Having an effective distribution strategy for your survey is important in order to maximise your response rate, and thereby the amount of feedback you receive.
Having an effective distribution strategy for your survey is important in order to maximise your response rate, and thereby the amount of feedback you receive. You may opt for a digital strategy (e.g. email, social media, BulkSMS, WhatsApp, etc.), you might stick to traditional tools (e.g. post/ mail, focus groups, one-one interviews, etc.), or you may employ a combination of both. Either way, the success of your distribution strategy will depend on how well you know your stakeholders and their engagement behaviours.
To help you make sure you are optimising your approach, here’s a list of six things you can do to improve distribution and boost your survey response rates:
i) Customise your distribution schedule (1) (3) (4)
There is no golden rule that applies to all communities, with each community having unique characteristics that will influence their behaviour. On average research has found that response rates are highest for survey invitations sent out on Tuesdays (6% higher), and lowest on Fridays (13% lower). Timing can also make a big difference. Survey invitations sent out between 18:00 - 20:59 tend to receive the highest response rates across the board.
To find out the right time to send invitations to your community, try some A/B testing to help you understand your community’s engagement preferences.
ii) Use the right tool
There are thousands of survey tools out there, each with their own benefits and shortfalls. We’ve compared some of the most popular names on the market to help you decide which one is right for you and your specific needs.
iii) Optimise your mobile experience
40% of surveys are completed on mobile, and this number is growing rapidly.
Before you send out your survey, make sure the user experience on desktop matches the mobile and tablet experience. Most survey tools will be responsive to any device, but the user experience on a smaller screen is often far less friendly, depending on what type of questions you ask.
iv) Notify your stakeholders to expect your survey ahead of time (1)
It makes sense that the better you communicate with your respondents, the more likely they are to participate in your events, initiatives and activities. Studies have found that this is certainly the case for survey initiatives, with pre-notification email or letters delivering between a 4%-29% increase in response rates.
v) Be brand-conscious (1) (2)
You might not consider surveys to be part of your key marketing message, but they are to your stakeholders. Using your official logo and colours gives your survey the stamp of legitimacy and is key to maximising your conversion rates. Research shows that branded surveys can increase response rates by up to 10%.
vi) Don’t wait years to collect feedback (1) (2)
Administering one comprehensive survey of all your stakeholders once every other year is a tempting convention to buy-in to and feels like a reasonable ask of your stakeholders. But it does mean you might have to wait one or even two years to get feedback on what you are doing right now, which is unhelpful and impractical.
To strike a good balance between limiting the burden you place on your stakeholders and receiving timeous feedback on your activities, consider dividing up your distribution list into randomised groups and surveying them more regularly on specific topics. Research indicates that bi-annual or even quarterly surveys tend to strike the best balance.
When was the last time you surveyed your audience?
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