Is the cost of a dedicated survey panel really worth it? I've harvested about 20,000+ emails from sources that I've identified and I need 364 responses. I was thinking about giving them a brief explanation ahead of time and asking if they'd be interested in filling it out before sending them the actual survey. Are there any particular platforms that you've had success with? Where have you had the most luck finding panelists?
Really depends on what you're trying to accomplish with the research and with this group of 20,000 going forward...
If you have all your ducks in a row (emails are valid, you are not spamming, you have a clear call to action in the headline, a simple and short survey design, and maybe offer some incentive for participation) the sample size will likely not be an issue, but the key things you need to consider are:
- will this group truly represent your market (not just the 20,000, but the handful that decide they need to participate)
- do you have the skill set - market research is harder than it seems... even if using your list, might be good to have a pro look at your survey design
- do you have a relationship with these 20,000? did you earn the right to request their input? or will contacting them know be an annoyance that may harm you when you try to reach out to them again once you're ready to market your product?
When you are in the infancy of your R&D it's hard to justify the cost of dedicated panels when you have to put the additional time into screening panelists as well.
Sounds like you've got some good feedback here from Amit so far. The survey design is definitely going to be a big factor here. One of the most productive things I've found in designing surveys and data driven applications is keeping the 'ask' to manageable bite sized chunks. If the questions can be designed without bias inclusion and require minimal entry, you'll find more cooperation and accuracy on the side of the participant. If the survey gets overwhelming or confuses the participant, they may still finish the survey, but the integrity can decline as well as their willingness to contribute in the future. Keep in mind that surveys don't need to be all inclusive and done in one session. You can also take the formality out of a survey and disarm participants by finding new interactive ways to get your information, although this is more specific to the data you are looking for.
Amit also suggests the analytical skill set, which is also crucial in how you use your information. You can give two different analysts the same data and usually find two very different conclusions as a result. So understanding how to evaluate your results objectively is the other important side of that coin.
No doubt it's a lot harder than meets the eye Amit. You've given me some great questions to ruminate over. I think the actual design of the survey is probably the biggest issue I've had so far along with trying to minimize my cost as much as possible