What is one thing you can do to get people to participate in a survey?

To help you employ the best ways to get people to participate in a survey, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders this question for their best ideas. From building relationships first to creating polls on social media, there are several things to do or take into account to help you win the interests of people you need to take part in a survey.

Here are 11 things these professionals do to get people to take a survey:

  • Build Relationships First
  • Incentivize Them With a Giveaway
  • Create Clear and Short Surveys
  • Tell Them It’s Anonymous
  • Use Multiple Channels to Keep You Top-of-Mind
  • Optimize Digital Surveys for Every Screen Size
  • Make Participants Understand the Value of Their Input
  • Seek Their Attention First While You Invite Them
  • Choose the Right Timing
  • Use Jargon-Free Language
  • Create Polls on Social Media


How To Get People To Take a Survey
How To Get People To Take a Survey


Build Relationships First 

Just as a successful business is largely about building relationships with your customers, so is getting people to participate in a survey and this can be done through follow-up and personalization. Cold calling customers to ask their opinions, or getting them to participate in a survey with an automated process, is impersonal and will most likely yield poor results.

Taking the time to foster relationships with your customers by continually checking in on them, engaging with them directly through your social media and communication channels, and casually getting their feedback, will better prepare them for the time you conduct an actual formal survey. By working on building those relationships, people will be more likely to participate in your surveys, and provide you the valuable information you need.

Greg Gillman, MuteSix


Incentivize Them With a Giveaway

Giveaways are easy, customizable incentives for participation in a survey. You can create a giveaway that is both attractive to your audience and fits within your budget. Structure giveaway as one large cash/product prize that participants will be entered to win or individual small amounts, credits, products, or swag. Many times, a credit for your core business service or product will be enough; a discount on their annual membership fees, a percentage off their next purchase, or even a free pair of branded socks. Make sure to take into account the time investment that you are asking from them for the survey and offer appropriate compensation, there is a big difference between a 5 minute and 30 minute commitment.

Tanya Gagnon, Miss Details


Create Clear and Short Surveys

Pretty much everyone dislikes wasting time, especially their own. If you want people to participate in a survey, avoid creating longer, more complicated ones. Be clear and to the point, and don’t forget to assure the respondents that completing the survey will only take a brief moment. If they open up a link and see three additional pages of questions, they will likely get discouraged very quickly. Ten minutes should be a limit.

Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD


Tell Them It’s Anonymous

One way to increase survey participation rates is to tell potential participants that their responses will be anonymous. Anonymity can provide respondents with a sense of security, particularly if they are discussing personal topics. It can also help to increase the overall response rate by making people feel more comfortable about taking the survey. There are a few ways to ensure anonymity, such as using an online survey tool that does not collect personal information or using a confidential mailing list. Whatever method you choose, be sure to clearly communicate to potential participants that their responses will be kept anonymous.

Lorien Strydom, Financer.com


Use Multiple Channels to Keep You Top-of-Mind

If I’m not mistaken, you already have the email addresses of your subscribers, making email the most reliable method for distributing the survey to them. What if, though, they don’t bother to respond to the survey you email them? If they “keep running into you” online, that could be a great hook to get their attention. Promoting your survey can be as simple as posting it on social media or embedding it on website landing pages.

Surveys can be sent over text messages as well. When they view your survey a second time, they will remember taking it. If you remind them a third time, they may finally give in to curiosity and fill out the survey to find out more about your operation. In my opinion, the best way to avoid spamming survey respondents is to map their responses to your marketing automation software and then blacklist them from receiving any further communications.

David Janssen, VPNOverview


Optimize Digital Surveys for Every Screen Size

Since most surveys are completed digitally, ensure that as many users as possible can access them by optimizing for all devices. Users might use their smartphones, tablets, desktops, or laptops to complete your form, so ensure that your survey works with every screen size. All questions must be readable, and buttons or scales must be accessible. Otherwise, users are likely to get frustrated and bounce before completion.

Ruben Gamez, SignWell



Make Participants Understand the Value of Their Input

If someone is going to participate in a survey, they have a reason – they may be bored, want to vent about a problem, or are supportive. To go beyond the core group, think about what they care about. Explain the reason their input matters and how you will use it. Let them know what they will hear about from you afterwards. Some surveys provide a gift – that may or may not be necessary. If people understand their voice will be heard and the information used, they will be more interested in participating.

Cathy Liska, Center for Coaching Certification


Seek Their Attention First While You Invite Them

If you’re sending an email to your audience or prospects — make sure you make it clear that you want their advice or opinion. Be sure to tell them you’re building something for them specifically and that you value their knowledge and experience. People love to give their 2 cents if you give them the opportunity (and it’s relevant to them. Also, don’t hide your survey request behind a bunch of other announcements. Make it the only thing they can focus on if they’re scanning the request. And of course, make sure the survey is simple and easy to fill out.

Brian Casel, ZipMessage


Choose the Right Timing

One of the best ways to get your audience and customers to participate in a survey is by choosing the right timing. For example, you can add it to your thank you page once your customers have just made a purchase as they might have something to say about the customer journey and it’s still fresh in their heads. Or you can send an email survey once they receive their item to get their honest feedback about your products/service or even the delivery process of applicable.

Another way to encourage them to share their opinion is after sending them a personalized message, gift or even recommendations making them feel they should somehow repay you by taking a survey. Choosing your timing based on your customer behavior is important to get more people interested in taking your surveys.

Nicole Thelin, Low Income Relief

Use Jargon-Free Language

Word your survey to appeal to your respondents, not your employees. Avoid using industry jargon that makes sense to you, but customers or other respondents won’t understand. When you use confusing language, users will either skip over a question or quit participating altogether – both cloud your results. Before you publish a survey, have at least a few members of your target group read it to ensure you’re communicating in a clear, accessible way.

Fernando Lopez, Circuit


Create Polls on Social Media

When you change the format or look of a survey, many users are more encouraged to participate in them as they don’t instantly associate it as a survey. For example, by using polls on Instagram stories or Facebook, you not only engage the audience but give them the feeling of making a choice, easily choosing one of the options you’ve added to the poll and getting their vote and insights in the process. Many users are more encouraged to participate on social media as it is instant, engaging and doesn’t require much effort.

Jenna Nye, On the Strip