Survey distribution tools allow you to easily reach your selected audience, ask a range of questions, analyse data in real-time and make quick, informed decisions. A process that could have taken months, can now be completed in a matter of hours.
Your online survey can cover a range of subjects and gather a lot of opinion, but it is only useful once it has been completed. With a range of distribution and collection methods now available for distributing your survey, it is useful to research which is the best method to gain the optimum number of responses?
Before you look into the methods available for distributing your questionnaire, your planning needs to consider the sample size and target audience. Both these factors may have a bearing on the best way to reach your respondents.
Different survey distribution methods provide varied opportunities to increase the reach of your questionnaire. Certain options allow you to direct your survey to distinct groups and segment your target audience via a range of demographics.
Before you distribute your online survey, you must consider how you are going to gain the consent of your respondents. Potential survey participants must be given sufficient information to allow them to decide whether or not they want to take part in a research study. Requirements for the level of consent needed varies depending on the data you are collecting. It is advised that you check you are meeting the necessary guidelines. Here are some of the minimum requirements:
- Provide the name of the person or organisation conducting the survey
- Respondents should be given an option to withdraw from the survey if they so choose
- Provide details and terms and conditions of any incentives offered
- Make it clear that consent is implied by participating in the survey
Survey distribution methods
Website (link, pop-up, embedding)
If your survey relates to services or products that you deliver via your website, you can embed a link to the questionnaire on the site. This method has the added advantage of collecting responses without making users leave your website.
To generate attention for your online survey you could launch a pop up to encourage participation. However, remember to let users reject the invitation to respond if they are not interested.
If you are sending an online survey, more than likely you are distributing it by email. Delivering surveys by email is quick and easy, it means you can create a personalised message that can be sent to a set list of contacts. The recipient of the email can simply click on a link you send them in order to visit the survey. Using email means that you can also track who has opened the email, clicked on the link and filled in the survey. You can also resend to those on the list who have not opened the initial email.
Don’t forget to give the respondent the opportunity to unsubscribe from any further emails if they so choose. This applies to all communications whether sent by email, SMS, MMS or via any other form of electronic communication.
Send by SMS
To send your survey via SMS you will need a mobile number. Therefore it is best to build the ability to collect numbers for SMS campaigns into your marketing plans. As with email, you must get consent before sending SMS messages, this is not only the law but will ensure you receive a better response rate. Using SMS means that you can target users on the move. If your survey is related to customer experience, you can deliver the survey immediately after the event whilst it is fresh in the users mind. This will ensure the results are likely to be more accurate.
Via push or rich message via an app
The emergence of mobile messaging apps has created new opportunities for communications. Retailers, gaming, news and financial services providers have embraced apps and app messaging. Consumers have become more comfortable with receiving messages directly from a brand via an app, providing another way to share the link for your survey. One thing to remember is that the recipient must have a data connection to receive the message.
If you need an instant audience for your survey then survey panels provide quick access to a group with similar demographics. You can often choose from characteristics such as age, gender or location as well as opinions such as retail interest. Survey panels provide you with fast, guaranteed responses. There will however be a cost associated with this option.
Quick Response Codes (QR) are 2D barcodes that can be used to distribute a link via web or print. To read or scan the code you will require a smartphone or tablet that can take you to the survey. QR codes are useful if you want to add the link to printed materials or signage, as it can be easier to scan a code than type a long URL into a browser.
Social media is a great way to extend the reach of your survey as it allows contacts to share the survey. You can post the survey on a variety of channels and track what works best for future campaigns. Placing a link to your survey on social media has the potential to increase its visibility to an audience that you do not have emails or a phone number for.
Placing a link on a social networks does mean it can be shared by others resulting in you attracting a wide range of respondents. Remember that your survey, once posted onto a social network, will be visible until you remove the post or close the survey and you will have no control over who responds.
We hope that this has provided you with some useful information and given you with some ideas for your next research project. For information on the best way to reach your audience with online surveys, contact our friendly support team.