10 Simple Tips to Improving Your Online Survey Success

1. Properly Identify Your Audience

Before you commit yourself to a select group of invites, make sure you’ve considered every possible source.For instance, while email mailing lists offer a solid starting point for your online survey, make sure you’re looking at the various online communities and potential newsgroups that could directly influence your niche.

2. Keep your email invitations personalized

Ensure your emails contain a personalized greeting, over the generic templates available. By personalizing your emails, you’re showing your target you care about them enough to write their names. Be sure to start your email with “Dear Mrs. Doe” instead of the “Dear Valued Consumer” canned reply – your response rate will thank you for it.

3. Keep Your Emails to the Point

Wordy emails and multiple links confuse your buyer—so make sure you keep it simple and to the point. Include one link to your online survey in the email, and refrain from including any other links. Make sure you include relevant details about your survey to instill confidence in your audience as well. Things like the company and study’s purpose, the benefit to your target audience (what do they get out of it), survey length and completion times and of course, your privacy statements (if your organization requires it).

4. Keep Your Survey User Friendly

When people arrive on your survey, the last thing they want to see is an expansive list of instructions. Not only are they intimidating, they can prove to be an obstruction to many users wanting to simply click, respond and move on.

5. Display Your Privacy Protections Clearly

The first page should always include how you’re planning to use the survey responses received. By showcasing how you’re using the results, you’re developing a sense of trust with your users—a vital step for any successful campaign. Make sure to include if your data will be private, anonymous, shared with others or if it’s a university study on the front page.

6. Follow Up With a Reminder

With many people checking in with their mobile phones, shared computers or even in the office, chances are you’ll run across a few respondents that want to complete the survey—but simply don’t have the time. Others however, will complete the survey right away. Make sure to follow up with your audience a second time, reminding them to complete the survey and include a link to it directly in the email again. Make sure to filter out those emails that don’t want to be contacted again in the future, and those that have already completed the survey.

7. Make It Worth Their Time With an Incentive

Research has shown incentives to be a very enticing lure for many people. The incentive itself doesn’t have tobe large either. A simple token, gift certificate, raffle or even a coupon normally increases your response rate substantially.

8. Strategically Use Images and Graphics

Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid distracting images, fonts or overwhelming internet features. Select features however, can help your audience complete the surveys—with embedded multimedia, links or images to the potential prize/ incentive, or even a small image of a stock photo works nicely—without risking your credibility.

9. Allow Options for Your Users

While many people become excited about a potential prize, there will remain a select few who simply want to share their information throughout your survey. Knowing their information could help improve a shopping experience, availability of an item or even giving them a reason to interact with others could be a strong advantage on its own.

10. Make Your Results Available Online to Survey Participants

A big lure to many survey goers is discovering the results of the survey will be displayed at the end. Many enjoy comparing their responses with the general pole of others, and by displaying these results (anonymously of course) might just help your audience decide to take the online survey after all.

An Extra Tip…

Consider using friends, family and coworkers to source your targets. Also, consider allowing your respondents the opportunity to share the survey with their friends and family if they think they’d be interested. Include additional incentives (additional tickets to a raffle for instance) to those users who share the survey with others.