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Maximizing Your Survey Response Rate

An online survey can be a great tool to help you gain valuable insight into your target audience, figure out your next new feature to roll out, and present yourself as a thought leader in your industry. However, getting enough people — and the right people — to respond to a survey can be a challenge. Moreover, an insufficient response rate might make your results null and worthless from a decision-making standpoint.

Luckily there are steps you can take to maximize your survey response rates — we’ve compiled five simple ways to help ensure that your survey is a success:

1. Ask meaningful questions. Be mindful of the overall goal(s) of your survey. Perhaps you want to ask thought provoking, industry-related questions and position yourself as a thought leader? Or, maybe you want to learn what customers love most, or least, about your product and get their thoughts on your latest feature. Or maybe you’re looking for thoughts on where your next user group should be held, or ideas for upcoming webinars. Regardless of what your survey goals are, it’s important to ask meaningful, targeted questions so that you can gather as much useful information as possible from your respondents.

2. Keep your questions concise. The shorter your questions, the better — for a variety of reasons. No one wants to fill out long, drawn-out surveys. Try to limit your questions to multiple choice or check box type answers as open ended questions have a much lower response rate. Save your open ended question for last where respondents can leave any feedback they want in the event it’s not covered in an earlier question.

3. Offer a reward to respondents. Offering a reward greatly increases your response rate. Things like iPods, gift cards, and swag are relatively inexpensive and are great motivators. Who doesn’t like freebies?

4. Share It. Using Twitter, Facebook and email to promote your survey can greatly increase response rates. Naturally, the more people that know about your survey, the more respondents you are likely to have. Just be careful not to inundate people with survey requests or you risk turning people off. Note: when emailing your survey out be sure you follow CAN-SPAM guidelines.

5. Test it. Before you send your survey out to your entire audience, test it with a pilot group (this could simply mean sending it to a few co-workers) and make sure results are tracking properly. It’s also a good idea to test your survey in different browsers as they may display the survey differently.

Once you’ve gathered enough results and compiled your survey data, sharing your results is important. Infographics are a popular way to disseminate survey results externally and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.