The past two weekends I had an opportunity to be a mentor at the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference to encourage greater Toronto area teens develop and pitch solutions in such areas as financial literacy, youth mental health, technology and more. One of the task the teens required to do is customer validation. Hence it brought me to this article in hope to provide tips on how to increase engagement when facilitating a survey and their research panel.
Having your own research panel is incredibly important and allows you to research your market easily and efficiently. The main benefit of having a personal research panel, is that response rates are much higher, with rates being as high as 75%. Comparing this to the 10% response rate that is often received from random surveys and market research, the benefits are very blatant. However, having a panel to boost engagement is not enough, and you need to know ways to create and maintain engagement with your panel to ensure you are receiving the highest response rates possible, helping you conduct research more effectively. Here are tips to encourage engagement and rev-up your market research for maximum results.
Before sending out a survey or any form of research, get to know your audience! This should be standard practise and you should start by obtaining all the data you can about your audience, including their interests, contact information and demographics. This can be done through simple methods through either reports, phone calls to real customers or by talking to your sales team. Tailor your surveys to your audience, as this will ensure they will take the time to sit down and answer your questions.
Keep your surveys and research methods simple, ensuring that they do not take too long to fill out and that the questions are not too complex. Having long and tiring surveys can bore the audience and can even result in response set, whereby the audience will just answer questions randomly just to get through the survey. Keep the survey short and smart, creating as little friction as possible. An additional form of friction would be login pages; avoid these. It is also key to let survey respondents know the approximate length of the survey upfront.
Make your survey's personal and compelling. Try addressing the audience member by name and target your audience with precision, singling out specific members who will be interested in answering your questions. Intelligent targeting will also rely on your audience research, making the first point in this article even more important. Don't forget to put contact details in an easily accessible place so the audience can contact you with any questions and concerns.
Brand your surveys with something simple and clean. Keep it simple but distinctive enough so that the audience don't mistake your email for a promotion item or spam. Getting your audience to actually open your email is also important, so placing a logo in the title or first few lines of an email request will effectively catch the attention of your audience and will ensure they open it.
If you do not give something back to your audience following the completion of a survey, your engagement can begin to diminish. Prevent this by reciprocating with your audience by showing them the impact of their help and how completing your surveys allows your company to grow and develop, which in turns, helps them. Provide your audience with reports and updates about how their feedback is fuelling the business, as this motivates your audience and keeps them completing research in the future.
Offering incentives are great and will motivate your audience to fill out your survey. However, although it is good to add incentives, make sure they are relevant to your audience, as your audience may have different tastes and interests. If you are seeing low response rates, change up your incentive, and if you are unsure with what your audience want, ask them! In addition, you should make it clear how to obtain the incentive and what the audience need to do. Difficult instructions creates frustration, and as previously mentioned, frustration reduces engagement.
Having your own research panel is important, but maintaining engagement is even more important and there are a number of ways that can help to boost your survey response rates. Make sure you have researched your target audience, develop and personalize your surveys towards them with intelligent targeting, relative incentives and humanization. Keep your survey simple and short, and make sure that your surveys and emails are branded so they are not mistaken as spam. Lastly, show your audience the impact their answers have had on your business and how they are fuelling its development and progress.