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Boosting survey response rates is a priority for many researchers and organizations, as higher participation can lead to more accurate and comprehensive results. One proven way to achieve this is by offering survey incentives.

But what types of incentives are the most effective?

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Notably, an NCBI report highlighted that in 49 studies, survey questionnaires delivered to consumers with monetary incentives garnered double the response. Additionally, research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine reinforces this by indicating that the mere presence of an incentive can enhance the completion probability by 30%.

With this evidence, the importance of survey incentives is undeniable.

Survey incentives are used to attract more survey takers from the market. Considering that, we will discuss 10 of the most impactful survey incentive ideas to improve survey response rates.

10 Survey incentive ideas for higher response rates

Here are 10 incentive ideas that you can use to attract more real time customers from the market to take surveys for your company or brand:

1. Gift cards

One of the best ways to get people from the market to engage with a brand or company is to offer them gift cards. Most of us, as customers, are familiar with gift cards that are provided at the end of a few questions that pop up online. This is one of the most common ways to collect customer data such as:

  • Demographic details
  • Likes and dislikes of the brand
  • Brand image details

Using a gift card, surveys can invite more people to give out these details and in the end, they can receive a gift card via email or SMS. Not only do you now have powerful market data, but also customer information that can be used for marketing your product or service.

For example: Amazon often offers gift cards to participants who complete their surveys. By providing a monetary incentive, they make it more compelling for participants to spend a few minutes giving feedback. This approach is especially effective because gift cards are versatile and appeal to a broad audience.

2. Cash prizes

Cash prizes are also a great way to attract customers and people from the market to take a survey.

If you are a brand or a company that is looking for customers to take a longer-than-usual survey, it might be challenging to get the required number of sample sizes to take the survey. But with a promise of a cash prize, customers can be easily attracted to take the quiz.

Cash prizes can vary from tens of dollars to a surprise offer of a scratch card or a bumper cash prize that can be as high as hundreds of dollars.

Some ways to attach a cash incentive to surveys are:

  • Scratch card offers with a surprise cash prize
  • Bumper cash prize
  • Fixed cash incentive
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Survey Junkie is a popular online platform where participants can earn cash by sharing their opinions through surveys. With a community of millions, the platform bridges the gap between consumers and brands.

Members of Survey Junkie get personalized survey invites based on their profiles. These surveys are often related to products, services, or general consumer behavior. Participants earn points for every survey they complete.

The point system is straightforward, with 100 points being equivalent to $1. Once participants accrue a certain number of points, they can cash out directly through PayPal or opt for e-Gift cards.

3. Exclusive content

Exclusive content refers to special product features or exclusive access to events, product launches, or services that can be shared with customers who take up the surveys.

For companies who are into more significant products and services such as softwares, retail products, IT, banking, or any other such industries - these companies can offer exclusive products, features, or special content access that can be provided to those who take up these surveys. This works best for companies in the service industry.

  • Provide exclusive access to new products.
  • Get special edition products or features.
  • Subscribe to services/ special access services at no cost.
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As a leading streaming platform, Netflix recognizes the value of customer feedback and continually strives to enhance its user experience. To encourage subscribers to participate in surveys, Netflix occasionally provides them with unique and enticing incentives. One of the most effective incentives is access to exclusive content.

For instance, Netflix might invite a select group of subscribers to take part in a survey about their viewing habits and preferences. In return for their participation, these subscribers may gain early access to unreleased episodes of a highly anticipated original series. This exclusive access not only rewards loyal customers but also creates a sense of excitement and anticipation.

In addition to early access, Netflix has also been known to offer behind-the-scenes content as an incentive. Survey participants might receive exclusive video clips or interviews with the cast and crew of popular shows, giving them an insider's look into the making of their favorite series.

4. Discounts and coupons

Surveys can also come with discounts and coupons attached to a survey form. At the end of the form, the customer can avail a discount code or a coupon that they can use online or in-store to get off on any product or service they might be willing to buy.

Companies and brands use this discount or coupon format the most as customers can receive 5 percent to even 50 percent discount codes. Coupons can also be sent online or using physical vouchers that can be redeemed online or offline for either an off or additional products or services.

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Kohl's is a well-known American department store retail chain, offering a wide range of clothing, accessories, home goods, and more. Kohl's is particularly noted for its frequent discount events and coupon promotions.

They often send out "Kohl's Cash" vouchers to customers based on their spending amounts during specific promotional periods. These vouchers can be used on subsequent purchases.

Additionally, the company offers percentage-off coupons, deals of the day, and special discounts for holders of the Kohl's Charge card. Their loyalty program, Kohl's Rewards, allows members to earn rewards on purchases which can be redeemed as discounts on future transactions.

5. Prize draw

Prize draw is a great way to engage customers in a contest form that allows them to interact with the brand. Companies can announce an offer where customers are expected to fill out a survey form and automatically enroll in a prize draw using their unique email ID or phone number.

Brands can push their products or services in this prize draw by offering free products and services or providing other goodies with branding that helps foster a relationship between the company and the brand. Using this method, customer information can easily be collected, and this database can be used for future email or phone marketing efforts.

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Coca-Cola is a multinational beverage corporation, producing one of the most recognized and consumed soft drinks globally.

Coca-Cola frequently conducts "Under the Cap" promotions. By purchasing participating Coca-Cola products, customers can find codes under the bottle caps or printed on the packaging.

Entering these codes on Coca-Cola's promotional websites gives customers the chance to win various prizes, from tickets to events, exclusive branded merchandise, or even large cash prizes. Such promotions not only boost sales but also engage customers in an interactive experience with the brand.

6. Charitable donations

Asking customers to fill out surveys using which companies will participate in charitable donations can be an empathetic way to increase customer engagement. Customers who are not into cash or incentive linked activities or rewards are those who are less materialistic and, therefore, need a more emotional, empathetic connection. Such customers can be moved using a linked charity donation or a social cause to which the company can offer support.

  • Brands can sign up for NGOs or other social causes.
  • Companies can offer a charitable donation amount or partake in a campaign/ event.
  • Each survey completed can be linked to a donation that will be made in the favor.
  • Customers can be urged to spread the word to increase the donation and, therefore for more survey forms to be filled.
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SurveyMonkey is a leading cloud-based software platform for creating and distributing surveys to gather feedback and insights.

SurveyMonkey has a program called β€œSurveyMonkey Contribute.” Users take surveys, and for each completed survey, SurveyMonkey donates a certain amount to a chosen charity from a list of partnering charitable organizations.

This approach allows survey participants to feel that they are making a difference with their time and feedback, benefiting causes such as health research, disaster relief, and wildlife conservation.

7. Product samples

Surveys can also be linked to free samples. This is a great marketing effort to spread the word and make customers feel and use the product or service. A hands-on experience can be a great way to make customers try out your products. If the customer likes the product, they are sure to buy more and recommend the same to their friends and family.

  • Companies can sign up for sample-size products for distribution.
  • Develop survey forms and offer samples as gifts to those who fill out the form.
  • Samples can also be sent to their postal address, which helps brands collect locations.
  • Once the customer receives the sample, brands can ask for feedback and offer further purchase discounts.

8. Sweepstake entries for bigger prizes

Entering sweepstakes can generate excitement in the market, especially when participants spread the word and invite their friends to join. Furthermore, compared to other incentives like loyalty programs, the success of sweepstakes is more straightforward to monitor and measure.

Still, it's essential to familiarize yourself with local regulations concerning sweepstakes to ensure your program adheres to them.

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Sephora is a leading cosmetic and beauty retailer with various makeup, skincare, fragrance, and other beauty products.

Sephora USA, Inc. is conducting a series of weekly sweepstakes throughout 2023, where entrants have a chance to win a $250 Sephora gift card. Participants can join either by completing an online survey through a QR code on their receipt or by an online entry without taking the survey. The sweepstakes, sponsored by Sephora and administered by Medallia, Inc. and the US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Company, is open to U.S. residents aged 18 and above.

Winners, chosen monthly, grant Sephora permission to use their details for promotional activities. Entrants are protected by specific legal terms and conditions, with full rules available on Medallia's website.

8. Personalized reports

This is a more sophisticated reward and speaks to a smaller category of specialized sample size. Suppose your company is seeking specialized input from a set number of professionals in the industry. In that case, one of the best perks or regards you can provide as an incentive for taking surveys is a personalized report.

As a professional or someone keen on a specific market or industry, a personalized report can mean a lot as a reward.

These reports can be in the form of an e-book, whitepapers, case report or physical copies of industry reports. The company can make it brand focussed by including brand copy, as this helps in promote the company image and allows for sharing insights with privileged customers.

9. Early access

Early access to products or services that are yet to be released and choosing participants as a small sample size by means of filling out survey forms is a great tool to interact with customers.

Not only do the customers feel special and privileged to be a part of a small sample size of customers who get to see and purchase the product or service much earlier than the others, it is a great motivation to fill out surveys.

Companies who are into IT, telecommunication, software/hardware, FMCG, retail or fashion can all benefit from this survey incentive form. Early access is a great way to get customers to fill out forms in anticipation of being the first ones who would be able to use and buy the product or service. At the end of the survey, a special access passcode or invite can be sent over email or postal address to make it feel more personal.

For example: Spotify has occasionally sought feedback from its user base regarding new features or user experience elements. In return for participating in these surveys, they offer users early access to new features or exclusive playlists.

This approach leverages the brand's unique offerings to entice their most loyal customers, those who would value such exclusive content or first-look opportunities.

10. Recognition and publicity

One of the lesser used methods for incentivizing surveys are recognitions or publicity for taking up the survey. Many smaller companies who have small budgets for their survey incentives can certainly use this ego boosting form of non-monetary incentive.

In this method, the company offers a non physical form of reward such as appreciation, a social media post, a badge that can be added or displayed or a public show of appreciation using company page/ social media/ or digital ads for all the customers who take part in the survey.

Those who are not into monetary rewards but find joy in personalized appreciation that is unique and creative can find this to be an attractive reward or incentive for filling out a survey. It also helps spread the word and therefore, increase the survey response rate.

For example: Starbucks introduced a recognition-driven approach to boost their survey response rate. Through the "Starbucks Star Reviewer" program, participants were featured on Starbucks' platforms and had a chance to influence new drink creations.

This strategy resulted in a surge in survey participation at a lower cost compared to traditional incentives. The initiative highlighted the power of recognizing customer feedback in strengthening brand loyalty.

Conclusion

From a customer's point of view, a survey is something that takes up their time, is a tedious task and requires customers to fill out information pertaining to their personal details, likes and dislikes etc. All of these reasons can contribute to them not being interested in filling out survey forms.

This is where a good survey incentive should come in. An attractive survey incentive can attract prospective customers from the market to engage with the company by sharing information using survey forms. These surveys can be about product, service, brand offerings, brand image or general market information.

The 10 survey incentives listed above can be a great way to attract more customers to take your company's survey online or offline and help gather important market information that is most likely the best way to create and design products just the way customers want them.

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