4 Ways to Make Survey Incentives More Affordable

  • author

    Hannah Prince

  • posted

    Oct 19, 2021

  • topic

    Academic Research, Digital Marketing, Market Research

4 Ways to Make Survey Incentives More Affordable

The idea of offering generous incentives to increase survey response rates and engagement seems like a no-brainer. But what if your budget doesn’t agree? Don’t worry: Affordable survey incentives don’t have to mean logo pens and 10% off coupons.

Depending on your goals, there are a number of ways to make it more affordable to use rewards for survey respondents and participants in other research and marketing programs. Here are four suggestions for implementing affordable survey incentives.

1. Deliver Rewards Digitally

Don’t waste any portion of your incentives budget on shipping. Even though you can get very inexpensive swag options to reward respondents, you won’t save as much as you think, once you consider the mailing costs, especially if you have international recipients. Beyond the financial costs, you also have to factor in the time and effort required to pack and ship physical items. Digital delivery is free, plus monetary rewards such as gift cards are far more effective as an incentive.

2. Put a Cap on the Number of Rewards Available

Limiting your rewards to the first 50 or 100 (or however many) respondents gives you total control of the budget in advance. By planning the number of rewards that will be distributed, you’ll know in advance exactly how much you’ll be spending. This kind of rewards structure has the added benefit of creating urgency for participants, since many people will complete the survey or other task right away in hopes of earning a reward. That means that not only will you get responses faster, you’ll also get more overall, since the invitation is less likely to be forgotten in email inboxes.

3. Choose Digital Rewards That Are Still Valuable in Small Denominations

Even just a $5 incentive can be enough to improve your response rates, but choose a reward that makes sense at that value. Getting $5 to use at Pottery Barn or Best Buy probably won’t be very compelling, since that’s not enough to purchase many of those brands’ products. But $5 is enough to buy the fanciest of coffees at Starbucks or several doughnuts Krispy Kreme. It will cover at least three song downloads on iTunes or a wide range of items at Target. As long as the type of reward is appropriate, the smaller value shouldn’t be a concern, making for more affordable survey incentives overall.

4. Use Points for Ongoing Programs With Regular Surveys

If your survey or marketing program requires the same respondents to engage in multiple actions, you can implement a points-to-rewards structure. This way, you can incentivize them for each survey without spending money on rewards every time. A points program is very flexible in regard to budget, since you can decide how many points to give for each task and what threshold participants must hit before they can redeem their reward.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Waste Money on Unclaimed Rewards

No matter how you decide to implement more affordable survey incentives, you want every dollar to go toward increasing your response rates and participation. Losing an average of 15% of your budget to unclaimed rewards can make a big difference. By using a platform that automatically issues 100% refunds on all unclaimed rewards, like BHN Rewards, you can be sure that your money is going toward improving your research or survey program.

Need more guidance on setting up your incentives program? Our cheat sheet explores the pros, cons, results, costs, and best use cases for the three most popular reward structures. Click below to download the one most relevant for you:

about the author
Hannah Prince

Hannah is a reformed journalist who has more than 15 years of experience and now focuses on content marketing for innovative tech companies.

Hannah is a reformed journalist who has more than 15 years of experience and now focuses on content marketing for innovative tech companies.