Daunting, time-consuming and expensive. Or is it?
Doing any form of research doesn't always need to be so costly, here are five options to help you recruit participants for surveys.
I've also produced an article on how to get B2B survey responses, the focus of this post is helping you to find B2C participants for your research.
We all know that one of the hardest parts of doing any research is often something which is undervalued and that's finding respondents to take part. More importantly getting the right respondents for your research is even harder.
Research is essential to help get insight into a variety of business functions. and luckily the word of market research is maturing which means that there are loads of tools available that can help you. I've put together a list below of some of the most reliable places to find respondents for B2C research including surveys, focus groups, depth interviews and other research methods.
Google Consumer Surveys
Google Consumer Surveys allows you to show surveys to users across the web, Google have partnered with media and content websites such an news websites, which show surveys to web users. Once users complete the short survey(s) they can then see the content they are trying to access, it's an amazing way of getting right in front of users and a brilliant way of monetising content, as this is a huge challenge for online media publishers. You can also add screener questions to make sure you're targeting the right audience, which I strongly advise for accurate data collection.
You could try Survey Monkey Audience, which works in a very similar way, they also have Survey Monkey audience which allows you to send your survey (you can also screen the panel) directly to their large panel.
Cint is pretty great, it’s a self-serve tool that has revolutionised “survey sampling” in an overcrowded world of research panels. They don’t own a single panel, they partner with panels and sites that have big, engaged email lists to send your surveys to those users You’ll need to host the survey (e.g. on SurveyMonkey and PollDaddy) and it will need to be on a platform that can work with URL redirects, remember to check your plan on the survey platform of your choice. Prices depend on incidence rate and length of the survey and before you launch you can check feasibility and the cost in just a few clicks. Simply contact them for a free demo and some login details, the platform is very user-friendly.
There are a number of excellent research panels and fast survey sampling services offered by those panels, including Toluna and Toluna QuickSurveys, as well as ResearchNowSSI.
These are ready built, active panels which have huge volume in terms of participant numbers to help you reach the type of participants you need and as quickly as possible. They handle survey incentives within your price you're quoted, they can be expensive if you're looking for massive volume and for a niche participant type, but Toluna QuickSurveys is similar to Google Consumer Surveys and can reduce costs. If you're looking for Farmers in the South of France, Lawyers in Estonia, Doctors who specialise only in heart surgery or a massive volume of consumers to understand what they are spending on, then customer panels are the best option for you.
Your own email list
You could always use your own email lists using freemium customer survey tools, but it might be worth considering panels if you’re looking to reach solid numbers and also not to cause fatigue amongst your email list. Sometimes it's also good to remove your brand from the research by using third-party sample providers, as it means more accurate data. You could also use your own email list to build up a research panel of your own customers that want to take part in future surveys. We recommend following MRS guidelines for incentives used for participants who are taking part in market research.
There are specialist recruitment agencies who recruit participants for focus groups, user tests and depth interviews, they can also handle incentive management for you. I recommend Saros and PeopleforResearch.
Which is the best approach?
Well, this depends on what type of research you're doing. If you're testing a new product or service but if it's at a very early stage of development you might want to run the idea past 1,000 people through a sample provider and then at a later stage use your own customer list to clarify aspects of the new product and to get your customers engaged and involved. Usage and attitude surveys need volume so it's best to use sample providers for this.