Survey Tips

Shampoo for a Bald Man?: Choosing the Right Survey Incentive

Marni Zapin
3 min read

If you have decided to offer an incentive for completing your survey, please choose wisely! The right incentive can make or break your response rate!

First choose the type of incentive that you would like to offer. There are three primary types of incentives:

  • Individual rewards of monetary value – This would mean that you would send an incentive to all people that complete your survey. If you are offering a $5 Starbucks card, a copy of the hottest business book, or a donation to a local charity, each respondent that completes your survey would be entitled to this incentive. Consider putting a quota on your survey to limit your financial responsibility.
  • A sweepstakes, or chance to win a reward – Since you are offering a chance to win option, these rewards are usually of higher value. It could be the chance to win an Xbox 360 or a chance to win one of three $150 gift cards. These higher value items can really peak respondent interests, but be sure to randomly select your winner.
  • Summary of results – This option can be very appealing for business-to-business survey respondents. Though it may seem to be a lower cost option, remember that you will need to find the dedicated resources to write and design the summary, so that the information can be presented in a professional manner.

Regardless of the type of incentive you offer, here are some things to remember:

  • Don’t offer shampoo to a bald man! –Make sure that the incentive has value to the respondents. Avoid items that would have little to no value for the respondent (for example, offering shampoo to a bald man). Make sure you know your audience well and can offer them something that would encourage them to complete your survey.
  • And the winner is…..Now how do I get you your incentive? – Remember to always allow respondents to opt into your incentive offer, and if they do, provide them a contact form so that you have the appropriate information to send them the incentive.
  • It costs how much to ship to Australia?!?!? – Once your survey has been completed, you will need to fulfill your incentive. Some items like a summary of results and retail gift cards can be fulfilled online. Other low-cost items like t-shirts or company coffee mugs may not cost your company much to purchase, but shipping them to your respondents can get costly, especially if you have global respondents. Make these calculations ahead of time so that you are not surprised by these hidden costs.

Good luck with your survey and may your incentive make your respondent rate shine!

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