Respondent Engagement

Respondent Engagement: 6 Simple Ways to Get the Results You Need

The success of your research depends on a lot of factors - and there’s no denying that the level of respondent engagement is one of the most important.

Basically, your market research is only as strong as your weakest link. That means that not only do you need a recruitment strategy that enables you to reach out to the best respondents, but you also need to make sure that the participants you do recruit remain engaged and excited throughout the duration of your project in order to get the results you need.

And luckily, that’s where we come in! So, from building a rapport and keeping things interesting to asking for feedback, read on to discover our six top tips for excellent engagement to ensure your research gets you the results you need, every time…

6 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.

Where possible, you should 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


2. Build a rapport

If your research project is going to deliver the results you need, it’s essential that you build a strong rapport with your participants.

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 the duration of the study, your participants will feel that they are an appreciated and valued asset to your research project, which will encourage them to respond to the best of their ability.

Plus, when it comes to digital methodologies, regular communication also means you'll be able to spot any participants who are disengaged and take the necessary action to re-engage them - and 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 people. 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.”

- Emma, Director of Sales


3. Embrace technology

In today’s world, as people get busier, respondent fatigue is a growing problem - and this 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.

With an estimated 5.3 billion internet users, it’s no wonder that embracing technology is essential to research success. 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 they might prefer snapping a few photos as they shop rather than taking part in a telephone interview.

What’s more, these digital methods can be used anytime, anywhere, empowering your participants to get involved with market research on the go at a time that suits them. By making it so easy to take part, your participants will 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, Director of Operations


4. Keep it interesting

If you’re conducting mobile-based research such as an accompanied shop, an online market research community, or an 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 - which is why it’s so 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 - so it’s definitely worth taking the time to perfect your task selection.

Some potential ideas to mix things up and keep it interesting include blogging, video diaries, discussion forums, picture books, live chats, brand mapping, concept evaluation, screencasts and polling, among others. For more task 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!”

- Belle, 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, but it’s also important 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.

Basically, 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, Senior Project Manager


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 all, you know what they say - if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

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 current and future respondents are happy and engaged. What’s more, respondent feedback also allows you to learn from your mistakes and make any necessary improvements to make sure you get the most out of your future projects, too.

Get the most from your research with Angelfish

To sum up, the quality of your respondent engagement is really important when it comes to the overall success of your qualitative market research - and by getting to know your respondents and putting yourself in their shoes, you can make sure you get the most out of your project.

Communicate regularly, build a rapport, and make things as easy as possible for your respondents to take part - and you can’t go far wrong! If you’d like to find out more about market research recruitment and how to get the best possible results from your fieldwork, you’re in luck.

Check out our helpful guide for advice on everything from briefing your agency to recruitment techniques and top validation tips.

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