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Leveraging Synergies Between SEO and Other Channels: An Integrated Marketing Approach

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Leveraging Synergies Between SEO and Other Channels: An Integrated Marketing Approach

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.

Because of its broad field, SEO has many touch points with a variety of different marketing channels. As other channels’ operations influence SEO, both directly and indirectly, it’s essential to deploy an integrated marketing approach in which each channel supports the other, in order to optimize marketing efforts and enhance your brand’s user experience.

This article provides you with a number of different actionable tips for combining SEO with the marketing channels listed below, that will not only save you time, resources, and money, but will lead to even better results for your team and company:

Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

Both SEO and Search Engine Advertising (SEA) are keyword-driven processes that focus on ensuring a website reaches the top positions of the search engine results page (SERP).

While SEO is a slower process that focuses on organic positions with long-term results, SEA is a much faster approach that focuses on the position of ads with short-lived results.

Although SEO and SEA might seem like adversarial approaches, they actually complement each other — by sharing data, knowledge, and insights, both can be leveraged to achieve better performances.

Here are a few of the different ways that SEA and SEO can work in symbiosis:

Achieve SERP domination

SERP domination means achieving a prominent position on the SERPs for both paid and unpaid results. Maximizing SERP “real estate” increases a sites’ visibility, credibility, and chances of getting clicks from searchers.

For some competitive terms, ranking in position one organically is insufficient to be visible above the fold, as the number of paid ads and SERP features pushes the organic results down. Both site awareness and confidence from potential visitors increase when a website is visible organically as well as through paid ads, which will result in the site showing up multiple times on the SERP.

Example of a search query where a website is prominently visible on both SEA and SEO positions on the SERP.
Example of a search query where a website is prominently visible on both SEA and SEO positions on the SERP.

Use SEA to predict SEO

While SEO is a fundamental channel with tremendous potential ROI, it is a long-term and continuous process that requires initial resources and the passage of time before it begins to show results.

The difference between SEO and SEA in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) over time.
The difference between SEO and SEA in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) over time.

As SEA campaigns provide immediate results, they can help to make sure your SEO strategies are worthwhile by testing their initial priorities. Information like the conversion rate and potential of different keywords and pages in paid campaigns can help determine whether or not they should be optimized for long-term SEO strategies.

Optimize metadata

PPC campaigns provide precise results not only in terms of conversions, but also with regards to click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates, and time on site for different sessions. It allows for the assessment of the searchers’ intent with regards to keywords and landing pages.

The data from A/B testing done by the SEA team can be used to enhance metadata for SEO. For example, using the copy from the best-performing ads to optimize page titles and meta descriptions can help improve organic CTR.

This strategy works the other way around, too: high-performing SEO snippets can be a source of inspiration for SEA ad copy.

Example of how SEO can be inspired by best performing SEA ads.
Example of how SEO can be inspired by best performing SEA ads.

Improve Quality Score

Optimizing Google Quality Score is crucial for an effective SEA strategy, as it determines the performance and cost of PPC campaigns.

Overview of Google Quality Score factors with Landing Page Experience as a decisive factor.
Overview of Google Quality Score factors with Landing Page Experience as a decisive factor.

One decisive Quality Score factor is the landing page’s relevance and quality.

As SEO is all about providing the best experience to users, SEA can benefit from the help of SEO to make sure their ads direct users to highly relevant and optimized landing pages.

Optimize bidding strategy and budget management

SEO and SEA go hand-in-hand when aiming for an optimal and dynamic bidding strategy.

When organic rankings for certain keywords generate a relatively high number of conversions (without necessarily ranking in top positions), it would be wise to start advertising for these queries in PPC campaigns and/or increase their allocated budget.

Also, if you observe specific keywords generating high conversions through PPC campaigns, it would be a good idea to begin optimizing for them in your broader SEO strategy, in order to obtain better organic positions.

In the long-term, this also provides the opportunity to reduce the SEA budget for (expensive) keywords when they are already performing well in organic search, especially if the ad budget is limited.

Use SEA as a backup strategy

SEO isn’t an exact science, and many variables influence organic rankings.

Results might take longer than initially expected, or rankings can decrease significantly in a short period of time. PPC can be used as a short-term solution to maintain a site’s presence and generate traffic from the SERPs.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing and SEO both rely on links.

From the SEO side, backlinks contribute to a website’s authority in the eyes of the search engines, and are one of the most important ranking factors. The higher the authority, the higher the likelihood of ranking.

From the affiliate side, links are sales streams to generate conversions.

Finding the right partners to drive relevant traffic to a website that converts is the main goal. Unlike organic links, search engines do not see affiliate links as “votes” due to the obvious commercial relation with tracking parameters applied.

Both Affiliate Marketing and SEO need to build up a strong network of publishers to promote and enhance their content. There are three ways in which both channels can inspire each other:

Streamline partner research

SEO uses a variety of strategies to find relevant domains to obtain backlinks. For example, looking at competitors’ referring domains and top-ranking domains for specific topics is the specialty of an off-page SEO.

Affiliate Marketing and SEO can sometimes target the same domains without being aware of it. Inefficient outreach due to channels not communicating internally costs unnecessary time and looks unprofessional.

Therefore, united research and sharing the list of potential affiliate and SEO partners can be beneficial before starting a campaign.

Combine partner acquisition

Streamlining outreach between different departments not only saves precious time, but can also save a significant amount of budget.

When a particular website is potentially valuable for both channels, it is favorable to negotiate a cooperation with its webmaster for the two channels simultaneously.

By killing two birds with one stone, it’s possible to negotiate the best overall deal and conditions.

Seize content inspiration

Editorial affiliate links are placed in relevant context within a page copy. Whenever a referral partner generates many leads, it indicates that their content is trusted and appreciated by its readers.

SEO can use this as a source of inspiration for its own content creation strategy.

PR

The role of Public Relations (PR) is to create brand awareness and strengthen brand image and authority.

SEO’s role is to increase a website’s overall authority to acquire more organic traffic.

As both PR and SEO need to reach out to authoritative and relevant websites, they can help each other in the following ways:

Identify target audience and trending topics

PR aims to spread the message of a company, and communicate that message in the best possible way. Leveraging SEO for PR helps to detect who the target audience is and what their interests are in order to improve awareness and visibility.

A way to enhance this message is to associate it with currently trending affairs. SEO can provide great insights into search volume for specific keywords throughout the calendar year, and topics presently trending using Google Trend data.

Google Trends data for the search term dogecoin.
Google Trends data for the search term dogecoin.

Utilize press releases for SEO

Press releases do not directly provide ranking benefits for SEO if the publication is clearly marked as such; as John Mueller of Google stated, the best practice for links in press releases is to put them in “Nofollow” according to Google’s guidelines.

In addition, Google ignores most links within press releases.

Nevertheless, press releases might be of interest to publishers who will be willing to write a piece of content about your news and link back naturally to your website, thus providing SEO value.

For this reason, PR should inform SEO when press releases are being sent out, as they could be used by SEO as link baits to obtain organic publications and “Dofollow” backlinks.

Create link baits

Digital PR consists of acquiring qualitative backlinks through the promotion of valuable content.

SEO and PR should cooperate to create linkable assets (infographics, guestographics, studies, interviews, etc.), which are powerful elements to acquire backlinks and increase authority and brand awareness.

An example of a successful link bait created by AirHelp, which generated many organic backlinks from sources such as Forbes, CNBC, the Daily Mail, and others.
An example of a successful link bait created by AirHelp, which generated many organic backlinks from sources such as Forbes, CNBC, the Daily Mail, and others.

Convert unlinked brand mentions into backlinks

Some media platforms happily write about a brand without linking to their website in the publication.

SEOs can easily track these unlinked brand mentions using alerts from various tools in order to gain backlinks.

An example of an unlinked brand mention of Zalando.
An example of an unlinked brand mention of Zalando.

Reaching out to the authors of articles and asking for a link back to the website will work in most cases, as it is editorially relevant for readers to gain more information about the brand and the product or service that they offer.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing (SMM) and SEO both need to serve users with engaging content to generate traffic and trigger conversions. They share common goals and can support each other in the following ways:

Get content indexed faster

Sharing new content on social media platforms stimulates pages to get (re)indexed faster as search engines noticing and following the links in the posts will be encouraged to (re)crawl the pages.

Understand user intent

SMM can generate tons of insights about the target audience, as it is often easier for users to share and interact with content on social media than on websites. This type of data allows for the creation of highly relevant landing pages that directly answer searcher intent.

By measuring which content generates the most engagement, how users interact with it, and which questions and/or problems they might encounter using a product or service, SEO can improve the communication and user experience on the website. Plus, social media can provide additional information regarding new trending topics and keywords related to the niche and company.

By using third-party tools, SMM can, for instance, analyze which topics on Twitter are frequently associated with either their brand or their competitors. By sharing this information, SEO can confirm that these themes are also present on the website.

SparkToro Audience Intelligence for hashtags related to Asos.
SparkToro Audience Intelligence for hashtags related to Asos.

Optimize posts with relevant keywords

As social media platforms use algorithms that utilize keywords when deciding to display content to their users, SMM must optimize their hashtags and keywords in their posts.

SEO can assist SMM by providing the right set of keywords and queries optimized to reach the most relevant and largest possible audience on social media platforms. In addition, social media posts might appear on the SERPs for certain keywords in specific niches.

Pinterest posts showing up on the SERP.
Pinterest posts showing up on the SERP.

Promote new content

SMM is an excellent and easy way to promote a website’s new content to its audience. When a new piece of content comes online on the website, it’s important to share on the different active social media accounts. This will encourage traffic and user engagement.

Stimulate link building

Although social links to a website don’t directly influence SEO rankings, actively sharing content on social media is a great way to attract natural and high-quality backlinks to a website. Making influencers aware of a quality piece of highly relevant content might lead to them referencing it on their blog or platform.

Develop joint partnerships

As many website and blog owners are also active on social media, a joint approach between SEO and SMM in acquiring partnerships can save time, effort, and budget for the marketing channels and company as a whole.

Email Marketing

SEO and Email Marketing (EMM) focus on different aspects of marketing, but are both powerful acquisition channels. By sharing their respective data, both channels can highlight potential issues and discover opportunities:

Increase CTR and open rates

By knowing which email subject lines achieve the best open rates, SEO can take inspiration to further optimize page titles and meta descriptions to increase organic CTR.

Vice versa, it can also benefit EMM to copy headlines of landing pages with the highest CTR on the SERPs.

Improve content relevancy

Measuring email click-to-open rates (CTOR) and landing page bounce rates can be very insightful for both channels, to know what keeps users from taking the desired actions.

When adjustments in either lead to improvements in user behavior, the changes can be implemented in the other channel as well.

Recycle content

Newsletter content is not being indexed by search engines. Therefore, successful emails can be recycled, fine-tuned, and turned into blog posts that can be shared across different channels.

Promote content and earn backlinks

Sending out an email to customers and followers is a great way to make them aware of new content on the website that might interest them, leading to more traffic and user engagement.

Linking to blog posts within the emails can increase the chances that people will further link back to it, resulting in an increase in natural backlinks.

UX/UI

SEO + UX = SXO: Search Experience Optimization.

User experience is an essential aspect of SEO. In June 2021, Google released the Page Experience update, which rewards websites for providing an excellent on-site experience to their users.

Google Page Experience update ranking factors.
Google Page Experience update ranking factors.

Communication and cooperation between SEO and User Experience (UX)/User Interface (UI) are both needed, as both can support each other on different elements such as:

Build information architecture

Logical site architecture is fundamental in order to allow search engines to crawl, index, and rank a website appropriately. From the user perspective, a good website structure allows one to easily navigate a website and get a clear understanding of it.

1643834827 825 Leveraging Synergies Between SEO and Other Channels An Integrated Marketing

The deeper a page is buried in the site architecture, the harder it will be for it to rank, as it takes more effort for search engine crawlers and users to reach it.

Because navigational links are given more weight, only important and useful pages should be kept in the navigation.

Ensure mobile-friendliness

SEO and UX should ensure that a website is mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015 and is becoming even more important with the Page Experience update.

Responsive design, text size, and tap targets size are examples of elements Google considers when evaluating if a site is mobile-friendly.

Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Improve page speed

Speed is decisive for user experience and rankings, especially when optimizing for Core Web Vitals.

Some website design elements can be implemented on the website without consideration of their impact on website performance, and SEO has to monitor the effects that changes made by developers and designers have on the speed of a page.

Manage pop-ups and ads

While pop-ups and ads are an excellent way to catch and/or retain users, they can have a negative impact on your rankings.

In January 2017, Google released an update stating that intrusive ads are now a negative ranking factor. As such, it has to be guaranteed that interstitial ads are being used with a lot of care so that they don’t interfere with an optimal user experience.

Examples of accepted interstitials and intrusive interstitials that make content less accessible.
Examples of accepted interstitials and intrusive interstitials that make content less accessible.

Content

Writing content that no one reads is the tragic reality companies that don’t invest in SEO are facing.

The role of SEO is to make sure that the writers produce content that people are actually looking for. Although content is part of SEO work in many companies, both channels still work independently from each other.

There are several elements to consider where SEO can guide content creation to serve quality content, optimized for both visitors and search engines:

Provide content relevance

Qualitative and keyword-rich content, which answers and satisfies searchers’ intent, will drive user engagement and enhance visibility on the SERPs.

SEOs can help content writers to make sure that the topics they write about are actually sought-after and relevant for a company’s potential clients and customers.

Content format, structure, length, and freshness have to be defined with users’ expectations in mind.

Ensure uniqueness

Each piece of content must be unique. Duplicate content, whether internal or external, can prevent pages from appearing in the search results.

SEO can ensure that every page has unique content, especially above the fold, to prevent duplicate content issues.

Enhance E-A-T

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is a concept used by Google Quality raters to assess web pages’ quality.

It is essential to display information about the author(s) of the content on a website, especially for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites.

A piece of content is considered qualitative and is valued by users when its author has experience (in either an academic or professional capacity) in the field he or she is writing about. SEO can assist content creators in optimizing for E.AT. on the website.

Conclusion

SEO is a fundamental and powerful channel for increasing a website’s presence and value. As we’ve seen from the above examples, there’s massive potential for achieving dramatically better results when SEO is used in conjunction with other marketing channels. Whether this is SEA, Affiliate, EMM, or any of the other discussed examples, SEO can be integrated in order to achieve optimal results and greater conversions.




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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

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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

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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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Take back your ROI by owning your data

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Treasure Data 800x450

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Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.


Click here to view more MarTech webinars.


About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for CNBC.com and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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