You know you want two things: a quality mail survey and the results in the earliest possible time. You need mail survey results with optimum data integrity. And, you need to get it and understand it before your target deadline, which is not so far away. So, how can you manage your mail survey timeline when in a rush? Over the next 4 months we are going to offer our best, actionable tips to optimize your results in each phase of your timeline.

Phase 1 – Design Mail Survey Materials

Phase 2 – Printing and Organizing Survey Material

Phase 3 – Distributing and Collecting Surveys

Phase 4 – Extraction

Let’s dive into this month’s phase…


Design The Mail Survey Materials  

The best way to ensure that you will receive your data quickly but accurately is to keep your survey easy to complete and desirable. No matter your timetable, the design stage involves specifically developing the survey materials for your target respondents. It is key that survey materials be well designed and incentivized so that respondents can and will answer the survey questionnaires accurately and quickly. Not to mention, mail back the questionnaires conveniently! Typically, the survey materials include a cover letter, the survey questionnaire, a postage-paid return envelope, detailed instructions, study information, and an incentive (if your budget can support it). When a survey is more complicated, it takes more time to design the questionnaire properly (eating into your timetable) and runs the risk of respondents taking their time to properly respond.

So what does DataForce suggest you do when you are short on time and in your most essential phase? Here are our THREE top tips:

Tip 1: Use Established Templates

When you have limited experience in paper survey design, simple information requests such as date of birth or phone number have multiple design options. Using efficient paper survey templates can potentially knock a week or more out of the mail survey schedule. For example, taking advantage of a paper survey template designed to encourage respondents to write neatly by utilizing constrained print fields can be useful, requiring one character per box. By optimizing the paper survey to be scanned, it will increase the software’s quality and accuracy that will be used. To find the appropriate template to follow, partner with a Mail Survey expert like DataForce. Our mail survey design experience is the key to creating excellent mail survey materials that will deliver the necessary output even when pressed for time.

How to Manage Your Mail Survey Timeline When in a Rush: #1 Design Mail Survey Materials

Tip 2: Use Incentives 

The budget affects the decision to use incentive fulfillment or not. When dealing with a rush project, an incentive is a great way to motivate your respondents to return the survey early. Consider including a small token in the survey packet and a promised incentive if the completed survey is returned by a specific date.

Check out our post on 3 Survey Incentives to explode your Survey Response Rate 


How to Manage Your Mail Survey Timeline When in a Rush: #1 Design Mail Survey Materials

Tip 3: Multi-modal Data Collection

You may want to consider starting with mail to web, inviting people to take an online survey. A week later, send a reminder postcard, making sure to include the survey URL and password. And finally, sending a paper survey to the non-respondent. Research shows that the more modes offered to complete the survey will increase response rates. Additionally, getting responses online will allow you to do some initial analysis of the data.

 Check out our post on When to Do a Multimodal Survey?

These three tips are simple but very effective ways to set up you survey for success! Never hesitate to reach out to DataForce to see how we can help you optimize your results! And be sure to keep an eye out for our newsletter next month, where we will dive into Phase 2 – Printing and Organizing The Survey Material.

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