Eight Strategies for Increasing Response Rates with Client Sample Surveys

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Tools & Techniques


Kevin Kelly

Senior Director, Field Services

In consumer marketing research, gathering insights from your own customer sample is commonplace for many brands. However, one frequent challenge encountered is the lower-than-desired response rate, which can result in a potential loss in data and time and effort.

Using client samples can be crucial to your research objectives, results, and insights. With decades of experience under our belts in understanding the nuances and challenges of this type of sample, we’ve compiled some best practices that can aid in increasing response rates:

  1. Identify Your Company as the Study Sponsor: Transparency is the key to establishing trust with the research respondents. By identifying your company as the survey’s sponsor, you boost its legitimacy, reducing any apprehensions that potential respondents may have regarding authenticity.
  2. Optimize Email Subject Line and Content: Your survey invite is the first point of contact with respondents and, therefore, needs to be engaging and informative. Keep your email subject lines clear, concise, and intriguing to pique attention. Ensure the content is concise and direct, spelling out the purpose of the survey, how long it will take to complete, and any incentives respondents could potentially receive.
  3. Offer Individual Incentives: Individual incentives, like Amazon gift cards, serve as a valuable motivator for customers to participate. Sweepstakes can also be considered but are generally found to be less effective than individual incentives.
  4. Use a Soft Launch: Before going all in, it is advisable to start with a soft launch of your survey with a small group. This allows you to gauge the response rate, address any unforeseen challenges, and make necessary adjustments prior to rolling out the survey on a larger scale.
  5. Client Pre-alerts: A pre-alert message can serve as a teaser to create excitement and awareness about the upcoming survey. This primes your customers and increases the likelihood of their participation when the survey is officially launched.
  6. Client-managed Communication: Often times, when businesses handle all customer communications, including survey invitations, it can potentially boost response rates significantly, as communication coming directly from the business can foster higher trust and engagement.
  7. Reminder Emails: Sometimes, it takes a gentle nudge to get a response. Sending reminder emails (typically an initial email and one reminder) can significantly increase the response rate as it keeps the survey top-of-mind for the recipient.
  8. Creative Idea – Break the Survey into Multiple Parts: This approach involves breaking the survey into smaller, digestible parts. Incentivize the first part of the survey and then offer an additional incentive for completing the rest.

Over the years, we’ve tested various methods for using client samples and have found that employing these strategies can significantly improve responses rates, leading to more accurate and valuable customer insights.

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