Survey Mailing Services

DataForce Survey Mailing Services Information, Tips, and How-tos

How to Design a Survey Form (Easy 7 Step Process)

Here’s the truth, answering surveys are not on the list of anyone’s most favorite thing to do- and without a good survey design your survey form might just end up in someone’s trash bin. The good news is, survey design is not rocket science, and it takes only a handful of simple steps and principles for you to make those dull couple of minutes of your respondents time a little bearable. So, if you’re ready to create a survey form that will actually be filled out by your desired respondents- check out this non-complicated 7-step process:

  • Step 1- Determine the research goals and list of objectives.
  • Step 2- Think about how you can keep your respondents honest and accurate.
  • Step 3- Keep in mind important Survey Principles before creating your questions.
  • Step 4- Structure questions that will produce all of the information you need.
  • Step 5- Create your Survey Form introduction.
  • Step 6- Select Survey Respondents sample size.
  • Step 7- Choose the best method to collect information.


Step 1 – Determine the research goals and list of objectives.

Once the survey questions are finished, review questions to ensure the data will answer your research goals and list of objectives. Eliminate questions that do not contribute to the end-goal and have a colleague review to validate your thoughts and ensure questions are not confusing.  


Step 2 – Think about how you can keep your respondents honest and accurate.

  • a. If needed, give respondents the option of being anonymous. Some respondents might be hesitant in providing their most honest answer because of embarrassment, fear of judgment or reprimand.
  • b. Do not use too technical terms that might confuse your respondents. Choose the language that mirrors how the respondents truly think and talk regarding the topic.
  • c. Put easier questions first. Allow respondents time to become comfortable in answering the survey, in doing so, they will more likely answer the complex questions later.
  • d. Keep the survey short and simple. Consequently, this will ensure a higher response rate and limit survey fatigue. 


Step 3 – Keep in mind key Survey Principles before creating your questions.

  • a.  Make sure each question is focused and designed for specific feedback.
    • Don’t use double-barrel questions: “How do you feel about our products and services?”
    • Instead, separate them into two questions: “How do you feel about our product?” and “How do you feel about our services?” These will provide an equal focus on both subjects.
  • b.  Questions should be grouped or ordered according to the subject.
  • c. Questions should be consistent.
    • For example: If you start with 1=low and 5=high, stick with that format.
  • d. Questions should be precise. Use actual numbers. Avoid generic answer choices like “sometimes” and “rarely” in the survey form.
    • For example: “more than 3 times per week”
  • e. Questions should be balanced. The number of positive and negative options should be equal.
  • f. Questions should be complete. Include all possible answers, and make sure there is no overlap between answer options.
  • g. Questions should be bias-free. Construct the questions as objectively as possible.
    • Avoid leading questions: “Can you see why this product was voted best in customer service?”
    • Instead, ask how they would describe their satisfaction level: “Please rate your satisfaction level in using this product.


Step 4 – Structure questions that will answer all of the information you need.

  • Survey questions fall into two categories:
    • a. Structured or fixed response –  respondents choose from a provided list of answer options.
    • b. Non-structured or open-ended – respondents can fill in their own text or numeric answer.

Common Question Types:

  • a. Multiple Choice – These are questions with two or more answer options and is the most basic type of questions since respondents are limited to choices from the multiple answer options.  These are useful for collecting all kinds of demographic data.
  • b. Rating Scales – Rating scales ask respondents to rate how much they agree with a certain statement using a common scale (e.g. 1 to 5, where 1=low and 5=high). These are useful for gauging respondents opinions, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • c. Open-Ended Questions – These are questions with no provided answers options. Respondents answer by writing in their own text. These are great for eliciting responses about attitudes and opinions in a respondent’s own words or having them provide a numeric answer without a suggested range.

If you want to learn more about these question types check out our post on How to Write Great Survey Questions.


Step 5 – Create your survey form introduction.

  • a. Advise users of their privacy
  • b. Tell respondents how the data will be used
  • c. Don’t ask personal questions unless necessary
  • d. Give Clear instructions for completing the survey and how long it will take
  • e. If offered, clearly describe incentive to increase the response rate.


Step 6 – Select Survey Respondents Sample Size.

  • a. Target population and desired accuracy level will be the basis in choosing the sample size. Target Population is the total number of people you want to understand.
    • For example, you’re doing an employee satisfaction survey, and the company has 1000 employees; then 1000 is the population.
  • b. The Margin of Error – is how much error you can risk. Meaning if you have a margin of error of 5%, and the result of the survey show’s 90% of the employees are happy- 85%-95% is the actual number. Simply, 5% is added and deducted on both ends.
  • c. Confidence Level – reflects that the respondents you chose mattered in the results you got. 95% Confidence interval means that you would get the same result 95% of the time and is the most commonly used.

From the chart table, you can determine your target population and then select the margin of error.



Margin of Error

     Confidence Interval
10% 5% 1%       90% 95% 99%
100 50 80 99        74 80 88
500 81 218 476        176 218 286
1,000 88 278 906        215 278 400
10,000 96 370 4,900        264 370 623
100,000 96 383 8,763        270 383 660
1,000,000+ 97 384 9,513        271 384 664


Check out this link for The DataForce Sample Size Calculator


Step 7 – Choose the best method to collect information.

Below are the most common types of survey distribution. Each survey method has its pros and cons that are affected by the budget, convenience, quality, and other considerations.

  • a. Online Survey– Services like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, and many others have made online questionnaires very convenient to design and send. You can also use social media or your website to invite people to take surveys. An online survey is the most simple and cheapest survey to manage.
  • b. Face to Face or Telephone Interview – You have to create a script and train people for this kind of survey. This survey requires more effort and budget; however, you get in-depth answers that are most genuine.
  • c. Mail Survey– Despite being old school and having less control, many still opt to use mail survey because it offers visual quality, looks professional, easy to administer, and not particularly costly.

Take note that you don’t have to choose one. In fact, for best results, it is encouraged to use several modes for survey administration.

Finally, you now have an actionable step-by-step process on how to create your survey form, including guiding principles to structure your questionnaire.  You’re on your way to producing a survey form that will deliver the quality data you need to make that outstanding research. But, perhaps you want to learn more about how to budget for your survey.

Check out this link on Overcoming Survey Budgeting Challenges

For more information on survey design or any aspect of mail survey management, contact us today! We provide outstanding Quantitative Data Collection Services and Paper Scanning Services!

When to Do a Multimodal Survey?

Multimodal or mixed-mode surveys are research surveys that use two or more forms of communication to reach respondents (e.g, telephone and email). In today’s increasingly complex, interconnected world, we now have ways of communicating that didn’t exist even a few years ago. The list of channels seems almost endless nowadays, including regular and express mail, email, online, social media, mobile (text, instant message), scannable paper, telephone, kiosk, tablet, in-person, video, and more.   

So how do you know which channel or combination of channels is right for your survey project? The answer lies in the target audience you are trying to reach (as well as time and cost considerations). For example, older respondents are typically less trusting of online channels and can be reached more reliably by landline telephone and regular mail. Millennials may not even have a landline and would be more receptive to an email or a text message. Teens are generally receptive to mobile and social media. One constant to be mindful of, however, is that everyone has a physical address where they live – making mail a preferred channel in almost any multimodal research effort.

Not only do various target populations have preferred forms of communication, but there are also subsets within them that prefer something else entirely. Mobile phone call vs. text message among Generation X’ers is a prime example, in which someone’s preference is highly personal.

You should do a multimodal survey if you have a target population with varied respondents or hard-to-reach respondents.

Not only can a mixed methodology approach to data collection help you reach more respondents, but it can also help you maximize response rate. That’s because multiple channels give you more opportunities for follow ups, reminders, and options to complete the survey in a format that suits them.

As a leading provider of mail and multimodal surveys, we manage mixed methodology research every day, including planning, production, distribution, fulfillment and data collection. That said, our most popular service by far is Mail to Online. In this strategy, respondents are notified by regular mail and given instructions to complete the survey online. Respondents then have the option to print out or request a paper survey and complete a hard copy or complete the online survey.

Multimodal survey planning and execution requires a high level of expertise to run seamlessly. Your survey provider can help you manage all the details, including which channels to use, along with the projected cost and timeline.

For more information on multimodal surveys or any aspect of survey management, contact us today!

By |2019-03-20T10:54:13+00:00November 21st, 2018|Survey Mailing Services, Survey Research Services|0 Comments

This Mail Survey Spec Sheet Is Everything

Mail surveys are among the most effective tools in the research industry, besting online, email and phone survey methods in both response rate and data integrity. As with all survey research, however, survey success begins with careful planning, including brainstorming your goals, creating questions, choosing participants, determining your budget, and perhaps most tedious, choosing materials and pricing out costs with your vendors. But have no fear. We have you covered with these handy Survey Mail Spec Sheet and Timeline Templates that make your life easy and get you the honest, apples-to-apples quotes you need to keep your costs in check.

Vendors typically require a spec sheet in order to provide you with an accurate quote. The important thing here is to provide each vendor with the same spec sheet, so you can get an accurate read on their pricing.

Spec Sheet

Your spec sheet should document the list size, number of mailings, type and quantity of materials that will be needed, budget and requirements for each mailing. The good news is we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. This spreadsheet will help organize and calculate the materials across your mailings. Download the spec sheet.

Once your project specification sheet is completed, you’ll want to have your stakeholders, if applicable, review to make sure that everything has been captured. Now you can piece out the specification sheet and send to your different vendors for pricing and don’t forget to ask them for their timeline, which we’ll discuss next.


Timeline is driven by the requirements of your project. For example, mailing 500 pieces vs. 50,000 pieces could have a significant impact to your schedule. Alternatively, the complexity of your mailing can also have a significant impact to your timeline. Mailing 10,000 units that have 5 pieces being inserted with a 4 way match, could take just as long to prep 50,000 pieces with 1 component and no matching. A best practice is to provide each vendor with a detailed timeline in advance so they know what your expectations are. We have filled in some ‘standard’ timelines for the different tasks but you can easily update with your requirements. Just populate your tasks and the number of working days required for each task and the spreadsheet will update accordingly. Download the timeline template.

With careful planning, you can account for all the variables in your mail survey, leaving little room for miscommunication and most importantly, get the accurate quotes you need to move forward with confidence.

If you’d like more information on mail survey planning or any aspect of survey management, contact us today!

By |2019-03-20T10:55:24+00:00November 8th, 2018|Survey Mailing Services|0 Comments

3 Survey Incentives to Explode Your Response Rate

So, your compelling survey is ready. Your questions are set, the forms are designed, and your mailing list is finalized. Then suddenly, it hits you. What if you don’t get enough responses?

Enter “Survey Incentives.”

While mail surveys are proven to deliver the highest response rates in the industry[1]* (save for in-person surveys), the use of incentives has been shown to significantly increase response rates across the board – including those by mail, email, online, telephone, in-app, in-person and multi-modal. In fact, the vast majority of surveys today use them. But which ones work best?

You should consider several factors when choosing your incentive offer, including budget, target audience, and timeliness, as well as ease of fulfillment. That said, survey incentives can be grouped into categories that perform similarly.

Following are the 3 survey incentive types you can use with confidence because they are proven to work, helping mail surveyors reach target response rates of up to 40% or more+:

1: Money for Survey Incentives

Survey Incentives - Money

This should come as little surprise. Who doesn’t like money? Monetary incentives include cash, checks, PayPal credits, money orders, gift cards, coupons, and more. The question is… how much do you offer? Well, there are 2 ways to go about this.

  • a) Pre-incentive Also known as a token incentive, these are sent inside the survey whether the respondent completes it or not. Offering cash up front is an effective strategy for many. As little as a $1 bill inside the survey packet has been shown to significantly increase response, as many respondents feel compelled to give back once they have pocketed the money. According to Don Dillman, Regents Professor in the Department of Sociology at Washington State University and Deputy Director for Research and Development in the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC), “Previous studies have consistently shown that token incentives of a few dollars included with the request for survey participation increases the likelihood that subjects will respond.”[2]And this does not vary statistically by payment method (i.e. cash vs. check). The important consideration here is how each will impact your budget? While it may cost more to print & issue the checks, studies have shown that close to half of the respondents will never cash them! If budget is a concern, the size of your incentive may validate going this route to try and bring the cost down.
  • b) Promised offer This is an offer a respondent will receive after completing the survey. This method is also effective, but naturally, the monetary incentive must be higher since they will have to wait for it. According to Dillman, token incentives have historically yielded higher response rates than promised offers, but research is ongoing. Rewards Cards, in particular, have been shown to increase response rates dramatically, and have become the new standard in promised offers. They do, however, present unique concerns, such as cards expiring and determining who keeps the money from unused balances. DataForce research has shown that promised incentives valued at approximately $10-50 per respondent are most effective, with $20 and $25 denominations most common. Important considerations when choosing a monetary value for promised offers include the length of the survey, the target audience demographics, and your relationship with the participant. No relationship will require a larger incentive than people who know you or your brand. Another strategy with promised offers, if your budget can afford it, would be to combine this approach with the token incentive approach, to encourage even more responses!

To learn more about Reward Cards, read our post on The Truth Behind Gift Card Incentive Offers. 

2: Promotional Item for Survey Incentives

Product and service samples are also a big hit with respondents. In order for them to work, however, you must know your audience. Offer something that speaks to them that you know they will enjoy.  A sample directly related to the survey is ideal, but anything of value to your audience can be effective. For example, If your selected respondents by and large support environmental causes, you might offer them a sample of a new eco-friendly product or service. Your goal is to find the sample product or service that best speaks to your target and stays within budget.

3: Charitable Donations for Survey Incentives

Charitable donations appeal to all socioeconomic groups, as we all have local and global causes we care about. However, this category in particular, requires that you know your audience. The stronger the emotional connection to the cause, the better your response rate will be and the more likely respondents will see you in a favorable light. Charitable donations also qualify for tax deductions, so you may choose to offer a higher value incentive.

Perhaps just as important are the incentive types we left off this list, particularly drawings.

About Drawings

A drawing (or raffle/sweepstakes) incentive gives your respondents a random chance to win a valuable prize, as opposed to a contest based on merit. They simply complete the survey and are automatically entered to win something. Since you won’t be giving away the big prize(s) to everyone, you are able to offer the bigger-ticket item(s) that could really appeal to them. However, there is one major drawback that keeps it off our recommended list – strict legal requirements.

If you want to do a drawing, make sure that you review with your legal counsel in order to determine whether it adheres to federal and state guidelines. The two most essential requirements are:

  • Providing a means for anyone who is contacted to participate in the drawing even if they decide not to complete the survey. This cannot be done online because that would discriminate against people without internet.
  • Provide a written copy of the rules, including terms and conditions, eligibility, start and end dates, and other details specific to state laws in every state where respondents live (and in every country if any live abroad).

Other incentives worth considering are industry white papers, branded giveaways, and a promise to share the survey results with them, depending on your target audience. These can also generate a significant bump in response rates, but not as dependable as our top 3.

While some have raised concern over potential demographic bias when using incentives, research has proven otherwise. Countless studies have determined that incentive offers have no adverse effect on the sampling of results. Rather, they have been shown to increase response rates evenly across respondent subgroups and improve data quality. The question is not whether to use them, but rather which ones will resonate most with your audience.

If you’d like more information on incentives, survey research, incentive fulfillment services or survey mailing services in general, contact us today!

Why Mail Surveys Are Thriving in the Digital Age

Mail surveys are one of many quantitative research data collection methods that helps answer the “why” and “how” of human thoughts and behavior. It is an integral part of political & social science, social work, and education research.

Believe it or not, mail surveys are still among the most effective survey methods in the research industry, yielding higher response rates, more accurate data, and greater cost-effectiveness than online, email, phone, and in-app methods. According to April 2018 aggregate data by Pew Research and industry analysts, survey method response rates perform as follows:

Mail Surveys

High mail survey participation is attributed to several factors, including :

    • Trust – Respondents typically trust letters addressed to them over online methods, which can be perceived as spam. They also tend to have greater trust in actually receiving their gift incentive, as there is much online gamesmanship involving gift incentives that come with strings attached.
    • Deliverability – Physical addresses are more reliable than email addresses, which can change frequently with no forwarding address.
    • Noticeability –  Physical mail arrives in a less cluttered environment than email or online communities..
    • Convenience – Respondents can fill out the survey in their own time, with the actual hard copy serving as a reminder to complete it.

Data Integrity

Inaccuracies and respondent bias are the greatest barriers to achieving quality data. Of course, survey science aims to minimize these risks. Mail survey methodology is widely regarded as the gold standard in data accuracy – and this still holds true in the digital age. Phone surveys, once the darling of the industry, have been impacted by ‘sample selection’ bias due to the decline of landlines. Email and online surveys are typically affected by ‘social desirability’ bias, in which respondents give the answer that best aligns with their carefully-honed image. In-person survey research can have a similar effect, in which respondents do not answer as honestly as they would in a private setting. Of course, there are many factors to weigh in when choosing a survey method, including time, cost, and availability of respondent information, making each method or combination of methods worthy of consideration.


The cost of a medium-scale survey (i.e, 5,000 to 50,000 respondents) in 2018 is approximately $5,000.* Comparable phone and in-person surveys cost about 50% to 150% more, respectively. Email and online surveys are least expensive, starting at $20 to $500 per month, although custom programming can raise these numbers considerably. Factoring in data quality, however, survey mailing services are often the most cost-effective.

You should do a mail survey if:

    • You want high-quality data.
    • You have a complete list of names and addresses of the population to be surveyed or plan to purchase a sample.
    • Your audience has an interest in the content of your survey.
    • You’re not in a hurry to get results.

While digital surveys certainly have a bright future in the research industry, they have a long way to go before they can account for survey bias, data integrity, and cost-effectiveness. They may be most useful, at this point, as part of a multi-modal effort (i.e. a survey with both print and digital elements).

If you’d like more information on survey scanningsurvey science or mail surveys in general, contact us today.

By |2019-08-06T01:40:45+00:00July 26th, 2018|Survey Mailing Services|0 Comments

The Truth Behind Gift Card Incentive Offers

As a leading provider of survey mailing services, we see just about every kind of incentive offer out there. These days, it seems everyone is on the Gift Card bandwagon. And for good reason. They work! But all Gift Cards are not the same. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that most of the gift cards you’ll find are not gift cards at all.

A gift card, by definition, is a prepaid stored-value money card issued by a retailer or bank, redeemable only for purchases within particular stores or businesses that take the branded card and cannot be cashed out. They typically never expire.

Interestingly enough, most survey research services do not use them. Instead, you are more likely to see Closed Loop Gift Cards or Prepaid Rewards Cards. Rewards Cards do expire. And here’s the twist. Somebody pockets the unused balance. After reading this blog, it may be you.

Here are the main differences between the 3 most common types of Incentive Gift Cards.

Gift Card

Closed Loop Gift Card

Closed loop is a payments industry term for a gift or credit card that can only be used in a single store or group of stores (e.g, Amazon, Starbucks, Darden Restaurants). Closed loop cards rarely have purchase or dormancy fees, which is a big plus. Some vendors allow co-branding for an additional fee and/or no cost for high volume orders. These types of cards are useful when your survey population is similar.

Prepaid Rewards Card

These cards look and act just like a Visa or Mastercard credit card. The difference is they will expire anywhere between 90 days to 12 months after activation. The longer they are active, the bigger the processing fee. The processing fees are less than Gift cards because the vendor will keep the unused funds after the card’s expiration. But take note. Some vendors will split the unused funds with you after the cards expire on high value/volume programs. If you are buying these cards in bulk, make sure you ask about this. Prepaid Rewards Cards are attractive to respondents because they can be used anywhere. They are useful when your survey population is varied and you need a one-size fits all approach. Just make sure to communicate the card and expiration rules to your respondents. Most importantly, do not refer to it as a gift card, as you will then be subject to the laws that govern them. Instead, refer to them as Prepaid or Rewards Cards.

Gift Card

Alas, the actual, straight-up Gift Card. These also look and act just like a Visa or Mastercard Credit card. And while they typically show an expiration date of 12 to 60 months (required for online purchases), they will be replaced at no cost with a new expiration and the balance left intact. Gift cards do have a higher activation fee, which is how banks make their money for producing the card and maintaining the account until the funds are used. But they hold an advantage over the other formats, as they can be used anywhere and typically don’t expire.

Here is a list of common fees for Gift Cards.:

Fee Type Amount Charged
Activation Fee $5.95 per card
Inactivity Fee* $5 per month
Lost/Stolen Card Reissue Fee $10 per occurrence
Standard Delivery $25 per order
Express Delivery $35 per order

*Assessed each month after 12 consecutive months of inactivity, after the Card Activation Date or anytime thereafter.

Unlike other mail survey companies, DataForce has a relationship with the banks, so we are able to provide regular Gift Cards in bulk that don’t expire, as well as Closed Loop and Prepaid Rewards Cards. Learn more>

Final Thoughts

    • All 3 types of Incentive Gift Cards are useful. The one you choose will largely depend on your target audience and your budget.
    • If you plan to use Rewards Gift Cards, make sure to ask for the opportunity to split the funds from unused balances.
    • Do not refer to Rewards Cards as Gift Cards or you will be subject to the laws that govern them.

If you’d like more information on gift card incentives, incentive fulfillment or mail surveys in general, contact us today.

The Most Important Skillsets for In-House Survey Projects

If you are planning to effectively and efficiently handle a large-scale survey project in-house, knowing the questions you want to ask your target respondents is only the beginning. You also need to have access to a wide range of specialized skillsets. This is because practical considerations are certain to arise throughout the project that will require smart planning based on experience.

Here is a quick overview of a few of the most important skillsets involved in completing a large-scale survey project in-house.

Survey Design Skills

The core objective of your survey project is to obtain answers to questions that will help you analyze the thoughts, beliefs, actions, or experiences of your respondent population. To reach that objective, you must compose questions that will elicit useful responses.

During the survey design stage, it is important to consider more than the research objectives of your survey. There are other practical considerations relating to the efficiency of the project. Page count is an excellent example. If your survey is very complex or has so many questions that it must be printed in a large, multi-page booklet, you are jeopardizing the success of your project.

Large booklets create enormous challenges. They are difficult to design, print, and distribute. Additionally, they require extra effort to dismantle and collate so that they can be processed through your data extraction system. The greater the number of pages, the greater the complexity and room for error.

Graphic Design Skills

Another important skillset is graphic design. Your in-house designer must be proficient in Adobe InDesign, which is the most popular software for laying out surveys. Even though they may be a great graphic artist, their general skillset will only get them so far. They must also have experience in dealing with the many design choices that will impact your respondent’s experience while taking the survey as well as back-end quantitative data collection issues.

The layout of the survey must make it easy and intuitive for those completing the survey to fill in their responses. Even simple things like requesting a date of birth or phone number are a critical design issues. The choice to use a line to collect this information is problematic.

That’s because it is difficult for scanning software to read information formatted in a line with acceptable accuracy. The better design decision is to create a series of boxes that require respondents to place one letter or number in each box. This design option encourages respondents to write neatly. It also results in a more legible survey that is easier to review manually.

Printing Skills

The design of the survey affects the complexity of printing the survey. Remember that one of your goals is to automate data collection. Therefore, issues such as the number of pages, the layout of each page, and the placement of design elements are extremely important. For projects that require optical mark recognition (OMR), barcodes, or pre-slugging for accurate survey scanning and tracking, small printing errors have big consequences.

Logistics Skills

Managing the distribution, collection, and storage of your surveys presents an enormous logistical challenge. Once you’ve printed your surveys and support materials, you must then assemble the survey packets and distribute them to your respondents. You must also be prepared to receive the surveys when they are returned. The logistics skills involved include collating, packaging, labeling, addressing, bulk mailing, return-mail handling, warehousing, inventory tracking, and follow-up mailings.

Data Extraction Skills

Assuming that you have the necessary OMR and image-scanning equipment in place, you’ll also need to follow strict quality control measures to ensure the accuracy of your data. The data extraction process requires reliable data output formats, tables and rules, exceptions, electronic verification, manual verification, and image indexing to facilitate easy search and retrieval.

Do You Have Access to All of the Skillsets You Need?

As you prepare for your large-scale survey project, consider making a thorough assessment of your team’s skillsets. If you don’t have easy access to all of the skills you need to complete your project effectively and efficiently, it’s time to search for a partner that can help. Doing so will help your organization maximize its return on investment in time and money.

For more information on paper scanning servicesforms processing services or any aspect of survey mail management, contact us today!


Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick Two

The other day I got into a heated discussion with a colleague about this quote. You can Google it and it will return 100’s of pages and images. It appears that there are even businesses that post signs, telling their customers they can only have two.

In my humble opinion, any organization that communicates and/or promotes this quote is preparing you, the consumer, to either:

a. Be prepared to pay a lot (Fast/Good)

b. To be able to say “I told you so” when it didn’t go so well (Fast/Cheap)

c. Have the perfect excuse as to why your product/project is 2 weeks over due (Cheap/Good)

Personally, I would never do business with someone that would put themselves into a box. I think we should always be striving for the ‘impossible’ utopia.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are looking for a Cadillac with a Pinto budget; you will never be happy. Make sure that are you working with a vendor that you trust, understands your objectives – if you don’t trust them to give you sound advice; it is time for a change. The right relationship shouldn’t feel like a customer/vendor relationship; it should be a partnership.

Don’t limit yourself, we should always be thinking outside of the box on how to do things better, faster and more efficiently.

Paper Surveys Are So Yesterday – NOT!

Around 2008 we witnessed research funding being all but eliminated. In response, organizations who still needed data to drive day to day decision making, turned to free online survey tools. In addition, postage costs continued to increase year over year to mail paper surveys. This further solidified organizations transitioning to an online platform.

Now, let’s fast forward to current day. We are seeing a transition back to paper surveys – but why, when online administration reports that it is the most cost-efficient mode (more on this later)? The instant gratification of getting responses within hours of distributing make it very difficult to consider going back to paper.

Why are we seeing a transition back to paper? There are a variety of reasons for our clients:

1. Response rates are really low compared to paper surveys.

a. The competition in getting a respondent’s attention in their “in-box”. People are getting so many emails today, they focus on the ones that they know and/or are expecting.

b. People are afraid of clicking on links from people that they don’t know.

c. Many email providers are now sorting emails which may increase the chances of the respondent never seeing your communication.

2. Online panel sample.

a. There is a lot of controversy with online panel sample.

b. The costs associated with a panel can be more expensive than paper surveys.

3. Many researchers are going back to address-based sampling. And yes, you can pay to try and tie phone numbers and email addresses to the sample, but this process is very costly and not always reliable.

Think about this, when is the last time you looked at a Kohl’s ad electronically? Now, think about the last time you were mailed an ad that has that hidden discount that you need to peel to reveal? I know for me, I will go looking for that electronic Kohl’s ad if I need to go there. But when I get it in the mail and reveal that 30% off – now I will make an excuse to go buy something.

My point here is that getting the attention of a respondent is much more likely when using paper surveys that are well-designed because there is not as much competition in a person’s mailbox as there is with their inbox. A lot of people are getting their bills electronically which further reduces the competition in their mailbox.

Remember when we would log into AOL and got excited when we heard “You’ve Got Mail!”? Today many of us dread opening our inboxes, and people are getting excited when they receive physical mail.

If you’d like more information on multi-modal data collection or survey mailing services in general, contact us today!



DataForce is the preferred partner for managing cost-effective, practical, and on-time solutions for:

– Data capture (both manual and automated)
– Document imaging
– Printing
– Mailing and fulfillment
– Data delivery and management
By |2019-03-20T11:22:25+00:00January 11th, 2017|Survey Mailing Services|0 Comments