incentives integration!

Here’s how you can move the needle on your own results.

Be Respectful of Your Participants’ Time

Even a five-question survey takes time to complete, and you’re asking your audience to take time out of their busy days to do something for you. Shouldn’t you give something in return?

Beat the average survey response rate by providing incentives that align with the amount of time a survey requires. If it has just five questions, you could reward 25 points that participants can accrue toward virtual gift cards. Or, if it’s a survey that will take 30 minutes, you could make a $15 Amazon card the thank-you. The incentive should align with the time investment.

Give Participants a Choice in Their Incentives

Let’s say you send an email to customers asking them to fill out your survey in exchange for a $5 iTunes card. But not everyone has an Apple product, so right away, you’re alienating that portion of your audience, who likely won’t fill out the survey.

Instead, offer a selection of e-gift cards so everyone gets exactly what they want, and you see more responses to your survey.

Make it Clear Who the Incentive Email is Coming From

If you use a third party to deliver survey emails, recipients may not open it because they don’t recognize the sender. They are more likely to send it to the junk folder and you lose a potential response.

Use company-branded emails so recipients recognize you as the sender, as well as your logo inside the email to further reiterate that it’s you that’s sending the email, and they can trust to click the link inside.

Create a Sense of Urgency

When you limit the time respondents have to take the survey (and the time they have to get the wonderful incentive), you create a sense of urgency that spurs respondents to complete your survey sooner. If you’re sending the survey via email, include the deadline in the subject line like:

[48 HOURS ONLY!] Answer 5 questions and get a free Amazon card!

This compels them to open your email quickly and click to complete the survey so they can get that Amazon card.

Increasing your average survey response rates may take time. After the completion of each survey, look at the results, then change one thing for next time. It could be the subject line of your survey (especially if email open rates were also low), the incentive offer, or even the survey itself.

Want to learn more about how to improve your surveys? Download our free Survey Optimization Checklist today!

Download our free Survey Optimization Checklist

about the author
Brenda Stoltz

Brenda has over 20 years of experience building, selling and marketing products for F100 and start-ups.

Brenda has over 20 years of experience building, selling and marketing products for F100 and start-ups.

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