Get people interested in taking your survey

Get People Hooked on Your Survey: A Guide to Boosting Survey Participation


It’s the question students and researchers have been asking for decades: How do you get people interested in taking your survey? Well, we’re here to answer just that. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of setting up and distributing your survey in such a way that it gets people standing in line to take it.

Part 1: Survey Set-Up

1. Crafting Your Survey Title

The first step to getting people interested in your survey is to write a gripping survey title. Make it concise, intriguing, and relevant to your audience. Avoid generic titles and highly-academic jargon, and be specific about the survey's purpose. Can you appeal to goodwill and ask prospective participants to take part in favor of the greater good? Go for it! Could your survey be beneficial to those who answer it? Mention it! Take the following examples:

Generic Title: "Student Stress Survey"

Overly Academic Title: “An Investigation into the Multifaceted Dimensions of Psychosocial Stressors among Undergraduate Scholars within Tertiary Educational Environments” 

Improved Title: "Help a student help students: Exploring Stress in College Students"

The improved title is more successful because:

  • it captures the audience’s attention,
  • the purpose of the survey is clear,
  • it appeals to goodwill,
  • it’s concise and to-the-point.

If you happen to find yourself in a pickle with a less-than-riveting survey topic and no incentives to give, keep it lighthearted. Having “Help a struggling student out: Earn my eternal gratitude by answering this 5-minute survey about office supplies” as a survey title is bound to capture interest just as well.

2. Writing a Compelling Survey Description

Your survey description is a crucial element that can either skyrocket or plummet your response rate. Firstly, it’s important to let your participants know what the survey is about and how long it’ll take to complete. However, the description isn’t there merely to provide prospective respondents with more info about your survey; it also brings the opportunity for you to convince them to participate. Clearly communicate the value of the survey and explain how their input will make a difference. Use language that resonates with your audience and sparks curiosity – you can even pop in some incentives to let them know what’s in it for them. For instance:

Generic Description: "Please take a few minutes to complete our survey about healthy food."

Overly Academic Description: “Assessing Nutritional Perspectives: A Study on Varied Demographics' Consumption Patterns of Health Foods”

Improved Description: "Shape the future of healthy eating: Take our 3-minute survey and eat for free tonight"

The improved description is more successful because it:

  • tells the audience about the survey’s content
  • discloses the survey’s duration
  • contains an incentive to participate
  • appeals to goodwill
  • is engaging and fosters curiosity

Again, if your survey topic in itself is either very niche or not particularly gripping, rely on humor to get people to take part. “Take this slightly yawn-inducing, 5-minute survey to earn my eternal gratitude, along with a bonus warm and fuzzy feeling for helping a struggling student to graduate.” Get creative with it – descriptions like these are unusual and eye-catching, so they’re likely to increase your survey response rate too!

Pro-tip: Leave the fine print and details for later – there’s no need to bore your prospective respondents with informed consent (just yet). It’s not just about getting participants to start your survey; you also want them to complete it. Place technicalities like informed consent on the second page of your survey instead of the first (where the description would be) to drastically improve your response rate.

Checklist: Survey Set-Up

  • Write a gripping, descriptive title that appeals to goodwill
  • Include the survey topic and duration in the description
  • Explain your survey’s relevance and highlight its importance
  • Incentivize survey participation in the description
  • Avoid academic jargon
  • Leave informed consent for the second page

Part 2: Survey Sharing

1. Leverage Email Outreach

Send personalized emails containing your survey to your network, ideally during mid-mornings from Tuesday to Thursdays. By this time, people have typically settled into their workday but haven't yet hit the midday slump. Clearly communicate the benefits that participation holds and emphasize any incentives. Use concise language and compelling visuals to encourage your email recipients to act on your request. Consider the following examples:

EXAMPLE 1 – Generic Email

Email Subject: Survey About Bees

Email Body: 

Dear [Recipient]

Please answer my survey about bees. This is the link: [add survey link]

Kind regards,

[add your name]

EXAMPLE 2 – Improved Email

Email Subject: This Survey Saves Bees (and has a sweet surprise for you too)

Email Body:

Dear [Recipient]

Help us shape the future and sustainability of the honey-making industry by taking our quick survey. Your insights are invaluable, and as a token of our gratitude, you'll be eligible to win a year's supply of ethically- and sustainably-sourced honey. 🐝

It’s 100% anonymous and will only take 10-minutes. Simply click this link to get started: [add survey link]

I really appreciate your help!

P.S. If you have any questions about this survey or my study, please feel free to reach out!

Warm regards,

[add your name]

[add your contact details]

The improved email is more successful because it:

  • tells the audience about the survey’s content
  • discloses the survey’s duration
  • contains an incentive to participate
  • appeals to goodwill
  • provides the recipient with contact details
  • is structured well and engages the recipient

If you don’t get a response from someone, it’s completely acceptable to follow-up as long as you are polite and considerate. Emphasize the importance of their participation and express your gratitude for their time. For example:

Email Subject: This Survey Saves Bees (and has a sweet surprise for you too)

Email Body:

Dear [Recipient],

I’m just following up to see if you’ve had time to consider taking my survey. As I’ve mentioned, your insights are invaluable. Plus, you could win a year's supply of sustainably-sourced honey! 🐝

Survey Link: [add survey link]

Thanks again for your time!

Warm regards,

[add your name]

[add your contact details]

2. Utilize Social Media Platforms

Harness the power of social media to reach a wider audience. Craft engaging posts that not only introduce the survey, but also explain its significance. Include visuals (e.g. infographics or short videos) to make the content more shareable. If people see your post being shared by a number of people, they’ll be more interested in taking part. Who knows? They might even find your study so intriguing that they decide to share it to their personal network too. More shares = higher response rate.

Example post:

Is the documentary dead?🧐 With podcasts and bite-sized informative video clips taking platforms by storm, we’re investigating whether documentaries still have a place in this world. Make your opinion heard by taking this 3-minute survey :🔗[add survey link].

If needed or at all possible, you can go one step further and encourage survey participation through incentives. For example, you could add the following to the post above:

Of course, we’ll make these 3 minutes worth your while: Answer the survey and stand a chance to win a $100 cinema voucher🔥. Share to spread the word!

3. Engage in Community Forums and Blogs

Participate in relevant online forums, like Reddit or Facebook, to create awareness about your survey. Tailor your message to resonate with the specific interests of the community. Remember to always be respectful of the community guidelines and add value to the discussions before sharing your survey. For instance, you might post the following on a relevant Facebook Group:

"🌐 Join the conversation! I’m conducting a study on social media etiquette and would love to hear your thoughts. Take this 2-minute survey to help me graduate! 🔗[add survey link] #CommunityEngagement #SocialMediaEtiquette"

You could even take it a step further and post your survey in online forums and groups dedicated to survey sharing. Some examples of currently-active groups are:

Be sure to let the community know you’re open to taking their surveys in exchange for them taking yours!

Checklist: Survey Sharing

  • Send personalized emails to introduce the survey to your network
  • Ensure emails clearly highlight the survey’s topic and value
  • Use concise language and correct grammar when writing emails
  • Send a polite follow-up email if necessary
  • Create engaging social media posts about the survey
  • Include engaging visuals in your post
  • Encourage followers to take the survey and share your post
  • Approach relevant influencers or organizations to endorse your study
  • Engage in online forums and social media groups to promote your survey

Closing thoughts

By combining an enticing survey set-up with strategic distribution efforts, you can get people interested in taking your survey, leading to a higher response rate. Remember to adapt these tips to suit your specific audience and objectives to maximize your efforts.

Need to set up your survey? Well, you’re in luck! Head on over to our nifty, free survey builder to create a user-friendly survey. Do you already have a survey and are urgently looking to get your response rate up? Don’t sweat it: we offer real responses from real people, and yes, it’s 100% free. Sign up now.


1. How can I write a good survey title?

Make your survey’s title concise, intriguing, and relevant to your audience. Avoid generic titles and highly-academic jargon, and be specific about the survey's purpose. Where possible, make an appeal to goodwill and highlight any incentives for participation.

2. What should my survey description include?

Your survey description should:

  • tell the audience about the survey’s content,
  • disclose the survey’s duration,
  • contain an incentive to participate,
  • appeals to goodwill,
  • be engaging and encourage participation.

3. Can I share my survey via email?

Absolutely! Just be sure to craft concise, well-written, and personalized emails that clearly explain the survey's importance. Also remember to make mention of any incentives that are offered.

4. What incentives can I offer to survey respondents?

Incentives can include discounts, exclusive access to discounts or content, access to early product releases, or a chance to win prizes. Choose incentives that align with your survey audience's interests. Remember to make mention of any rewards in your survey description and outreach media.

5. How do I approach influencers to promote my survey?

When approaching influencers, be clear about your survey's purpose and let them know how it aligns with their own interests or the interests of their followers. Offer a mutually beneficial collaboration and emphasize the value their endorsement brings.

6. Can I share my survey on social media?

Definitely! Social media is a powerful platform for survey distribution. Craft engaging posts with relevant visuals and shareable content. Be sure to clearly communicate your survey's purpose, relevance, and any incentives at hand. Lastly, encourage your audience to share the survey to widen your reach across the social platform.

P.S. We’re so passionate about research that we founded a whole company based on mutual survey exchanges. If you’d like to benefit from this and increase your survey engagement, sign up now.

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