Get Rid of LOW RESPONSE RATE Once and For All!!

One of the MOST rampant problems faced by a panel company is their DECLINING RESPONSE RATE. The HONEYMOON PERIOD of a good response rate normally lasts for not more than 2-3 months for a freshly recruited panel base. Contrary to popular beliefs – panel recruitment is a VERY COSTLY exercise; therefore it is a virtual NIGHTMARE if recruited respondents STOP participating in your surveys. The article illustrates 5 sure shot methods to INCREASE your panel response rates.


We always open mails from someone we know – with our mailbox getting bombarded with spam on a daily basis, we have a natural tendency of ignoring mails from someone we don’t know.

Don’t create a FAKE LOOKING MAIL ID – if I receive mail from an Indian panel company from the ID SASHA@EXAMPLE.COM – I know for sure the person is not real, therefore will ignore survey participation requests.

Create a human face to the email id you send your survey requests from – it is very commercial to just send bulk survey participation requests – ideally you should send “congratulatory mails” for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Special occasions.

This will help create a BOND with the respondents and subsequently would result in your survey request mails to be opened MORE.

In one of the panel companies I was working for there were around 100 respondents who could not participate as there was some problem with the survey link. We actually took the pain of calling all 100 of them and apologizing for the same. Trust me I am damn sure those 100 respondents will NEVER EVER ignore our survey request mails – WE CONNECTED WITH THEM!!!


The NEXT thing after the sender email ID which determines whether your mail would be opened or not is your SUBJECT LINE!!

Until & unless the respondents have those fancy option of having a mail preview – the subject line is all that is going to create pull effect for your survey request.


Ideally your subject line should have the details about the incentive provided but don’t overdo it that it looks fake. The subject line should not be PREACHY!! – And please DO NOT use the tips & tricks which marketers suggest – people are far more intelligent to gauze your intentions. So it is better to be transparent in your dealings.


The biggest mistake which I have seen many panel companies do is that they put in TOO MUCH CONTENT!!

Your survey participation request should have 4 major components:-

1- What is this survey about?

2- How you can participate in this survey?

3- What are the gift/incentive option & how they can be redeemed?

4- Helpdesk contact details in case of any query.

Your mail content should be EASY ON EYES!! Don’t use too much DARK colors – a combination of BLUE & WHITE is fair enough.


Many a times due to timelines pressure Project Managers tend to send multiple survey participation requests. Any sensible person would be REALLY ANNOYED by the bombardment of such mails and vey soon they would stop responding.

Follow these simple rules:

1- In case of Gen pop – 3-4 mails per week are sufficient.

2- In case of Specialist – 1-2 mail per week only in dire situations you can send another mail.

3- Not more than 2-3 reminders mails should be send whether gen pop or specialist audience.


If it is possible to share a case study as to “HOW THEIR OPINION HAS HELPED A BRAND” it will create immense satisfaction level for the respondents who have participated.

Always remember not everyone is driven primarily due to monetary incentive. Also try to create some networking events offline as well as online so that people can connect and identify with your brand.

Communities have a HUGE PULL EFFECT which will automatically transcend your response rates.

Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal


  1. I totally agree with you. The major problem which I feel is the length of interview which force a panelist to avoid future surveys or drop it in between. I think the panel companies should start asking respondent while recruit that for how long they can spend time on one survey and use this matrix to segregate them.

    The second thing which I feel and experienced in the answer list or you can say the number answers in single question. I have seen surveys that have multiple questions with approx. 30 to 50 answers from which respondent is required to select. This actually irritates the respondent. I think such questions should be split into smaller questions or reduce the number of answers.

    I am sure if you take care these issue, you will surely be able increase the response rate.