10 Affordable Survey Incentives that Boost Response Rates Virtual Incentives Blog

10 Affordable Survey Incentives Ideas that Boost Response Rates

Running out of survey incentive ideas? As a market researcher, you know that investing in incentives is not an option, but a necessity. In today’s busy digital world, survey respondents are not motivated by empty promises or vague benefits.
In short, “we’ll use your feedback to improve our service” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Without survey incentives, you’re going to miss out on incredibly valuable data — and that can cost you in the long run.
But how do you encourage participation without busting your budget?  Here are 10 surprisingly affordable survey incentive ideas that can help you improve your response rate in any market research scenario.

10 Smart and Affordable Survey Incentive Ideas


1. Try Frequent, but Small Instant Win Games

You can’t win if you don’t plan. Every week, SurveyMonkey awards a $100 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner across all of their surveys using this incentive. Even though the reward is relatively low across the large amount of potential respondents, the frequency of the survey increases the likelihood of winning and, in some cases, makes taking their surveys a regular habit.

2. Implement One Big Sweepstakes

Again, instead of rewarding everyone who responds, a sweepstakes model allows you to significantly decrease your budget while still offering valuable rewards. Invite your audience to enter a sweepstakes that is limited to your respondents for a chance to win a valuable Amazon gift card or an exciting digital reward that you provide.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Coupon Codes

Can’t afford to pay everyone in gift cards? No problem. If a customer is spending money on your product, a customized coupon is just as valuable. Reward all respondents with a printable coupon designed by you.

4. Keep Survey Incentive Rewards Top of Mind

Sometimes, one quick change can make a difference. Try adding a page to your survey that describes the rewards before they even get started. Similarly, add another page at the end of your survey that thanks the respondent and explains how they can claim their reward. If they’re in it for the money or gift, they want to feel sure that they’re getting it.

5. Go Old School with Physical Rewards

In today’s digital world, physical incentives are rare. If you can find a product or gift card that is cheap and easy to ship, it will help create a longer-lasting memory with the company. Of course, this route creates a difficult distribution process, which can sometimes lead to increased prices. Be careful to partner with a company that has your interest and your budget in mind.

6. Offer Something Small, but Significant

Studies have shown that even inexpensive rewards create big boosts. Affordable electronic content is fast, instant, and never has distribution problems. For example, a healthcare firm recently implemented a survey incentive in which participants were given a $1.99 Redbox movie rental coupon code from txtMovies. Using this incentive they saw a 77% increase in the click rate and a 326% increase in response rate! All for next to nothing and with no shipping fees.

7. Show Them the Money (but not too much)

Just like the small digital rewards, small monetary amounts have been shown to work almost as well as larger ones. According to Health Services Research, even though a $5 incentive resulted in a higher response rate than a $2 incentive, the response rates in the $2 condition actually approached the level of the $5 incentive with far lower costs. The results suggest that if a survey budget is limited and a timeline is not critical, a $2 incentive provides an affordable means of increasing participation. So don’t be too quick to say “it’s not enough.”

8. Use Broad Distribution

A good way to make sure your survey is successful is to use an email or SMS-based way for the respondent to receive the gift. This way, people without smartphones can still access the gift or activation code of a gift. This also keeps people from needing to give out personal information such as their address.

9. Underpromise, Overdeliver

Paying the respondent ahead of time gets a higher rate of respondents than a promised incentive. A survey for the US Department of Veterans Affairs found that “the promise of a $5.00 cash incentive increased response rates by 30% and actually providing the $5.00 upfront increased response rates by 50%.”

10. Partner with a Company that Controls Costs and Customizes Rewards

Want some more creative ways to offer more for less? We’re here to help make your survey incentive ideas successful. Virtual Incentives provides solutions that help businesses connect with their survey participants in ways never before possible.
Thanks to our industry-leading, customizable Virtual Visa® Reward card, corporate buyers can meet increasing demand for fast, virtual incentives that offer built-in control. Our prepaid platform is powered by a simple, customizable virtual solution that closes the gap between action/achievement and rewards, rebates, eGift Cards, physical Gift Cards and offers — all without busting your budget.
Try these 10 creative survey incentive ideas and let us know if you see a boost in your response rate. Need more help? We’re always here to give you new ideas or talk you through your next move. Contact us today.