how to get survey responses

How to Get Survey Responses to Complete Your Market Research Needs

How to Get Survey Responses to Complete Your Market Research Needs

how to get survey responses

When dealing with online surveys, you’ll surely ask yourself how to get survey responses, or at least, how to get more survey responses.

We hear you! Any market research campaign needs a particular amount of surveys for statistical relevance and to lessen the margin of error.

However, survey response rates still tend to be on the lower end of the scale, as the current survey response rates are at about 30%. Thus, there is clearly work that needs to be done to increase this rate so that you can reach a suitable number of survey responses.

However, despite the rather low amount of respondents that take a survey, surveys are still popular — for both researchers and their target audiences. 

Online surveys in particular, are a popular route for conducting market research. Both researchers and survey respondents can attest to this.

For example, 71.6% of respondents prefer to answer a survey online. Thus, you should consider updating your market research methods by using online surveys.

This article guides you how to get survey responses so that you get an adequate amount of completed surveys to aid any research campaign. 

How to Get Survey Responses Via 2 Survey Distribution Methods

Before we discuss how to increase your survey responses, please note that we are providing this advice for those who use our Distribution link feature

This feature gives you more freedom when it comes to posting surveys online, as you get to choose where to post the link for people to take your survey, as well as who gets to take your survey, if you’re thinking of sending it to specific people.

This method is one of our major two; the other involves our Random Device Engagement (RDE) method of distributing surveys. With RDE, our platform sends surveys to a massive network of online properties, such as websites and apps. 

The surveys target people randomly, given that RDE runs on organic sampling. That means there is no prerecruitment, which you would find in a survey panel. Instead, the platform targets random people who voluntarily exist in a particular digital space.

We target over 250 million people in over 160 countries to gain your respondent pool. Following agile research, this method keeps iterating surveys until the designated amount of respondents have completed their survey.

Thus, you don’t need to worry about getting survey responses via this method. However, if you send surveys your own way, that is, with the Distribution Link feature, you’ll need to have a solid plan on how to get survey responses, especially if you seek a certain number of responses within a certain time.

Fortunately, we provide several tips on how to get more survey responses.

Draw in Responses with a Strong Survey Intro

First responses matter and this applies in survey participation as well. That’s why you’ll need to reel in interest to your survey as soon as you can.

This entails compelling your potential respondents to take your survey as soon as they come upon your survey.

Everyone sets up their survey differently. Yours may exist as a pop-up, while others may position it right below a large image.

Regardless of the form of the call-out you use to grab people’s attention to take your survey, you’ll need to supply it with a strong introduction. This must be interesting, compelling and show respondents why the survey is important and why their participation matters. 

how to get survey responses

As such, use short and snappy survey titles and call-outs. 

To ease anyone’s dread, you may want to consider adding the time it takes to complete the survey in your title or introduction.

This is to reassure your respondents from the onset that the survey won’t take much of their time. 

It’s also useful to add the purpose of the survey title and introduction, especially when it relates to helping the respondents themselves.

Example text: “Take this quick 3-minute survey to help brands serve you better!”

Create a Survey with Survey Best Practices

You should never just wing it when it comes to producing surveys; instead, apply the best practices for surveys each time you create a survey. 

These will ensure you provide a good survey experience for the respondents, as well as receive the key data that you need for your market research campaigns. 

While you can’t please everyone, several survey best practices are tried and true. The following provides several best practices you should consider for your surveys:

  1.  Keep your questionnaire short.
    1. Many are time-poor and no one wants to waste their time. 
    2. Keeping the questioning short will prevent respondents from leaving your survey before completing it. In this way, you’ll prevent or at the very least minimize survey attrition.
    3. Some respondents won’t even begin your survey if it’s too long.
  2. Remove any ambiguity from your questions.
    1. Surveys aren’t a knowledge test for school. As such, your questions should be easy to understand and answer.
    2. Avoid any confusion and be as direct as possible.
    3. When questions are difficult to answer, respondents will be bent on leaving the survey or getting bored quickly.
  3. Mix and match question types to retain interest throughout the survey-taking process.
    1. You can ward off respondents from getting bored by using a variety of question types and formats.
    2. Use questions such as: Likert scale questions, Matrix questions, stars and emoji scales, bipolar questions, drill-down questions and more. 
    3. Make sure the survey platform you use allows you to do so.
  4. Find an adequate time to send your survey.
    1. This will depend on the lifestyles and habits of your target market.
    2. You can determine this by conducting a target market analysis to see when your target audience has more time in their day, when they go online, etc.
    3. Also, there are some general times and moments in the customer journey determined to be the best time to send a survey.
  5. Thank the respondents and follow up.
    1. Include a thank you page in your survey to give thanks to respondents for their time and consideration.
    2. You can also do so in advance by thanking respondents in the intro of the survey.
    3. Follow up with respondents whose contact information you have. There are many ways to go about this, including with the results of the survey, to thank them and more.

Strengthen Interest with Survey Incentives

Another strong approach to getting survey responses is to reward the respondents with survey incentives

These incentives can be either monetary or nonmonetary and you can get creative with your incentives to stand apart from your competitors.

This is especially important when your survey states your brand or displays its logo or any other likeness. That’s because using incentives shows generosity and care, thereby positioning your brand in a good light. 

After all, your respondents will know which company they are dealing with. Thus, you should consider using incentives to frame your brand in the best possible way. Survey incentives will do this, as they prove to respondents that you truly care about their participation. Otherwise, why would you reward them with incentives?

On the contrary, if respondents see your business on your survey and it doesn’t offer incentives, this will lead to a negative impression of your brand, even if the respondents are longtime customers. 

That’d because no one owes you any feedback, regardless of how critical it may be. Thus, use incentives when possible, especially in instances where respondents know your business is running the survey.

Do a Favor for Your Respondents

This is especially useful if you know your respondents or have their contact information. 

Doing favors closely ties in with incentives, but it is different in that favors can be anything aside from small benefits (like extra lives on a mobile game that respondents played upon encountering your survey) or gifts.

how to get survey responses

Favors can consist of doing anything favorable for your respondents. There are many routes you can take with factors, such as the following:

  1. Promise to give respondents a discount on your products or services.
  2. Offer a discount on top of an already discounted purchase.
  3. Enter them into a sweepstake to win a big prize.
  4. Raise their status if they are in a rewards program.
  5. Give them a preview of one of your new offerings. 

As you can see, there are many kinds of favors you can offer your respondents to lure them into taking your survey. 

At times, you may want to give some kind of proof of the favor you promised, such as a coupon that only goes into effect after respondents complete their survey

Remember that what truly differentiates favors from incentives is that favors are grander and are more long-term-oriented gifts and gestures.

Use Your Content to Motivate Respondents 

The content your business puts into the world has various benefits, but did you know that you can use it to encourage people to take your survey?

Not all content assets are easily accessible. That’s where you can use them to incite respondents to take your survey. This is especially true with gated content.

Content that’s gated often involves collecting users’ information in order for them to view it. In this scenario, you can require your users to take your survey to gain access to your gated content. 

This is fair, given that both parties will get something in return. In addition, your site visitors won’t have to pay anything or get a membership to view the content they need, they’ll just need to take a survey.

Using gated content is especially useful for B2B matters and campaigns and therefore, B2B surveys.

Aside from granting users entry to gated text-based content, you can also gain more survey responses by giving them access to video content. Videos tend to draw in more views and engagement then text, especially in the era of Tik Tok and short attention spans.

Getting the Right Amount of Survey Participation

Getting the right amount of survey responses is never a feat with the right online survey platform. Such a platform will allow you to research all your targeted respondents in various ways, like the aforementioned RDE method and via the Distribution Link.

With the former, you won’t ever have to worry about survey responses, as the platform will keep sending surveys across the internet until your preset number of completed survey responses is fulfilled. 

With the latter option, it’s best to follow our advice on how to get more survey responses. However, even in this method, our survey platform will keep iterating until the requisite number of completed surveys is reached. 

Thus, your survey is in good hands regardless of the distribution route you take when you use Pollfish. 

You should also consider that a strong survey platform will grant you all the functionalities necessary to build a good survey campaign, one that draws in interest and gets respondents to complete the survey.

Pollfish survey software allows you to create a thorough survey data collection, one you can customize to your liking, view however you please and organize to the max.

In addition, with our vast array of question types, you can create virtually any type of survey to aid your research campaigns.

Researchers can leverage a wide breadth of information on their respondents by accessing a wide pool of insights in their survey results dashboard.

In addition, we also offer the advanced skip logic feature, which routes respondents to relevant follow-up questions based on their answers to a previous question. 

Thanks to our advanced market research platform, getting survey responses is highly attainable and easy on Pollfish.

How to Get More Survey Responses: 8 Strategies From Survey Experts

How to Get More Survey Responses: 8 Strategies From Survey Experts

Every market researcher, marketer and business owner seeks to get more survey responses. Some studies claim that the average response rate for surveys is around 30%.

The number sounds intimidating because that means only every third person will participate in a survey. 

Fortunately, there’s a lot of room for improvement. With a carefully planned and executed survey you can double and even triple the number of responses you get.

Our eight tips will help you get as many survey responses as possible without affecting the quality of your results.  

#1. Keep Your Survey Simple

Whether you’re surveying your target market on complex or more general subjects, always strive to keep your survey as simple as possible. Every confusing or wordy question challenges participants’ will to focus and continue. The following includes advice on how to keep your surveys simple and engaging: 

    • Keep it short. Research shows that response rates are lower for longer questionnaires, so keep the number of questions in your survey in check. 
    • Don’t use too many open-ended questions. Asking open-ended survey questions requires more time and energy, so limit their number to maximize response rates. 
  • Eliminate jargon and complicated terminology. Abbreviations and jargon cause extra confusion, especially when you’re dealing with a general audience. 

#2. Improve Your Targeting

It’s far more interesting and engaging to answer questions that speak directly to you rather than generic questions that could be answered by anyone else. 

That’s why enhanced targeting works so well for boosting survey response rates. Suppose you’re asking a group of people about their opinion on the latest baby food product — you’ll get far better response rates when targeting parents rather than more generic sample groups. 

#3. Make It Easy To Participate in Your Survey

The way you distribute your survey plays a major role in the number of respondents that will take part in your survey. 

Compare these two scenarios:

Scenario #1. To participate in your survey, a participant has to open an email message, click the link, open a new website, sign up, confirm their email and then be routed to the survey.

Scenario #2. A survey starts directly in a mobile app that the person is using at the moment. 

The problem with the first scenario is similar to the traditional marketing funnel conversion problem: every additional step lessens the possibility that the participant attempts the desired action. 

The second scenario is rather straightforward and minimizes the number of people who opt out of the survey before it starts. Thus, to make it easy to access your survey, make sure to eliminate as many barriers to it as possible. 

#4. Add Interactive And Visual Elements

Adding visual elements to your questions serves two distinct purposes. 

For starters, visual content makes your survey questions easier to comprehend as 65% of humans are visual learners

Secondly, images make your surveys more engaging research shows that colored visuals increase people’s desire to read content by up to 80%. 

Make sure you accompany your question with visual and interactive elements such as:

  • sliders 
  • graphs. 
  • GIFs
  • Short videos

Despite the engagement levels visuals present, don't overpack your questions with them.; Only use imagery that is relevant to your questions. There is no need for extra stimuli in leu of decorations, especially when you have several questions that feature visual elements. 

#5. Keep The Flow Going

Research shows that it is becoming harder to capture respondents’ attention; over the last two decades, the average attention span decreased from 12 to 8 seconds. With so many distractions around, it’s easier than ever for respondents  to drop your survey in the middle of the process and switch to their social media or web browsing. 

To help you keep the engagement high, treat your survey as a narrative: create a flow where every question leads to the next one or builds around it.

For example, if you’re surveying people about phone gadgets you might start with broader questions about what phones do they use and then gradually introduce more specific questions about their apps or user preferences.

Another effective way to keep the audience engaged is to start with the most engaging and easy questions to encourage completion. 

If your survey contains sensitive or private questions, save them for the middle or the end, otherwise, you risk setting the wrong tone for the whole survey. The same goes for demographic questions — you risk tiring participants by putting too many demographic questions at the beginning. 

#6. Personalize Interviews

Personalization is another great way to boost the number of survey responses  studies show that personalization may increase the survey response rate by at least 8.6%.

There are several ways you can create a personalized survey experience. If you’re surveying people over email, email software allows you to automatically insert people’s names into the subject or body of your message.

And if you target a specific audience, you might greet your participants with a custom message such a “Hello young parents” or something of that nature. 

Try finding ways to personalize your surveys without making the experience artificial or affecting people’s responses.

#7. Provide Incentives

Incentives can get you more survey responses, and research shows that incentives may increase response rates without affecting the quality of answers. 

But there’s a catch: the correlation between is not that direct. In one study there was no noticeable difference in response rates between two surveys that promised $10 and $20 rewards respectively. 

So if you want to get more responses, consider adding incentives, but track your expenses and first apply the advice from other sections in this article. 

#8. Go Mobile

US adults spend almost 3 hours on their smartphones every day, and we’re only talking about active use. 

In reality, our phones are always somewhere near. Which makes mobile surveys one of the most effective and fast ways of reaching out to your target audience. 

Make sure that your participants can fill the survey on their mobile phones and you’ll enjoy a surge in response rates. 

How To Get a 100% Response Rate

There’s a surprisingly easy way to achieve a 100% response rate for your surveys: pay only for completed responses. 

Using Pollfish you can design survey questions, specify the target audience, and then get as many responses as you need. 

We partnered with thousands of providers to ensure that your responses come directly from your true audience.

Check out how our next-generation survey platform helps you get survey insights you can count on.


Frequently asked questions

What is a survey response rate?

Also known as survey completion or return rate, survey response rate refers to the percentage of people who complete a survey. The response rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who returned the survey by the total number of people who received the survey.

Are short surveys better than long surveys?

Short surveys are not necessarily better than long surveys, but they are more likely to generate a higher response rate. Depending on your motivations for using a survey, you may benefit from using a short survey.

How does enhanced targeting improve survey response rate?

Enhanced targeting is used to ensure that your survey is distributed to an appropriate audience. With enhanced targeting, survey response rate is improved because the questions are relevant and interesting for the respondents, which encourages them to complete the survey.

How do visual elements improve a survey?

Visual elements can make it easier for respondents to understand the survey questions and make the survey itself more engaging.

Why is it important to ensure that online surveys are accessible on mobile devices?

The response rate of a survey is typically higher when the survey is well-formatted for a mobile device. This allows users to access and complete the survey when and where they have time, rather than waiting until they are in front of a computer.