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Client support really helps boost response rates for online surveys in the membership sector

Proverbs and phrases aide, the sentiment is true – when we work together, we are undoubtedly stronger. This is definitely the case for boosting response rates for online surveys undertaken amongst membership organisations, and this paper outlines some of the best ways to achieve this. 

We all live busy lives and have lots of competing pressures on our time and attention. When an invitation to take part in a survey lands in an inbox, it has a tough job to do to cut through the clutter and make it onto members’ radars.

Here at Research by Design, we have proven how valuable it is to work collaboratively to try and encourage member participation with online surveys.

The three case studies below look at the difference that co-promotion of a survey can make, compared with the agency taking full responsibility for the day by day achievement. It is important to remember that every membership organisation is different, and the chances of achieving a good response rate are affected by some external factors which we cannot control (such as the strength of relationship that members already have with their professional organisation).


Case 1: (Client A) RbD reminders with client support at the end only 

case 1 chart
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- Clear impact of weekly reminders from RbD, although limited client support until the end
- Slower than expected progress, therefore kept survey open for five weeks, rather than three, (three weeks is a more typical survey duration)
- Made the decision to send a 4th reminder, which is not typically advised as this can risk annoying members who do not wish to participate, but who have not opted out
- Client support at the end did help boost overall response

 

Result: 17% response rate versus the RbD norm of 24%


Case 2: (Client B) RbD reminders with client support throughout, versus with RbD reminders but limited client support

case 2 chart

 2013 survey response pattern:

- Less reliance upon RbD reminders (used after 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks in field)
- Evidence of client support really helping during middle weeks of survey
- Higher overall response rate

2016 survey response pattern:

- Clear impact of weekly reminders from RbD, although limited client support available to help boost gaps between reminders
- Client support introduced at the end – evidence that this helped encourage responses during the final days of survey
- Lower overall response rate

 

Result: 36% response rate with greater support, versus 29% response rate when less support given. Both exceed the RbD norm of 24%, but clear evidence that greater client support is beneficial. 


Case 3: (Client C) RbD reminders with client support throughout, versus with RbD reminders but limited client support 

case 3 chart

2014 survey response pattern:

- Steeper line indicating more responses coming in each day
- Less reliance upon RbD reminders (used after 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks in field)
- Less time required in field (three weeks)
- Higher overall response rate

2016 survey response pattern:

- Client support introduced towards the end of fieldwork
- Extra time in field (four weeks, rather than three), coupled with this client support nudged up the overall response rate, but still not to levels seen in the survey undertaken two years prior.

 

Result: 21% response rate with greater support, versus 19% response rate where less support was given. Again, evidence that greater client support is beneficial to increasing response rates.


 What does collaborative survey promotion look like?

Alongside the regular reminders from Research by Design, the input that is welcomed from client includes (a mixture of) the following:

- Promotion on your own corporate website – blogs, members’ area, banner ads, newsfeed
- Through your social media postings – promote on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
- Use planned events to promote through advertising and word of mouth
- Promote in existing member communications – member magazine article, newsletters, on email footers, etc.
- Create an additional ‘standalone’ survey available on your website – this can be used to reach members who do not have an email address recorded on your membership database
- Work closely with internal membership team/working groups to promote the survey through any other available member comms
- Promote the survey through existing membership mailings
- Consider undertaking supplementary telephone interviews amongst respondents
- Consider using text message reminders

Tereza Krtickova also talks about maximising response rates in her blog 'How to minimise online survey fatigue and maximise response rates'

By Lindsey Nadin, Associate Director

 

This entry was posted in Membership, tagged Quantitative, Research tips, Respondents, Engagement, Responses, Online surveys and posted on September 14, 2016


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