Creating a survey that nobody answers is a waste of time, that none of us have. So today we have some writing advice that will help you write a better copy, improve survey participation and increase your response rates.
Messages that are “good enough” no longer are. In today’s business environment, every impression counts. What you say, and how you say it, reflects back on you and your business.
Knowing this, you’re missing a great opportunity when you settle for the canned auto messages for your survey invitations or thank you messages. Even a survey report is still a communication that should be relatively fun and easy to read! You can do better than basic and thus improve survey participation.
For starters, let’s have a look at what you’re already sending out to people. (This includes emails, survey reports, thank you pages, have you applied the tips for survey invitation?) Is it warm and friendly? Does it reflect your values as a company? If you were the recipient of the piece, would you enjoy reading it – or at the very least, be interested in reading it?
(Note: If you answered “yes,” you can stop reading here. But if you’re using standard messages, or if you want your messages to be even better, read on…)
Improve survey participation with these 4 rules
Your marketing message doesn’t end with your Web content and brochures. Your corporate “voice” should permeate everything your send out — from the survey request to the “thank you for responding” page… from the results to the summary. Keep a consistent tone and style. Motley Fool, Apple, and Ben & Jerry’s all do an excellent job with this. You should too.
Make it easy for people to “get” what you’re talking about. The easiest way to be understood is to write like you speak. Improve survey participation by using shorter sentences and simpler terms. When you read back through your work, focus on the core message and edit out any of the “three-dollar words” and phrases that don’t add to that message. Also, keep industry jargon to a minimum. (Note: There’s a difference between sounding professional and sounding pretentious… don’t confuse the two.)
Too many pieces out there are written from the standpoint of what the company (or person) wants the other person to know, instead of what the other person wants to hear. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes, and craft your message around them. Instead of saying: “Thank you for helping XYZ Company better serve its clients.” you would get better results by putting them first: “Clients like you are the reason we enjoy coming to work each day. We appreciate your business and your help!”
When you’re buried in work and under deadline, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind each of those emails on your list. Many take valuable time out of their day to help you do your job and give you their feedback. It’s only fair that you treat them like a person… not a number! The survey invitations and thank you messages are an excellent opportunity to build rapport, to improve survey participation, increase your online survey response rates and at the end of the day – get better insights.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… you sometimes just don’t have time to do much else than plug in an auto message and crank it out. When that’s the case, just find a good online survey template closest to what you need, then revise it with the four rules in mind. Consider it three minutes of tweaks well spent.
The fact is, surveys and statistics can often inspire a collective yawn. But there’s no need to put people to sleep with your survey results, using flat, bland language. Instead, create reports and other communications that are steeped in authenticity.
You already know that every email, report or letter — every client “touch” — is an opportunity to build stronger relationships and to further your branding. Keep a close eye on the tone and style of all your communications. Keep things real for better results.