It’s no secret that it’s getting harder than ever for researchers to reach their target audiences. The death of door-to-door research, the rise of “no call lists,” and the use of blockers on many forms of digital media has made it increasingly difficult to reach the “right” audience.
As a result, target populations for traditional market research methods are becoming harder to reach, and respondents are not representative of the complete sample brands are hoping to learn from.
To boost response rates and avoid skewed data, top research teams are looking at ways to provide a better participant experience. Below are examples and advice from some of the world’s top researchers on improving research results through a more engaging experience.
Keep it interesting
It might sound obvious, but you are more likely to boost response rates if your activities are diverse and interesting for your participants.
ENGAGE: 101 tips to improve the research participant user process, a handbook from the Global Research Business Network (GRBN), offers a number of suggestions for qualitative and quantitative studies. In the book, our own Vice President of Customer Enablement Christy Ransom suggests offering a variety of different experiences and activities to online community members to increase engagement. “Consider putting together a calendar of activities to ensure an array of business questions are being addressed at least once every six months, or by activity type (e.g., online journaling or discussions),” she says.
Offer a variety of different experiences and activities to online community members to increase engagement
Paula Morrow, global marketing research manager at the Center for Creative Leadership, also suggests prioritizing new methods to engage community members. At the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit, Morrow discussed the “Ask an Expert” activity where a subject matter expert engages in a two-way dialogue with customers. Community members get to ask the expert anything, and in return, the brand gains new insight from its members.
Reach your customers anywhere
According to Ray Poynter’s #NewMR blog, about one third of research participants take online surveys on mobile devices. Make sure you reach a wide audience by creating device-agnostic activities with intuitive designs. For online communities, this means creating short, simple activities that can be created on devices with smaller screens, such as mobile phones and tablets. This includes shorter surveys, mobile-friendly questions and avoiding custom layouts that may not work on all devices.
Make your participants your partners
Instead of begging or paying customers to participate in research activities, the most influential researchers look at ways to create real value that goes beyond monetary rewards. By building long-term relationships with customers, you have a willing base of people who are willing to opt-in to activities.
The partnership should go both ways. Share back data to show how people from similar demographics answered the same questions and show how the feedback you’ve gathered has helped improve the customer experience, product innovation, or other business processes that impact customers.
Beyond ad-hoc surveys
To learn about your customers, you need to build real trust and develop ongoing relationships with them. The more trust you build, the more your customers will be willing to share, helping you to in turn provide a better, more customized experience.