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A Small Gift for Local SEOs and a Big Cheer for Original Images



The Ultimate Guide for Taking Full Control of Your Google Business Profile and NMX

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

“Localism” – Miriam Ellis

We know that a picture is worth a thousand words and that Google is betting the house on a visual future, yet I’ve often struggled to find the exact image asset I want to illustrate the story of local businesses and local SEO. So, I decided to create my own asset, and today, I would like to offer the above painting to all of my colleagues in local search. Please, feel free to use it in your speaker decks, client pitches, articles, marketing materials, and any place else you would like to instantly convey the thriving spirit of economic localism which underpins the passion we have in common with our audiences and clients.

This impressionist painting is original, hand-done, by me (no AI) and I offer use of it as my valentine to all of my colleagues and to local business owners with affection and tremendous respect for all of your contributions to many communities. I hope it will add vivid storytelling power to your work! If you would like to credit me, my fine art website is at

According to 3M research, visual aids improve learning by 400% and humans process visual media 60,000 times faster than text. Meanwhile, Time’s Top 100 photos focus on the mighty power of imagery to make an emotional connection. But we’re at a funny moment in time with image content, because we could be on the verge of inundation. I’d like to look at this phenomenon with you today and consider how the local businesses you market can stand out in an increasingly-illustrated world.

Thinking about imagery at this moment in time

Local places matter to us. Petrus Christus knew it when he painted “A Goldsmith in His Shop” six hundred years ago (local SEOs might call it the Barbara Oliver Jewelry of its day!):

1676471444 593 A Small Gift for Local SEOs and a Big Cheer

Van Gogh was just one of thousands of painters who have worked to capture the mood of local “cafe society” and – if they had mobile devices – what do you think these people would be writing in their Yelp reviews?

1676471445 791 A Small Gift for Local SEOs and a Big Cheer

And Hopper’s “Nighthawks”, set in a Greenwich Village diner, has become one of the most-recognized paintings in American art history. Looking at it 80 years after it was painted, it evokes a feeling in me of the value of local businesses keeping the light on in hard times:

1676471445 440 A Small Gift for Local SEOs and a Big Cheer

Point being: local businesses are so vibrant a component of culture that they inspire fine art. They are an integral part of the history of communities, towns, and cities, and they readily lend themselves to impactful visual representation.

It’s a topic for this moment in time, because we are poised between a past littered with bad stock photos and a future that could be made up of assembly line AI graphics. Some may argue that the availability of images for pennies or the capacity to command robots to produce pictures is democratizing, and I can respect that viewpoint, but I have also noticed that mass-produced art lacking in meaningful human intention can quickly become clutter, overlooked by the very people we are trying to reach.

And that’s a problem, because when we look at art that we find beautiful, blood flow to the brain increases by 10%. According to University College London, this is the same lift we get from seeing the face of a loved one, and I have to wonder, then, what it does to us to be subjected to imagery that we find dull, repetitive, and soulless. Andy Warhol may have seen beauty in Campbell’s soup, but how often do you gaze with joy at can labels in the grocery store, when every single tin on the shelves offers a picture?

What will search be like when every query ends up in a kind of supermarket aisle, full of visuals? In 2016, visual elements made up just 2% of mobile search results, but now they make up 36%. Google reps are very transparent about this, stating,

“We’re transforming the SERP into an endless stream of visual ideas.”

As an artist, I’m automatically intrigued by any visual medium, and am keeping both eyes on multisearch, visual search, and all the permutations of image search. Now is the time to consider how visual media will fare if we become oversaturated with it in the next few years.

Standing out amid visual clutter

The art of differentiation is always going to be a relevant question for SEOs and local SEOs. Right now, we know how much of a competitive advantage high quality visuals can give our clients. Google says that shoppers are 90% more likely to purchase from businesses with images in Maps and search. Large, high quality images can have a demonstrable impact on organic rankings and Google’s own documentation cites their impact on local rank. UGC-uploaded photos even impact Google review order. Early adopters will get early benefits, but diminishing returns can result once a practice that was formerly special becomes commonplace.

Right now, we haven’t yet reached peak images in local SEO. Expert and friend, Darren Shaw, recently offered an excellent Twitter thread on the 7 types of visuals every Google Business Profile needs, including brand identity shots, exterior and interior premise shots, staff photos, product/service photos, UGC, and review screenshots. It’s a list long enough to keep any business busy in 2023, and the truth is that so many local businesses haven’t even created listings yet, but I’d like to encourage you to begin thinking beyond the standards before they become givens.

If your plan is to use AI graphics to keep pace with competitors, you may end up looking just like them, and that’s in direct contrast to one of the core reasons independent local businesses are beloved: because they are different! Predictability may be what made fast food chains a success via the McDonaldization phenomenon, but uniqueness of products, services and experiences is the magic ingredient behind 3 in 4 customers shopping small and local. Doesn’t it stand to reason that your digital visual presentation could take its cues from this existing dynamic and dare to be different?

To that end, here are my five outside-the-box suggestions for visually differentiating the local businesses you market online from less creative competitors:

  1. Hire a local artist to paint your business. Imagine how uncommon your Google Business Profile photo deck would look if it included glowing fine art featuring your store, your grounds, your staff, your inventory, and customers coming in for experiences with you. I guarantee that there is a good fine artist near you with the talent of capturing how your business is a vibrant part of the local community. Give your staff and your customers reasons to feel proud of where they work and shop.

  2. Hire a creative professional photographer to make your business look intriguing. Joel Headley has already documented the lift in traffic, calls and other conversion metrics when stock photos are replaced by original images, and you need basic shots of the assets Darren Shaw mentions, but a talented art photographer could take this a step further by photographing aspects of your business in such a way that the public will want to come experience them personally.

  3. Are you working in a vertical people constantly call “boring?” Would it lend itself to humor that could make your listings stand out? Consider hiring a local cartoonist to make your community laugh with you and remember your brand.

  4. Maximize every opportunity for making your premises a green space. Connectivity with nature is increasingly cited as key to mental health. It’s why Trinity College Dublin has torn up its lawns and replacd them with wildflower patches, full of blooms and butterflies. Photograph the planted areas people can experience when they visit you, and be sure to highlight accessibility and areas for sitting and quiet contemplation as a break from shopping.

  5. Consider the role of art at your place of business, be that paintings, photography, sculpture, community projects, music, and more. A grocery store can have a great soundtrack and a retail shop with wall space can double as a gallery or a social media hotspot. The more inviting your premises are, the more likely that customers are to want to photograph themselves there. Because every person is unique, that thing we call UGC can become a major asset, enabling you and your community to see how your business looks through the gaze of many.

My two-point perspective

On the one hand, convenience sells. Why open a cookbook, turn on a light switch, sweep your own floor, work hard on writing something, or mix your own colors for a hand-done painting when a robot can do it all for you? We’re all so fatigued, so why not take it easy? But the thing is…there is something about this perspective that’s really been bothering me lately, and I think I’ve figured out what it is. It sounds like the little voice in my head that would let me be monumentally lazy instead of struggling to do my best despite living with a chronic disability. That insidious voice that wants me to take it too easy instead of doing as much as I’m able to for myself, and that is reinforced by every marketed offer to take every load off my shoulders.

I suppose that because I’ve pushed back against this temptation for years and pushed myself to stay positive and creative in some very hard times, I am wary of this insidious voice being a driving force in society. I don’t think everything should always be as easy as possible, because I don’t believe humans produce great writing, art, music, movements, or anything of lasting value when shortcuts are prioritized over strenuous effort. Yes, we can increasingly choose to let machines do all the work for us, and even think for us, but my other perspective tells me what we may miss if we never do the hard work ourselves.

I’ve entered a number of juried art events over the years, and there is nothing quite like the thrill of walking into a big, buzzing exhibition grounds, searching the crowded walls for your painting, finding a blue ribbon hanging on it and seeing that little “sold” sticker on the accompanying card. You know exactly what you put into that piece, from ideation, to drafting, to completion, and there is such joy in realizing that someone else saw your work and chose it as the best in the show, or even as something to bring home into their personal space.

This is the sense of accomplishment I want local business owners and their marketers to feel when they are chosen because, instead of giving into low standards, they have brought the highest standards to bear in the creative presentation of their companies. When local businesses go the extra mile, it can be deeply felt in the quality of life enjoyed by their whole community. It’s a very good thing.

I hope you may find a use for my painting in your work, even if it’s only as a spark for your own ideas about being seen amid the clutter of an increasingly-automated visual web. Your inventiveness, intentions, and most of all, your uniqueness matter. Some say that life is an artform, so let’s close with a quote from Cézanne today, who said it so well:

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”

No matter how artificially “intelligent” we make the bots, the emotions are all on our side, ready to connect us with the people we care for and serve.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

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The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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