By Andrew Dalglish - 18th August 2010
DIY research has been a hot topic recently. Being agency side you’d expect me to dismiss the idea. I don’t. I think it has a role and sometimes makes good sense. I also think there’s a growing realisation that this research lark is not as easy as it first seems.
Surely all you have to do is write a questionnaire, source a database of relevant contacts and then survey them using an online tool like Surveymonkey or by making a few calls? Simple. In theory, yes. In practice, no.
The reality is that many won’t respond to your invitation and with few responses the reliability of the whole exercise can be called into question. How then can you encourage participation?
Let’s first establish some realistic expectations about participation rates. Typically only a minority of those invited to take part in a survey will do so. However, the proportion however can fluctuate widely between situations. For example, an online survey amongst ‘cold’ prospects might generate a 1% – 3% response rate whilst the same approach amongst employees is likely to generate a response in excess of 60%. Our analysis of 50 recent projects (employing both online and more traditional methods) suggests that as three factors increase, so too do response rates:
And as four factors decrease, response rates typically increase:
How then can response rates be maximised? The trick is to remember that you’re essentially asking a favour; for them to give up their time to further your business. So, just as if you were asking a personal favour there are four rules:
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Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.