respondent engagement

Respondent engagement: Six simple ways to get the results you need

The success of your research depends on a lot of factors - and the level of respondent engagement is one of the most important.

Your market research is only as strong as your weakest link. So not only do you need a recruitment strategy that enables you to reach out to the best respondents, you also need to make sure that the ones you do recruit remain engaged and excited in order to get the results you need.  

From building a rapport and keeping things interesting to asking for feedback, read on to discover our six top tips for excellent engagement… 

Six top tips for maximum respondent engagement

1. Make sure they’re prepared 

If you want to ensure that your respondents are as engaged as possible, they need to be fully prepared and know exactly what to expect from the very beginning of your market research project. 

Make sure they are thoroughly briefed and that they understand your requirements, as well as what to expect; from the themes of the research to its overall aims, and why you’re doing it. 

You could prepare a task list to keep them focussed or a project timeline for them to follow, as well as an information sheet with all the important deadlines and contact details of your support team.  

Basically, the more info they have up front, the more comfortable they will feel about opening up and sharing - which means you can enjoy high-quality results! 

“It’s super important to make sure your respondents know exactly what to expect during the research study - by being completely prepared, they will be calmer, more relaxed, and much more likely to share those in-depth insights!” 

- Lisa, Director & Co-Founder 

respondent engagement

2. Build a rapport 

Your contact with your respondents shouldn’t stop once you’ve recruited them. In fact, to get the most out of your participants, it’s essential that you keep in regular contact and build a relationship with them.  

By keeping up the contact throughout your studyyour participants will feel that they are an appreciated and valued asset to the research project, which wilencourage them to respond to the best of their ability. 

When it comes to digital methodologies, regular communication also means you'll be able to spot any participants who are disengaged and take action to re-engage them. By staying in control, you can ensure that deadlines are being met and make sure that your research goes as smoothly as possible. 

“At Angelfish, we’re all about the relationship. In fact, the secret to our success is really getting to know our clients and respondents and building up a strong relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.” -

- EmmaHead of Client Services 

3. Embrace technology

In today’s world, as people get busier, respondent fatigue is a growing problem - and it can have a knock-on effect when it comes to the quality of your research. By using different kinds of technology, however, you can keep your market research interesting and maximise respondent engagement 

For example, some respondents may find it’s much more fun to record a short video explaining what you like about a product rather than filling in a survey, or how about snapping a few photos as you shop rather than taking part in a telephone interview.  

What’s more, these digital methods can be used anytime, anywhere, quickly and easily, empowering participants to get involved with market research on the go at a time that suits them. As a result, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged with your research and share in-depth insights.  

We’re continuing to see a rise in online and digital methods in qualitative market research. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it allows our respondents to share their thoughts in a way that’s convenient for them - what’s not to love?!”

- Kelly, Head of Consumer Research 

respondent engagement

4. Keep it interesting

If you’re conducting mobile-based research such as an accompanied shop, online market research  community, or online diary, selecting the right tasks is another really important step to achieving excellent respondent engagement.  

The tasks you choose will set the tone in terms of engagement and creativity. It’s therefore important to offer a good range of fun and intriguing activities to keep your respondents interested 

The more engaged they are, the better the results will be - it’s definitely worth taking the time to perfect your task selection.  

Potential task ideas include blogging, video diaries, discussion forumspicture bookslive chats, brand mapping, concept evaluation, screencasts and polling, among others. For more ideas, have a look at this blog. 

“If your respondents aren’t enjoying the research, you can’t expect them to take part to the best of their abilities. Step into their shoes, get creative, and have fun - you’ll definitely see the benefits!”

- Jade, Project Manager  

5. Select the right software 

If you’re using an online community or mobile ethnography to conduct your research, it’s really important to make sure you choose the right software 

Basically, if your software isn’t user-friendly, you’re not going to get the most out of your research! 

Each project will have its own particular needs, however; be sure to take your time and choose the software solution that’s right for you, too 

Some things to think about include whether it can be used on mobile, whether it’s device agnostic, if it has the right security measures in place, and most importantly, whether it’s easy to use.  

If your software is too complicated or if you don’t provide tech support details and answer your respondents’ questions, your engagement levels will plummet - and the quality of your responses will take a hit too. 

“Your software choice can have a huge impact on the quality of your results, so it’s vital that you choose the right one. If you need advice, we’re more than happy to help!”

- Molly, Project Manager 

respondent engagement

6. Ask for feedback

Finally, another way to make sure your research is hitting the spot is by asking your participants for respondent feedback 

After the research is complete, aim to find out: 

  • things about the research that they enjoyed 
  • what they didn’t enjoy 
  • parts of the research they thought were easy 
  • if they found anything difficult 
  • what they think could be done to improve any similar research projects in the future 

By asking for respondent feedback, you can make sure your respondents are happy and engagedWhat’s more, however, you can learn from your mistakes and make any necessary improvements to make sure you get the most out of your future projects. 

respondent engagement

In conclusion...  

The quality of your respondent engagement is really important when it comes to the overall success of your qualitative market research.  

By getting to know your respondents and putting yourself in their shoes, you can make sure you get the most out of your research. Communicate regularly, build a rapport, make things as easy as possible for them to take part - and you can’t go far wrong!  

Want to find out more about market research recruitment and how to get the best possible results from your fieldwork? Check out our helpful guide. 

Qualitative market research

Enjoyed this article? Here are some other resources you might like:

Market research recruitment – Angelfish Marketing 
Communication tips for better engagement in online communities  
How tech can help reduce respondent fatigue 
Why you should use mobile ethno as an extension to your research 
Five task ideas to use for your next market research online community... 
7 questions you need to ask before choosing MROC software 
Customers today want to be heard: here’s why you need to listen