Conducting an email survey with recipients in your contact list as your respondents can be an excellent source of useful insights for your research. This cost-effective method for distributing questionnaires and generating responses is certainly one of the most helpful research tools you have at your disposal, provided that you do it correctly of course. That’s why this post is aimed at making sure your email survey doesn’t fall into one of the common traps for this tactic.
Among the major potential setbacks from email surveys is the risk of yielding poor response rates which can, in turn, put the reliability of the results into question. Having extremely low participation rates from your mailing list provider can cloud the quality of survey data and defeat the whole purpose of carrying it out in the first place. To help you maximize your survey’s response rates, here are five tips to follow:
1. Know your sample well. Assuming that you’ve properly carried out your desired sampling method, the next important issue to consider is knowing the collective qualities and characteristics of your target respondents. In most cases, working with a random sample from specific segments in B2B contact databases is how survey proponents select their participants. As such, you need to identify the attributes associated with such segments and determine a match with the goals of the study.
2. Make the main points stand out. This refers to how well you craft your email message that invites the target participants to take the survey. Keep in mind that email readers simply skim through your messages and so, you have to make every important word or phrase stand out. This includes having your call-to-action and incentives easier to find and understand. Also, your subject line needs to be engaging enough to actually get recipients to open your message.
3. Optimize the landing page. You need to ensure that the landing page which contains or directs the reader to the survey questionnaire seamlessly continues the conversation started in your email message. This sense of “continuity” is needed to avoid disrupting your email recipients’ motivation. Use clear instructions and be sure to maintain readability all throughout.
4. Check if everything’s working. After you’ve taken care of every preparation you need and immediately before you hit the “send” button, you should perform a careful process walkthrough to check for kinks in the email survey. Start by sending a test email to yourself then following the links, filling out the questionnaire, and trying out the data gathering procedures to uncover potential errors in your process.
5. Account for discrepancies. Once you’ve finished conducting the email survey, you need to make several adjustments to the total emails sent as well as level of participation. First, you have to subtract the bounce count from the total sent to determine the net emails delivered. Then, from the net emails delivered, you have to determine how many recipients have fully completed the survey and how many have only partially filled out the questionnaire. You also have to find out how many recipients never did take the survey. These figures are necessary to accurately gauge the study’s response rates.
Of course, response rates form only one facet of your survey. You also have to consider other factors such as the quality of the questions themselves, the sufficiency of data collected, and many more. Nonetheless, response rates are still an important metric to look at in order to gauge the effectiveness of the data collection component of your study. Do you have some other email survey tips you’d like to share?