Encouraging responses through better email invitations
During the Snap Surveys networking events, participants discussed different methods of encouraging better responses through effective email invitations. Ideas included keeping emails short and sweet, assuring respondents of a professional service, and using inventive incentives.
Keep it short
There was consensus that email invitations needed to be pithy and to the point, and to make it easy for readers to decide whether the survey was relevant to them and why they should respond.
If you can promise that the survey will only take a short time, that’s a huge plus. Fifteen minutes is reckoned to be around the maximum you should aim for, but if the survey will only take five minutes, that’s a great selling point for potential respondents.
It is reassuring for participants to see that a survey looks professional. You can give your Snap Survey a professional look by customising it using your logo and brand colours.
“Many companies use Snap Surveys research services to carry out surveys on their behalf,” said Ralph Sutcliffe, Business Development Manager at Snap Surveys. “If you make this explicit in the email invitation, it demonstrates that the survey is being carried out independently. You can also encourage people to reply by saying that their responses will be confidential.”
Make it personal
Everyone agreed that a personalised email invitation was much more likely to elicit a response than a generic ‘Dear Sir / Madam’ email. Taking that idea a step further, people were often encouraged to reply if they felt personally involved in the subject of a survey. Asked exactly what might prompt them to participate, networkers at the Snap Survey events gave the following reasons:
- “If I feel that my view counts.”
- “If the topic is interesting and I want to comment.”
- “If the survey is relevant to my job or interests.”
- “If the results of the survey might improve a product or service I use, or conditions at my workplace.”
- “If I will receive a copy of the report and can learn something from it.”
The carrot or the stick?
If you’re running a survey on behalf of an organisation, employees may well be obliged to respond in order to qualify for perks or to achieve the right marks for appraisals. However, if you’re using the carrot rather than the stick approach, there are hundreds of different ways of encouraging responses. Here are some of the ideas that people shared at the Snap Surveys seminars.
Prizes that work as incentives
Some people are lucky enough to be able to offer Wiis or ipods as prizes. Others have joined forces with local organisations to offer weekend breaks or prizes from local shops. But prizes don’t have to be high value. A university had a great deal of success when it offered one in five respondents a prize of a free coffee from the canteen.
Other participants offered donations to charity on behalf of every respondent, which created a feel-good factor and proved a great incentive.