How to distribute a survey to get more respondents?
Add Surveys To Your Website Analytics B2B Research Branding Customer Survey Direct Mail Google Search Ads In-Person Interviews Market Research Panel Random Device Engagement Respondents SMS Surveys Social Media Survey Panel Sampling Survey Respondents Telephone Surveys

How To Distribute A Survey To Get More Respondents?


It seems like you’ve dedicated considerable effort to devising your market survey and strategy. Perhaps you’ve already planned the questions for the survey, segmented your target market, and secured the necessary funding to carry it out.

However, before proceeding any further, it’s important to ensure that you have chosen the appropriate survey distribution methods. Ideally, it would be best to establish the distribution methods at the outset so that you can align your survey questions, sample size, and options to take full advantage of the benefits of your preferred method.

Understanding the traditional form of survey distribution

The methods listed below are considered traditional and outdated for survey distribution. It’s recommended to exercise caution if you choose to use any of these methods. They usually require a lot of time and effort but don’t provide the same benefits as more modern distribution methods. The following are some of the legacy methods for distributing surveys:

Telephone Surveys: This method was popular in the 1990s but has been in decline since the early 2000s. Response rates for telephone surveys have decreased significantly in the past decade.

In-person Interviews: This method involves conducting one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and field research/ethnographic studies.

Google Search Ads: While this is a digital option, it’s important to recognize that most people, including website users, tend to ignore ads.

Survey Panel Sampling: This approach involves enlisting a group of pre-recruited participants who have agreed to take part in a market research agency campaign, including surveys.

Market Research Panel: Similar to survey panel sampling, this method involves pre-recruiting respondents, but it can be applied to a wider range of research methods, including interviews, ethnography, and focus groups.

Five ways to distribute surveys to get quality responses

1. Random device engagement

The most effective way to distribute surveys is through a technique called Random Device Engagement (RDE). This method delivers surveys through mobile apps, where users are actively engaged and can be easily incentivized without monetary compensation. RDE is preferred over using professional panelists, as panelists may not provide accurate responses due to being pre-recruited and potentially influenced by previous questions or panel fatigue.

In contrast, RDE involves random organic sampling, reaching out to respondents where they naturally frequent in the digital space. This results in completely voluntary, anonymous, and randomized participation. It provides a more accurate representation of the general population’s opinions and behavior, unlike panelists, who may not be fully anonymous and can be influenced by their panel experiences.

2. Direct Mail

When it comes to distributing an online market survey, email is the most common and direct method of communication with your audience. According to Statista, email marketing revenue is expected to reach almost 11 billion by the end of 2023. With email, you have the flexibility to determine the level of targeting you desire. You can choose to target only customers, prospects who have viewed a specific page of your website, marketing executives at large companies, or people who have taken a certain action with your organization.

There are two types of email distribution: batch sends and transactional sends. Batch sends involve creating an email distribution list and sending an email to that list all at once. This is a great way to target a specific group or get your survey in front of a large number of people who are already familiar with your organization. Since you are sending the survey to your opt-in list, you have a greater chance of receiving high-quality responses. You can also use logic and filtering to send the survey only to a specific group of people, making your survey more targeted.

3. Add surveys to your website

One way to get valuable feedback is by integrating surveys into your website. Your website traffic provides a relevant audience that can offer insights that go beyond what Google Analytics can provide. By placing surveys on specific pages, you can gather feedback on your organization, new products, or any specific questions you may have.

Apart from the standard survey, there are a few additional ways to use surveys on your website that can be useful, such as asking visitors for feedback on the usefulness of your content, using surveys as lead forms, or using them to sign up for newsletters and set email preferences.

4. Share surveys through social media

Social media is an effective method to reach a broad audience with your survey. In January 2023, it was reported that social media is used by 59% of the global population, and on an average day, people spend 2 hours and 31 minutes using it. However, you must be creative with marketing your survey on each platform. This could involve creating promotional images, sending alerts on micro-blogging sites, and recommending the survey to specific individuals. Providing incentives can also encourage participation. You can include the survey link directly in the social media post or link to a webpage where more information and the survey link can be found.

There are several advantages to using social media for surveys. If you have a sizable following, you can reach out to them for free, and they are more inclined to be interested in your brand’s news. Tagging social media posts with specific hashtags or topics can target people with similar interests, expanding the survey’s reach beyond just your followers or members. Paid social media promotions can be used to target specific audiences and segments when you don’t have a large following or want to reach a new target audience.

5. SMS Surveys

Using SMS (Short Message Service) to send a survey link directly to participants can be a highly effective method, with open rates as high as 98%, compared to only 20% for emails. However, getting phone numbers can be challenging for target customers unless you already have a large customer database to rely on. SMS messages are most effective when the recipient, such as an employer, knows and trusts the sender. Sending unsolicited SMS messages can lead to low response rates.

The advantage of using SMS to distribute surveys is that the message will gain immediate attention since people use SMS for various social and work activities. However, SMS messages are limited by character constraints, so the key messages must be short and compelling. If you want to provide a more extended introduction along with the survey link, SMS may not be the right method for you.


To gather valuable information, surveys are an effective tool that can be utilized for various purposes, including market research or general research. For the former, you can create a wide range of surveys and carry out different business campaigns, such as emotional marketing, PR surveys, or improving customer retention rates, but it is crucial to use the right online survey platform. To ensure unbiased results, you should choose a platform that uses random device engagement (RDE) sampling, allowing you to reach consumers in their natural digital environments without needing pre-recruitment, eliminating social pressures and biases. Additionally, it is recommended to use a mobile-first platform as mobile devices dominate the digital space, and users prefer easy and seamless mobile experiences. Maction Consulting can help you with the same.

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