Response Rate Tips: How to improve low response rates.

When sending surveys to an audience through an online platform, there are many things to consider for collecting quality data. Not only do you need to know your survey audience, but you will want to create an effective survey that is relevant and interesting. If you solicit a poorly designed survey to an audience who does not know you, then you can expect to collect extremely low response rates. Most importantly, your survey invitation may also get reported as spam.


What are Response Rates? 

The percentage of people who respond to your survey is considered the response rate.

A high response rate helps to ensure that the survey results are representative of the survey population. To calculate the response rate, use the following equation. (Multiply the answer by 100% to get the percentage):

Number of Completed Surveys / Number of Participants Contacted x 100% = Response Rate


Determining a Sample Size for your study:

Check out the following site to determine an appropriate sample size.

Wimmer, Roger (2001) “Sample Size Calculator”. Retrieved March, 1, 2007, from Roger Wimmer Websites:


lightbulb Improving Response Rates:

Review these key points to build better surveys!

A. Survey Design: 

  • Consider the purpose of your research.
  • Establish a relationship with your respondents and try to pre-notify them of an upcoming survey.
  • Create a survey that asks the right questions to meet your research objective.
  • Keep your design clean, precise, logical, and short if possible.
  • Pilot test to make sure that all is working correctly and the questions make sense.

arrow Review our blog to gain insight into the following: Does Adding One More Question Impact Survey Completion Rate? (Currently our blog is in English only.)


B. Email Invitation:

Message content is important. The invitation message is what your respondents will see first. Upon their initial glance of the invitation, recipients could send it directly to SPAM if you ignore these tips:

  • Do not use spam language in the message.
  • Include your contact information, how you got the email address, the survey intention, what you will do with the data, if it is anonymous, etc.
  • Personalize the message. Include the name of your respondents name of your respondents in the body.
  • Do not use SPAM language in the subject title like all caps, money symbols, etc.
  • Use a professional reply email address.
  • Indicate how long the survey takes to complete and when the cutoff date will stop collection.
  • Don't send unsolicited emails.
  • Use clean and updated contact email lists.
  • Consider the timing of your invitation distribution. Does your audience consist mostly of students or are they working professionals?
  • Schedule reminders messages.
  • Offer incentives.


For more tips on message formatting and increasing response rates, please view the following guides (Currently these guides are available in English only):

arrow  Email Message Formatting Tips
arrow Response Rates & Surveying Techniques