Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is E-Mail Overload Hurting Response Rates to Online Surveys

For the past several years, we've had great success in reaching our audience with online surveys. Such surveys have been a great way to accomplish marketing research objectives including:
  • Testing concepts
  • Measuring customer satisfaction
  • Gauging public opinion
  • Improving and evaluating special events
  • Learning about the marketplace in general

But, alas, the world is always changing. This is especially true, I believe, in our high-tech, communication overloaded world.

Here's a recent example, which I think illustrates the situation. For the past six years, we have conducted a "reader survey" for one of our media clients. This year, the response rate was markedly lower.

2007 Survey
4,900 invitations sent via e-mail
3,000 e-mails successfully delivered (60% distribution success)
659 e-mail invitations opened (22% open rate)
363 completed surveys obtained (12% effective conversion rate)

2009 Survey
6,742 invitations sent via e-mail
3,200 e-mails successfully delivered (50% distribution success)
484 e-mail invitations opened (15% open rate)
260 completed surveys obtained (8% effective conversion rate)

Despite having a larger list, we were negatively impacted by a lower open rate and a lower conversion rate. Granted, we still had a good overall result, eclipsing industry norms. According to the information that I have studied, a 5% conversion rate is typical. However, my gut says that those 3200 invitees who received our email invitation had to wade through extremely cluttered inboxes to evaluate our message.

Tell me, marketing geniuses, what do you think? Do you receive too many online survey requests? If you send email invitations to online surveys, have you seen a drop in your open rates or conversion rates?

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