Finding survey responses is often the hardest part of a research project.

For the researcher not able to purchase a panel, maximizing the response rate can save hours of searching through email lists and other sources to get the responses they need.

Fortunately, a few quick steps can increase your response rate, saving you significant time and money. Here are a few that we regularly recommend:

Give Them a Reason

Put yourself in the shoes of your respondents. They are probably very busy and rarely get a sudden urge to answer a survey.

You need to give them a reason to take your survey. There are many ways to do this. Many researchers provide tangible benefits to those who choose to respond. These often include:

  • Gift cards
  • Extra services
  • Entry in a drawing for prizes

Some surveys targeted at existing clients simply explain that feedback will be used to improve the services provided. For the client that is invested in your organization, this is often a significant incentive.

Keep It Short

When was the last time you wanted to spend two hours taking a survey for your dry cleaner?

You probably just answered the same way your respondents will. In contrast, a five minute time commitment is something most of us are willing to consider.

We recommend keeping surveys from 5-15 minutes in length whenever possible. Be sure to tell respondents how long the survey will take in the invitation. You can also provide a progress bar during the survey so respondents know they won’t be taking your survey all day.


We all get many emails every day and usually have to be in just the right mood to answer a survey. Qualtrics Mailer allows you to multiply your response rate by targeting those who haven’t responded with follow-up emails that remind them about the survey.

These reminders can be a repeat of the initial invitation or take an entirely new approach.

Our power users report this is one of our best features and a great way to increase response rates without much effort.

We hope these tools will help you increase your responses rates. Be sure to leave any other ideas that have worked for you in the comments section.