Choose the Right Incentive for Your Online Survey

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If you choose an incentive for your online survey, be sure to choose the RIGHT incentive

If you plan to offer an incentive to your respondents for completing your online survey, make sure you choose the incentive sensibly. The right (or wrong) incentive can have a big impact on your survey response rate.

The first step is to choose an incentive that you would like to offer respondents that successfully complete your online survey. There are five types of incentives you can offer, which include:

  1. Monetary reward: You can offer a promotional item such as a t-shirt, money, a gift card, or a donation to a charity. Each respondent that completes your online survey would be entitled to this incentive, so consider placing a quota on your survey to limit your financial burden.
  2. Discount: Offer a discount off a future purchase of your products or services.
  3. Prize drawing: Conduct a sweepstakes and enter respondents into a prize drawing. These rewards are usually of higher value, but you have the luxury of setting the price upfront. The chance to win higher valued incentives can really increase respondent interests, but remember to randomly select your winner.
  4. Summary of survey results: If your survey topic is one of very strong interest, respondents may be interested in the results. Offer respondents a copy of the survey results as an incentive. This can be very appealing to respondents completing business-to-business surveys. This is an attractive option from a financial perspective, however, keep in mind that you need the resources necessary to analyze results, and write and design the summary, in order for the information to be presented in a professional way.
  5. White paper or other published material: Similar to offering survey results, white papers or other published materials may be offered to respondents as an incentive, which can also be very appealing to respondents completing business-to-business surveys. Again, this is an attractive option from a financial perspective; however, you need to acquire the professional resources to write a white paper that contains valuable and informative content.

When choosing your incentive, keep the following in mind:

  • Offer value: Ensure the incentive adds value to your respondents. Make sure you know who your audience is and offer something that would encourage respondents to complete your online survey. Avoid offering items that would deliver little to no value to the respondent. For example, don’t offer candy to dentists for completing a dental research survey.
  • Opt-in or opt-out option: In the case of business-to-business surveys, some employers do not allow employees to receive monetary gifts. Give respondents the option to opt-in or opt-out of the incentive offer. If respondents opt-in, ensure they provide contact information so you can send them their incentive.
  • Hidden costs: Some items like summary of survey results, white papers, or discounts can be fulfilled online or via email. But, keep in mind that promotional items like t-shirts and tangible gift cards will incur shipping costs. This is especially a concern if you have worldwide survey respondents. Be sure to calculate for these costs ahead of time.

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