It's important to note that *how* you invite people to participate in your surveys & forms - with an eye toward being relevant, personal and clear - is as important as the survey itself when it comes to your overall survey results.
So without further ado, here are some tips to get you started:
- Craft a Compelling Email Invitation
As you add surveys and forms to your ongoing email efforts, there are a few things you can do to make the most of an email campaign that includes a link to your latest survey. Start by keeping that link near the top of your email campaign. That way, folks seeing your survey's invitation in their email program's preview pane (at least 60% of your audience) will only need a quick preview to click through and take it. Consider including another link at the bottom, too, for more thorough readers. And don't forget that different folks have different motivations to take the same survey, so consider segmenting your list and creating more targeted invitations accordingly.
- Find Lots of Ways to Remind People
An email campaign is a great start to spreading the word about your survey, but you'll get more - and more varied - responses from your audience if you invite them to take your survey in a variety of places.
Think about all the ways you interact with your subscribers. Are they visiting your website or blog, finding you on Twitter or calling your office? Do they love getting your print invitations in the mail or coming to your volunteer events? Wherever they are, invite them to take your survey there, too. Because with surveys, as in life, more invitations are always better. Except for invitations that suggest "Unitard casual" as the dress code. It's best to have as few of those invitations as possible, and to decline all of them.
- Set an Expectation
With readers' packed inboxes and short attention spans, it's important to show your subscribers that you care about their time. So, don't just invite people to take your survey or questionnaire. Instead, invite them to take your 90-second survey or your three-minute questionnaire. With a few words of specificity up front, you'll help folks know what to expect after the click.
- Offer a Reward or Incentive of Some Kind
For the people who love you, the privilege of offering feedback may be incentive enough to take your survey. The people who like you may need a little more convincing. Offering an incentive for survey takers is a nice way of saying that you value your subscribers' time and input, and it has the added benefit of boosting your participation rates. Prince Market Research estimates that a well-chosen incentive can boost your participation anywhere between 5 and 20 percent.
What kind of incentives might you offer to your subscribers? Popular options include awarding gift cards to some, sending your findings as a report or offering a discount to your next gala. Less popular incentives include limited edition J. Giles Band posters, VHS cassettes of the Lifetime original movie Casualties of Love: the Long Island Lolita Story (Alyssa Milano at her best, really), and mugs.
- Tell (and Show) Them Why Their Opinion is Important
Sometimes the best incentive is showing folks how their input will make a difference. Alongside every mention of your survey, tell your would-be respondents how the information they provide will be used to improve an event, program, service or, best of all, their own experience. If you can, follow up with an overview of your findings later, or share what decisions you've made as a result of what you learned. When folks see how much their input matters, they'll be more likely to offer feedback next time, too.
So, there you have it. We hope our handful of tips has inspired you to spread the word about surveys and forms (or, hey, create some to talk about).