13 Tips To Boost Your Online Survey Response Rates

By 4 December 2018 No Comments

You’ve spent time, money, and effort designing your online survey. You send it out to 500 lucky recipients who must (in your own mind) be aching to complete it.

Then you wait for all the responses. And you wait. And wait. Just a dribble…

What are you doing wrong? Why are people not hitting START NOW or completing all sections of the survey?

There are nearly always good reasons for this. When designing and promoting your online surveys, it makes sense to follow the advice of those who’ve tested the formats that work best.

Fortunately, you don’t have to scour the web to find these. We’ve collected all the best tips right here.

So let’s take a look at how you can improve your online survey response rates…

  1. Send simple, clear notifications

An email notification with a link to a landing page where people can start the survey is one of the best ways to promote your survey. You may also want to post a link on social media.

Keep your message clear and simple. You want to let people know that their opinions matter to you. Tell them what the survey is, why their feedback is important, what they will gain from completing it, and how little time it will take (“just a few minutes”).

  1. Build great landing pages

Your landing pages should be clear, simple, and highly relevant to people clicking through from the notification email. Include only the information that encourages the click through to start the survey.

You should choose relevant images, punchy text that’s easy to read, and a clear call to action. Here are some more tips on creating survey landing pages.

  1. Keep surveys short and sweet

Attention spans are short. That’s no secret. Keep surveys brief – and show respondents how little of their time it will take. Anything over five minutes will likely reduce response rates.

Ask just the questions that matter – and avoid repetition. There’s no point asking the same question in two different ways.

  1. Avoid jargon

There is a quick way to ensure that potential respondents leave without completing your online survey: blind them with jargon.

Keep the language clear and simple to understand and you will win far more friends.

  1. Include a completion date

You want people to feel some sense of urgency for completing the survey. Including a target completion date can help you raise the urgency level and get people clicking through to start.

People generally don’t like to be late and you can play on this sense of timeliness a little.

  1. Use a progress bar

Let respondents know how far they’ve progressed through your survey.

Something in the human psyche doesn’t like to see 50 or 60% completion… they want to get to 100%. A progress bar is, therefore, motivational – a simple but valuable visual aid to improve response rates.

  1. Use branching logic

Being respectful of people’s time includes not asking them unnecessary questions.

Branching logic helps you do this by changing the question/page a respondent sees, based on how they answer a particular question. It effectively customises the survey for each individual and avoids irrelevant questions.

  1. Use rating scales and multiple choice

Choose a survey platform that allows multiple types of questions to be asked. This keeps things interesting. Consider using rating scales, sliders, and multiple choice questions.

The more interactive you can make the questions in your survey, the more people will complete them.

  1. Ask for opinions

Give people the opportunity to express their opinions with open feedback.

Asking people for their opinions makes them feel valued. They feel engaged and listened to. This will encourage more responses – but don’t overdo it, as these questions take longer to complete.

  1. Make them mobile-friendly

Your respondents may not complete the survey in the comfort of their home or office. It’s highly likely that they will be on a smartphone or other mobile device.

While the survey may be important to you, they’re rarely top of the agenda for respondents. People may complete them on the train home while walking the dog, or even on a toilet break!

  1. Test your surveys before publishing them

Don’t fall into the trap of sending out incomplete, poorly structured, or poorly-worded surveys that confuse people.

Before publishing, test your email notifications, landing pages, and surveys by having employees or other trusted confidants go through the steps to completion. Are the links working? Are there spelling mistakes? Does the question order make sense and flow well?

You may be able to make some final improvements to increase response rates.

  1. Brand your surveys

Brand recognition will help you get your surveys completed. If people recognise that your business provided a great user experience, the goodwill they feel will encourage them to help you out by completing your survey.

Make sure that you use a survey platform that allows you to provide professional, branded surveys that look the part.

  1. Send follow-up notifications

As mentioned, completing surveys is generally not on the “urgent to do” list of most people. They’re busy and may need a nudge.

You don’t want to bug people but at least one follow-up notification email should get a few more clicking through to start the survey.

Start improving survey response rates now…

It doesn’t matter who you’re surveying or what you’re surveying them about. You need as many people responding as possible to gather enough data on which to base decisions.

Whether you’re requesting feedback from event attendees, surveying customers about satisfaction levels or employees about workplace culture, the responses you receive will help to shape the future of your business.

Following the tips above will help you design and promote your online surveys for maximum effect – encouraging more people to complete them.

The Swift Digital platform makes online surveys simple. Design your surveys using tried and tested templates and easily collate responses to make sense of the data.

Contact our team on 02 9929 7001 for more information.