Create a call to action for your survey

We’re going to consider how to attract respondents and create a call to action for your survey

We could answer this in 3 words: ‘Hire a Marketer’!

A 3 word article is not much of a post and there’s more to it than that, but you do have to draw on the trade of a marketer. As with anything it is often not what you are offering but how you sell it.

It is far easier to dismiss an electronic request to take a survey than one face to face. What really helps when developing your survey invitation and call to action is to put yourself in the shoes of the respondent and ask yourself the following questions:

1. How would I like to be communicated with?

2. What type of invitation design would appeal to me?

3. What would give me confidence that this survey has come from a trusted source?

4. What may incentivise me to give up a few minutes of my time?


So, to the first question: How would I like to be communicated with?

As we know, people respond best to friendly, positive communication. In text you have to work much harder to convey tone.

This means that the best approach (for most surveys) is to get across extra enthusiasm and excitement in the way you communicate. It is also advisable to convey your appreciation to your respondents.

Think of it as basic psychology: a person who feels valued is much more likely to give your survey the time of day.

What type of invitation design would appeal to me?

I’ve seen many surveys promoted with plain text and basic URL web links. These tend not to be visually appealing and just look like the survey creator has not bothered to apply some care and attention to their project. And if they haven’t invested time in appearance then the chances are that they will not have produced a high quality and interesting survey to take.

Instead, think of your survey invitation as well-thought-out advertisement. Consider how sharp presentation, colours, branding, graphics and layout can help your survey stand out and invite engagement.

Some of the best survey invitations feature an enticing click-able graphic that takes the user through to take the survey.

What would give me confidence that this survey has come from a trusted source?

Let’s face it the Internet is awash with scams and fraudsters. The most successful online brands are all trusted in some way by their users. As a brand or organisation it is advisable to use official branding on your surveys wherever possible.

If this option is not available to you it is worth adding official logos to your invitation, whether that is an email or pop-up request.

What may incentivise me to give up a few minutes of my time?

An incentive of some kind can really help to attract respondents’ attention.

You’re unlikely to be able to afford, or justify, a reward for every person who takes your survey but you could offer a prize draw.

If you are thinking of running a prize draw or competition consider what may appeal to your target audience. if you’re running a survey via an iOS app then one or more iTunes vouchers may be perfect.

If you don’t have budget to pay for your incentive(s) consider what you may already have available to give away, for example your product, or what you may be able to source from a supplier or partner.

A prize draw or other financial incentive is not always necessary. In some cases your respondents may be motivated by other reasons to take part.

For instance you may consider sharing your results with respondents. This can be very motivating in a B2B context if you’re offering valuable insight into a particular sector.

So, what we’ve shown is that marketing skills can play an important role in developing a call to action for your survey. You may like to get some marketing support but if you’re keen to develop your call to action yourself, try tapping into sales techniques and human psychology.

Those successfully drawing on marketing skills can benefit from strong response rates and engaged respondents. The key is remembering that you have to sell your survey every step of the way!