According to a survey by the American Statistical Association, surveys with incentives have a better response rate.
They tested a control group with no incentive, a group that was given $5 as an incentive upfront and a group that was told they’d receive $5 at the end of the survey.
Their data showed that the use of prepaid incentives not only increases response rates, but it increases the quality of the survey data.
What’s more, when offered the prepaid incentive, survey respondents were less likely to ignore a question and more likely to offer longer answers.
What does this tell us? It suggests that offering incentives is a valuable way to increase your response rates and the quality of your answers. (tweet this)
In this article, we look at seven survey incentives that get respondents every time.
#1: The Monetary Incentive
Have you ever been asked to take a survey that offered you money for doing so?
This is one of the most common types of incentives and the most successful.
When using a monetary incentive, it can come in several forms:
- Cash (think PayPal)
- Check (either mailed or e-Check)
- Gift card
You’ll often find a higher completion rate when respondents are offered a cash reward.
Why is the return better? Survey respondents who are offered a cash incentive are more likely to complete your survey because there is a monetary reward. What’s more, they are more likely to feel compelled to take their time when responding to your survey because they feel obligated to do so.
How do you find the right amount of money to offer? First, look at your survey length. How long will it take to complete?
Then, think about your audience. If it’s college students, and it’s a five-minute survey, anywhere from $1-5 should suffice.
On the other hand, if the survey is sent to a professional group like doctors, and your survey takes 30 minutes to complete, your price should be significantly more – around $25-100.
#2: The Sample Product or Service
Knowing your audience is key to deciding what type of incentive you want to provide.
While cash is always a great idea, offering respondents a sample product or service is another way to give them what they want.
Let’s say you want to survey people to find out how they feel about your sports drinks. You’ve just developed a new flavor, and for completing the survey, you offer them a sample of the new flavor.
This can work if your respondents are your current sports drink customers, and they’re interested in trying new flavors.
Likewise, if you offer computer-type services, you might offer respondents a beta version of your newest software.
With this type of incentive, make it relevant to your company so it encourages your respondent’s continued business.
#3: The Coupon
Coupons are another often successful way to incentivize respondents.
Many businesses have success offering a 25% discount to people completing their surveys. This is often enough to encourage and grow your response rates.
The coupon or discount costs you less than offering a straight cash reward. Why? With a coupon, you are still driving business.
#4: The Charitable Donation
Again, you’ve got to know your target audience. For example, pick a charity that ties into your product line.
Let your customers know that for each survey returned, you’ll donate X amount to your favorite charity.
Your customers will feel good knowing that by completing your survey they did something good for the world.
In addition, you’ll provide a good feeling for your customers. In today’s world, people are more charitable than ever before, and they want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
This can be a good way to build good feelings for your brand while helping others.
#5: The Drawing
Another type of incentive is the drawing or raffle.
With this incentive, you tell survey respondents that for completing your survey they’ll be entered into a drawing to win something.
Popular items include gift cards, cash and iPads.
Just be sure the lottery incentive won’t break your marketing budget.
#6: The Whitepaper
You can also offer your survey respondents something tangible. For example, you can offer them something of value.
Let’s say you run a marketing business, and you are sending your survey to all of your retainer customers.
You might offer them a how-to manual, video or whitepaper that you aren’t offering anyone else for free.
While not the most enticing incentive, it can work for the right audience.
#7: The Giveaway
This type of incentive includes branded giveaways. We’re talking pens, cups, notebooks, etc. with your company’s logo.
You want to know your target audience well, and if you’re giving away something they find useful, this can work.
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve looked at survey incentives that get respondents every time, we’re going to provide you with a few more things to think about.
- Know your budget. This is the most important thing to consider when deciding on an incentive. Make sure you can afford to give away the item you promised.
- Decide if every respondent gets your incentive. You can also offer the first 200 respondents the incentive or even the lottery option giving them a chance to win the incentive.
- Know your audience. When choosing your incentive, it’s vital that you can define this group of people. Offering an incentive that’s valuable is of utmost importance. If they don’t care about the incentive, it won’t matter.
- Decide on your delivery method. You want to provide an incentive that is easy to redeem and one that doesn’t eat up your manpower.
- Pick the time you’ll offer the incentive. Will you offer it before they complete the survey or after? Upfront surveys have been known to increase response rates because survey takers feel obligated to complete the survey.
- Set up some form of quality control. This is especially true if your survey incentive is really valuable. You don’t want people completing it more than once.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can begin with testing a few different incentives.
Begin with a small group of respondents and see if they respond. For example, if you decide to offer cash, test this out with half of your respondents. Then compare it to your control group and see if it made a difference.
Through testing you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. You might have to test a few times to find out which one works best for your target audience.
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Image: Annie Spratt