We can lower nonresponse rate in 10 simple ways:
- Recruit from different sources:
Don’t send invitations just through email, but also publish your survey on different web communities (forums, social networking sites etc.)
- Personalize invitations sent through email:
Messages with personal address increase response rate by at least 5%, sometimes even more. Send invitations to Mr. Johnson and not just to Dear Someone.
- Email invitation should be short and simple:
Beside the link don’t forget to highlight the following:
- who are you and what is the purpose of this research;
- what does research mean to every respondent
- length of a survey – especially highlight that if you survey is short, but do not mislead, because respondents prefer to answer to a long survey if they know what they are in for;
- anonymity of the survey.
- First page of the survey should be simple and attractive:
It should motivate respondents. Don’t put instructions on it, because research shows that respondents don’t like to read long instructions on the first page
- Specify how you will use answers:
Write this on the first page. People on the internet prefer to share information if they know how it will be used. Highlight anonymity/confidentiality of information and it’s sharing with others.
- Don’t forget to send email remainders:
After certain period of time, send people that have not yet responded another invitation. You can do this by sending thanks to those that have already responded and to encourage those who have not yet responded. It is best not to send more than two remainders. It is especially important to remove email address of people who do not wish to be contacted anymore.
- Consider encouragements – gifts, rewards etc.:
Studies show that in order to increase response rate, strong encouragements are not necessary. Even small gifts can contribute to higher response rate.
- Some people just want to share their opinion:
A lot of people will respond just because they want to share their opinion and not because of rewards. Therefore think about optional rewards – eg. Lottery.
- Use graphics and other internet options strategically:
Usually surveys don’t need graphics. They can even be a disturbance or affect the answers. In some cases graphics can increase response rate (eg. Link or an image of the reward etc.)
- Publish results of the survey online and make them visible to all respondents:
Respondents are interested into survey results and their publication will help convincing them to take part in the survey.