Response rates vary widely depending on a number of factors. For online surveys in which there is no prior relationship with recipients, response rates can be as high as 20% to 30%.
Factors that can affect the response rate include:
The target population — Are you are trying to obtain responses from a hard-to-reach population (e.g., males age 18 to 24 who play video games)?
Your relationship with the survey respondents—Are the potential respondents customers or employees?
The survey invitation—Can you personalize the email invitation to include the potential respondents’ names? How much can you divulge about the nature of the research?
The survey length—Will your survey take 5 minutes of respondents’ time or 15 minutes?
The complexity of the survey questions—Will you be asking respondents to simply answer straight-forward questions or will you ask them to visit a Web site and then provide their impressions?
The survey topic—Will your potential respondents have a vested interest in the topic (e.g., improving employee benefits)?
Incentives—Will you motivate potential respondents to take your survey with some form of financial compensation, material goods, or information?
Reminder emails—Will you be able to send a reminder to respondents who haven’t completed the survey?
If you don’t have access to the target audience for your survey objectives, Zoomerang has a survey respondent service called Zoomerang Sample. A Zoomerang Sample representative can help you specify and access your target audience, compose your survey invitation, and administer the survey incentive.
You can find more information on response rate, and tips for improving yours, in the posts “How Many People Do I Survey?” and “12 Tips To Help Increase Your Survey Response Rates”