Promoting your surveys: Some simple tactics for both off- and online
The biggest trend in the marketing world is data, which is projected to more than double every two years. As cost-effective tools emerge, organizations of all sizes have begun mining; however, according to Zoomerang®, a survey-provider with a focus in the nonprofit arena, only 7% of nonprofit organizations utilized surveys in 2011.Surveys are an opportunity to bolster your organization’s competitive advantage. From demographic information to service feedback, the information gathered from surveys can provide you with a fresh perspective, which can influence decision-making.

Since sample size adds validity to conclusions, survey efficacy is generally measured by the response rate. Your audience will be more likely to complete the survey if they are able to see the direct correlation between themselves and the results. To illustrate this point, students at North Carolina State University found that promoting your survey with gift incentives increases the response rate by as much as 8%. Cash incentives could mean a 19% or higher response rate increase.

Here are a few tactics to help both the novice and the veteran increase audience participation:

Offline

  • People are more apt to participate in in-person surveys because it’s human nature to not be rude or disappoint. Hire a personable staff to engage people in more of a friendly conversation than questions on a checklist.
  • Add credibility to your organization by presenting an educated and cohesive survey team. By phone, make sure each team member has a script to follow and responds similarly. If the survey is conducted in person, the brand should be portrayed with continuity in apparel and appearance as well. Uniform your team with apparel, such as windbreakers, to visually identify them with your organization.
  • Promote your online survey … offline. For example, market an online survey in high traffic areas and provide a small incentive such as a branded pen as a reminder to complete the survey.
  • If conducting a survey by mail, include a small enticement in the envelope, like address labels or a small pack of Post-it® Notes. People are more likely to respond if they perceive a quid pro quo.

Online

  • Highlight the spirit of donating time by participating in a survey. Many people will be compelled to offer their time because they are unable to contribute to the cause financially, but still wish to participate.
  • As previously stated, rewards are a sure-fire way to increase participation. Many online survey providers offer incentive tools for an additional price, like a randomized drawing. They can handle all details, from distribution to taxes. Prizes can range from gift cards to your own branded item based on your organization (e.g. an animal rescue shelter may distribute a gift basket of animal products like a pet health record keeper, reflective ID tags and retractable leash).
  • If your survey is open to the public, advertise across your social media platforms with the promise in more information in return. Once they complete the survey, send them an eBook with more information on your cause and the survey results.
  • In addition to cultivating data, real time information is another marketing trend. Allow your audience to view the results after they have answered a question. For example, if surveying the effectiveness of a motivational speaker, ask the audience to cast their ballot and show the results: 96%—very motivational; 3%—neutral; 1%—uninterested in the message.

Whether using data to gauge the organization’s reputation, measure the reach of your services or determine the effectiveness of your programs, surveys — when properly crafted — can help your organization build a strategy for success. A properly promoted survey increases sample size, making the results far more valuable.

McGaughey, Katryn. World’s Data More Than Doubling Every Two Years-Driving Big Data Opportunity, New IT Roles. Rep. EMC News, June 2011. Web. 31 May 2012.

“12 Hot Digital Marketing Trends for 2012.” Weblog post. Digital Marketing NOW. Web. 31 May 2012.

“Non-Profit Survey 2011: current technology and marketing practices.” Zoomerang. Web. 31 May 2012.

Survey Incentives Wolf Wikis. North Carolina State University. Web. 31 May 2012.

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