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How to Get More Survey Responses (11 Simple Hacks)

Last Updated on December 23, 2019 by Stacey Corrin

Are you looking for some simple ways to get more survey responses?

Sending surveys to your customers is a great way to learn what they like and dislike about your business. But creating a survey is the easy part of the process. Where it can get frustrating is getting people to actually respond to the survey you worked so hard to build.

So how do you cut through the noise and get people’s attention so they give you their feedback and you can improve your business effectively?

In this article, we’ll show how to get more survey responses by offering up 11 simple hacks you can work on right away.

Before we start here’s a quick run-down of what we’ll cover:

  1. Avoiding response bias
  2. Using giveaways as incentives
  3. Creating a Likert scale
  4. Promoting surveys on social media
  5. Sending email notifications
  6. Optimizing subject lines
  7. Following up with reminders
  8. Using images
  9. Keeping surveys short
  10. Respecting user privacy
  11. Sharing your results

Ready to get started?

Why are Survey Response Rates Important?

Don’t go jumping into our hacks just yet. First, it’s a smart idea to learn why survey response rates are important.

Your response rate is the number of people who complete your survey out of everyone you contacted. Response rates are important to ensure your survey results represent your target audience and that the survey itself is performing the way you wanted it to.

Let’s face it, a poor response rate doesn’t give you enough information to take action on the feedback you receive. You’ll need to improve your survey to make it interesting enough for your customers to complete.

How to Get More Survey Responses

So how exactly do you get more survey responses? It’s a lot easier than you might think. All it takes is a little creative thinking and understanding the minds of your customers.

Luckily, we’ve done a lot of that thinking for you. Let’s take a look at the solutions.

1. Understand and Avoid Response Bias

what is repsonse bias?

Response bias is one of the first things to look out for when conducting surveys. Also known as survey bias it’s when people unconsciously answer surveys untruthfully. It usually happens when people are asked to report on their behaviors but survey design also plays a role in it too.

There are many types of response bias. Here are a few you’ll see come up often:

  • Social response bias – This is when people over-report their good behaviors and under-report their bad ones answering in a way to seem more socially desirable. Avoid this by encouraging anonymous feedback.
  • Non-response bias –  Where your survey sample doesn’t represent your target population and the answers are out of proportion with the larger population resulting in biased results. Avoid it by sharing your survey across a wider and more diverse range of platforms.
  • Prestige bias – A type of survey bias when asking people about their social, financial, and educational status leading to inflated responses. Avoid this by wording your survey in a more neutral way.
  • Recency bias – Where people pick the last answer they read which indicates they’re no longer interested in the survey. Avoid this by improving your survey design and randomizing the order of questions.
  • Sponsorship bias – If people are aware of your survey branding or sponsorship their impression of your brand can influence their answers. Avoid this by saving sponsorships and branding to the thank you page.

Doing your best to avoid response bias will lead to a more balanced survey with quality responses you can use to improve what you offer your customers.

Now let’s look at an engaging way to get more survey responses.

2. Run a Giveaway as an Incentive

Running a giveaway is a super-effective way to get more people completing your survey. It pretty much acts like a carrot on a stick where you’re offering the incentive of a chance to win a great prize in return for answering some questions important to your business.

While there are many ways to run a contest one of the best methods is to use a contest tool like RafflePress the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market. RafflePress makes it easy to set up and run an online giveaway while seamlessly managing entries all from within your website.

example of a giveaway with a survey in RafflePress

Even better, it has its own entry method designed just for surveys and polls so you can include a simple survey in the giveaway widget.

All you need to do is click the Actions tab then select the Polls and Surveys action and enter your survey question.

Adding a survey in RafflePress

When your giveaway is live the action will look like the image below making it easy for people to enter and answer your questions.

example of entering a rafflepress survey

This is great for simple surveys but what if you need a survey that’s more complex? In situations like this, it’s best to use a more comprehensive form builder which we’ll explain in more detail next.

3. Create Engaging Likert Scale Surveys

As we mentioned above there’ll come a time when your surveys need to be more detailed and engaging. That’s when survey types like Likert scales can play a big part.

Likert scales are rating scales often found in surveys that measure how people feel about something. And they ask questions that have a range of balanced pre-set responses people can choose from.

likert scale example

They’re a good choice for helping people to answer more complex questions and help avoid the response bias you can get from more open-ended or yes/no questions.

WPForms the best drag and drop WordPress forms plugin lets you easily add Likert scales to your website forms so people can answer your surveys right on your site.

Adding a likert scale with WPForms

What’s more, their pre-built survey forms template makes it even easier to build surveys within WordPress without having to use special third-party survey software.

4. Promote Your Survey on Social Media

Another way to get people to take your survey is to promote it using social media. If someone already follows your brand’s social profiles, they’re more likely to take the initiative and answer your survey.

But remember to adjust the tone and message of your survey in a way that offers value to your audience. People won’t be inspired to click if the content doesn’t relate to them specifically.

A survey promoted on social media

And if your survey is thought-provoking and intelligent you can tap into the sharing power of social media. Encourage your customers to share your survey with their network of followers by including user-friendly share buttons in the questionnaire.

More ways to utilize the power of social with your surveys include:

  • Making surveys mobile-friendly so mobile users can complete surveys on-the-go.
  • Add a competitive edge with quizzes and tests so people can show-off their results with others.
  • Offer free gifts or rewards to people who successfully complete your survey and promote using popular hashtags like #freebie.
  • Use paid advertising to reach a wider social audience related to your target customers.

5. Send Email Notifications

Before you send out a survey why not prepare your audience for what’s coming their way?

By contacting them in advance and letting them know you’ll be sending a survey you increase the chances of them actually filling it in.

The email notification doesn’t have to be anything complex. Something like the below example will be enough to give them a heads up.

Hi [firsrt name],

Because you’re part of our community of loyal customers, you’ll soon be asked to complete a [survey name].

This survey is part of our efforts to improve [conditions x,y, and z] and identify anything you’re not 100% happy with. We’ll ask everyone to take part online and it should only take a couple of minutes of your time. All responses will be anonymous and confidential and personal information won’t be linked in any way to your response.

Please answer as honestly as possible. Your input will help us in improving [benefit], and in exchange, we offer you [incentive].

Please respond to this email if you have any questions.

Thanks in advance for your support and participation.

[Sender name]

6. Optimize Subject Lines

Having a great survey email isn’t any good if people don’t open it. So as well as crafting actionable email copy you need to pay attention to email subject lines too.

Why you need good subject lines

Considering 47% of people open an email based only on the subject line and 69% report email as spam based on subject lines alone it makes sense to optimize your survey’s email subject lines to increase the chances of people reading it and taking part.

One way to come up with a great subject line is to include a question. Questions get people’s attention and encourage them to click.

Choose an interesting question relevant to your survey or topic like:

  • “Is [Product] the best product at [Brand], [Recipient Name]?”
  •  “Has [Brand] ever let you down, [Recipient Name]?”

You should also avoid using the word “Survey” in your subject. This turns people right off! You can find more inspiration for great email subject lines in this article.

7. Follow up With Survey Reminders

When getting people to fill in your survey it’s crucial you follow up many times to remind them to take part.

We all lead busy lives and with more sophisticated email marketing software popping up vying for our attention it’s all too easy to snooze emails until we’re ready to answer. And by that time we’ve likely forgotten all about it.

Sending a follow-up email shows people their input is important to you as well as helping you increase survey response rates. Sending up to 3 reminders can get you the best results.

8. Use Images Strategically

It’s often the case that an image can explain something easier than a bunch of words can. But images can also be distracting if they’re not used in the right way.

Using images and infographics in surveys can work wonders if they’re placed strategically.

For example, a question asking people to choose their favorite product from a range of options would be much easier if you displayed the answers in the form of an image rather than describing each product in words.

example of an image-based survey question

And describing complex data and statistics is easier to digest in the form of an infographic.

So think carefully about your audience when putting together your survey and only use images where it will truly help people to make decisions in a balanced, unbiased way.

9. Keep Surveys Short

When trying to get more survey responses it’s tempting to fill surveys with as much detail as possible. You want people to have all the information they need right?

But the problem with long, drawn-out questionnaires is that the longer they are the more likely people are to abandon them without finishing. 

Try and keep surveys as short as possible and avoid unnecessary questions. You get most of the information you need from surveys with a total of 10 questions at most.

For longer surveys, you can try splitting them up into shorter questionnaires sent out in stages. These can get you more targeted results quicker.

10. Respect User Privacy

Something we touched upon earlier was the option of keeping your survey responses anonymous. Privacy is a subject that’s more important than ever now. So offering your customers a way to complete surveys without revealing their identity is a smart choice.

It’s also worth including a clear privacy disclaimer in your questionnaire. Doing so encourages people to answer more honestly and improve response rates.

A good privacy disclaimer should include the following information:

  • The type of personal data you’re collecting if any.
  • How you’ll use that data.
  • If you’ll share that data with anyone else.
  • How survey respondents can contact you.
  • How respondents can edit or delete their information.

Try to collect the least amount of personal data as possible and include your disclosure in both the survey and any communication related to it such as notification and follow-up emails.

11. Publish Your Results

What’s the point of getting people to respond to your survey if you’re not going to share the results with them. People who take part are naturally going to want to know what the outcome is.

Here are a few ways you can share your survey results with participants:

  • Publish a blog post explaining the issues you identified and what steps you’ve taken to address them.
  • Design and publish an infographic with charts and graphs to make statistics easier to digest.
  • If you run a giveaway as an incentive for your survey, you can pick a winner and publish an announcement alongside your survey results.
  • Publish a roadmap showing when you’ll be addressing particular issues and new features.
social media usage stastistics

This example of an infographic displays statistics in an easy to digest format which is easier for people to understand.

The best thing about sharing the results with those who took part is it will encourage those same people to respond to your surveys in the future. And it will highlight to potential customers that you care about their feedback.

And that’s it!

In this article, you’ve learned how to get more survey responses so you can quickly act upon important feedback from your customers and improve your business.

And if you’re looking to promote your survey across social media, this comprehensive list of social media marketing statistics will help you make the right choices.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Twitter and Facebook profiles for more helpful guides.

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