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Top 5 Fastest Ways to Get Survey Respondents


You need survey respondents and you need them fast. But is it even possible to collect reliable data within a tight timeframe? You’ll be happy to hear that it most definitely is, and we’re about to show you how. In this article, we'll explore the quickest ways to secure survey responses when you're pressed for time.


  1. Leverage Existing Networks
  2. Incentivize Participation
  3. Utilize Online Survey Panels
  4. Optimize Survey Design
  5. Use Social Media Strategically

1. Leverage Your Existing Networks

When you’re in a time crunch, it’s best to tap into your existing networks to gather survey responses as opposed to charting new territory. Utilize email lists and professional networks to reach out to individuals who are already familiar with you or your cause. Depending on your target audience, you could even contact family and friends and ask them to participate in your study. This targeted approach will yield faster responses than reaching out to a completely new audience would.

Example of Email Outreach:

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]

This example email not only provides information on the survey’s content, but also incentivizes participation and appeals to goodwill. These strategies are aimed at getting people interested in taking your survey – the greater the interest, the higher your response rate.

2. Incentivize Participation

One powerful way to motivate people to participate in your survey (and to do so promptly) is by offering incentives. It could be a discount, gift card, or entry into a prize draw – incentives provide a tangible benefit to your prospective respondents that can significantly increase response rates in a short amount of time. If you had to choose between taking a 5-minute survey that gifts you with a $5 grocery gift card and a 5-minute survey that doesn’t offer any incentive at all, which would you participate in? Take your answer as a sign to incentivize your survey and watch your response rate skyrocket.

 Examples of effective incentives include:

  • Discounts – Offer a percentage or fixed discount on products or services that are relevant to your target audience.
  • Gift cards – Provide gift cards from popular retailers, allowing participants to choose a reward that suits their preferences.
  • Prize draws – Enter respondents into a prize draw for a chance to win a desirable item or experience.
  • Free samples – Give participants free samples of your products, giving them a tangible and immediate benefit as a reward for taking part in your survey.
  • Charitable Donations – Pledge a donation to a chosen charity on behalf of each participant, aligning the survey with a social cause.

Pro Tip: It’s often better to offer one very desirable incentive than ten less-desirable ones. Put effort into getting a single, worthwhile incentive to offer to your prospective respondents, and be sure to mention it in your survey headline.

3. Utilize Online Survey Panels

If you’re pressed for time and have the money to spare, you might want to look into buying survey responses. Online survey panels consist of pre-screened individuals who have expressed interest in participating in paid surveys. Many of these panels allow you to target specific demographics, which ensures a rapid and diverse response to your survey. Note that there are a couple of things to keep in mind before buying survey responses, such as if your survey is feasible for online survey panels or not.

Did you know? If you’re running a no-budget survey, there are ways to get your respondents in a short amount of time. Choose a reputable free survey exchange platform (like SurveySwap!) and post your survey there to collect responses. If your target audience and survey topic is feasible, and you get your timing right, you’ll be able to get respondents fast just as well. You can read more on this in our article 5 Easy Ways to find Survey Respondents for Free”.

4. Optimize Survey Design

You might not think that your survey’s design impacts your response rate, but trust us, it does. Remember, it’s one thing to get respondents to start taking your survey and an entirely different ball game to get them to complete it. To ensure your participants answer your entire survey, it’s important to keep it streamlined so that it’s quick and easy to take. Follow these guidelines:

  • Write a compelling, eye-catching survey headline, making mention of any incentives you offer.
  • Keep your survey short and be sure to let your participants know about it in your headline or survey description.
  • Minimize open-ended questions as far as possible by focusing on closed-ended, multiple-choice questions. 
  • If your survey is online, limit the number of tasks you ask your respondents to perform. For example, unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t ask them to leave the page to watch three videos before they continue taking your survey. 
  • Ensure your survey is mobile-friendly, as most people prefer to respond using their smartphones.
  • Leave informed consent and other academic information until the survey’s second page.
  • Add a completion status bar so that respondents can track their progress.
  • Make use of relevant visuals to keep participants engaged. 

5. Use Social Media Strategically

Social media platforms are ideal for reaching a large audience in a short amount of time. Craft short and sweet, attention-grabbing posts that clearly convey the purpose of your survey, include a call to action that links to your survey, and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach. You could incentivize the sharing of your post. For instance, let your followers know they get one entry into a prize draw every time they share your short survey on their social media.

An example post:

Ever wonder how your social media habits influence your grades?🧐 Wonder no more, because we’re looking into the effect that social media use has on the academic success of students around the world. Take this 5-minute survey 🔗[add survey link]  and share it wide – you might win a free laptop bag worth $150 along the way!

1 share = 1 entry for the prize draw 💼

#shareandwin #socialmediastudy #luckydraw

Did you know? Depending on the social media platform you choose to share your survey on, you might be limited in the number of characters your post can have. If this is the case, keep your post extra short and only include the most relevant info. For example, write “Win a $150 laptop bag in this short 5-minute survey!” in the post and explain the particulars in your survey’s description.

Closing thoughts

With these proven methods, you can efficiently collect the data you need within tight timeframes. By leveraging existing networks, providing incentives, and optimizing your survey set-up and distribution, you can navigate time constraints to get survey participants fast.


  • Utilize email lists, professional networks, and social media platforms to tap into your current audience
  • Offer enticing incentives, such as discounts, gift cards, or entry into a prize draw, to motivate quick responses
  • Explore online survey panels like SurveySwap or (other panel) for targeted and rapid responses
  • Streamline your survey with closed-ended, mobile-friendly questions for quick and easy completion
  • Craft attention-grabbing social media posts about your survey that includes a clear call to action and relevant hashtags for maximum visibility


1. What are online survey panels?

Online survey panels consist of pre-screened individuals who are willing to participate in surveys. Because they incentivize survey participation by offering credits or financial gain, online survey panels can often get your survey responses in a shorter amount of time.

2. How do I choose the right incentives for my survey?

Consider your target audience and offer incentives that align with their preferences, such as discounts, gift cards, or exclusive access. For example, dog owners can be encouraged to take free surveys through free dog food vouchers or dog-wash discounts.

3. Should I make my online survey mobile-friendly?

Without a doubt. Many respondents prefer completing surveys on their smartphones, so optimizing your survey for mobile ensures broader participation.

4. How can I effectively use social media to boost survey participation?

Craft attention-grabbing posts, include a call to action, and utilize relevant hashtags to increase your survey's visibility on social media platforms. If possible, incentivize the sharing of your survey, so that your followers are encouraged to spread your post and widen its reach.

5. When is the best time to do email outreach for survey responses?

The best time to do email outreach for survey participation is during the mid-week, specifically on Tuesday to Thursday mornings, as studies suggest that these times yield higher open and response rates.

P.S. We’re in the business of helping students and researchers get their survey respondents fast. Sign up to SurveySwap to make data collection a walk in the park.

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