February 26, 2014
By Cvent Guest

Organizations use surveys to achieve many different goals. Whether they want to measure employee satisfaction, conduct market research, administer training assessments or gauge customer satisfaction, a well-executed survey is an important business tool for making more informed decisions. However, surveys are only as good as the responses they collect. For the most accurate sampling of data, you need your surveys to get high enough response rates to mitigate outliers, analyze trends and enable you to draw significant conclusions. Here are a few tips to try and pitfalls to avoid on your path to raising survey response rates with the help of an email campaign.

Tips to Try:

  1. Use an online survey solution – Online surveys are easier for organizations to administer. Emailing respondents with a link to your survey is cheaper and quicker than mailing paper surveys and waiting for the responses to trickle in. Online surveys are also easier for your respondents to complete. Advanced survey software automatically tracks who has and hasn’t responded, so you can follow up with reminder emails.
  2. Introduce yourself and your survey – Remember that your respondents are taking time out of their day to fill out your survey. Show your appreciation by being up front and clear about who you are and why you are seeking their feedback in your initial survey promotion email.
  3. Test your emails – Think of your email subject lines as entrance ways. If they are boring and uninviting, people won’t want to take your survey. The best way to make sure you entice respondents to open your email invitation and participate is to split a portion of your email list and test different subject line variations. Once it’s clear which subject line garnered the most respondents, you can use it for the remaining emails. Your testing shouldn’t stop with the subject line, either. Optimize the contents of your email by testing colors, layout, messaging and calls to action. Combine the winning elements and deploy your most compelling combination.
  4. Get to the point – Don’t make your respondents read through superfluous, convoluted copy. Be clear and concise about what you want them to do. Take a lesson from journalists with breaking news, and don’t bury the lead. Make sure you communicate your call to action. It should be the verbal and visual focal point of your email.
  5. Be Personable – Insert data tags or mail merge fields into the email so each one addresses the respondent by his or her name. This makes respondents feel like their individual responses are valued much more than addressing them with a generic title like ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘Dear Employee’.
  6. Send Multiple Emails – In most cases, one email is not enough to reach your full survey response potential. Sometimes people need to be prompted with one or two reminders. Sophisticated survey software even allows you to determine which respondents started a survey but failed to complete it, so you can email them requesting they pick up where they left off.

Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Be Aware of Baiting – While off-message, creative subject lines may trick your respondents into opening your email, they won’t continue onto your survey if the actual messaging feels disconnected, unrelated or downright confusing. High open rates are a vanity statistic if your survey completion rates flounder, so connect your messaging to your subject line.
  2. Steer Clear of Spamming – Reminder emails are great tools for bolstering response rates, but take care not to go overboard. Limit reminders to no more than two. Also, be sure to space them out and reserve content with a sense of urgency for the final reminder. You don’t want to spark an ‘unsubscribe’ by making your respondents feel pressured and overwhelmed.
  3. Don’t be Redundant – Use survey software or devise a manual system that separates those who have completed the survey and those that haven’t. Don’t send reminders to people who have already finished the survey – it is unprofessional and could cause them to ignore future surveys. Additionally, change up the content and subject line of your subsequent reminder emails. If your first email didn’t compel the respondent to take your survey, try something different while staying consistent to your band’s look and feel.

Next time you are plotting an email strategy to help raise your survey response rates, keep these tips and pitfalls in mind. Need help crafting your surveys and emails? Sign up for a demo and learn how!

Written by Susanne Ross

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