Reducing the level of non-response can be achieved in 10 simple steps:
1. Recruitment from different sources. Do not send invitations only via e-mail - post the survey in various online communities (forums, social networks, etc.).
2. Personalize e-invitations. Messages with a personal address increase the response rate by at least 5%, and sometimes even more. Thus send invitations such as"Dear Mr. Smith” instead of “Dear Sir or Madam”.
3. Email invitations should be short and simple. Along with the survey URL, do not forget to emphasize:
- who you are,
- what the survey means for each individual,
- the length of the survey (especially if the survey is short, but do not mislead the respondents if it is longer, as respondents prefer to fill out longer surveys if they know what to expect),
- anonymity of the survey.
4. The first page of the survey should be simple and attractive and should motivate the respondents. Do not place instructions onto the first page, as studies have shown that respondents do not look favorably upon long instructions on the first page.
5. However - highlight how you will use the survey answers. This should be written on the first page. People are more likely to provide information on the Internet if they are familiar with their use. Additionally, emphasize the anonymity and confidentiality of information.
6. Do not forget to send email reminders. Send a new invitation to those who have not responded after a certain period of time. You can do this by sending a thank you note to those who have already responded and encourage those who have not to do so. However, it is better not to send more than two reminders and to remove e-mail addresses of those who do not wish to be contacted.
7. Consider offering incentives - gifts, awards, etc. Studies show that large incentives are not necessary to increase the response rate. Even small tokens or gifts can help increase the level of response.
8. Some simply want to share their opinion. Many people will only respond to the survey because they want to share their opinion, not because of the incentives. Therefore consider optional prizes – e.g. perform a draw.
9. Use graphics and other Internet options strategically. Generally the survey does not need graphics; this can sometimes be distracting or even affect the responses. However, in some cases graphics may increase the response rate (e.g. link or photo of the prize).
10. Publicly announce the results of the survey. The respondents are interested in the results of the survey and its publication will contribute to their willingness to fill out the survey.