Research panels have grown immensely over the past decade due to a number of factors. The major driving force behind research panels coincides with the industry’s switch to electronic and mobile platforms, coupled with the dwindling effectiveness of telephone surveying. Conducting research with panel respondents that have opted-into continued participation in research provides end-clients with timeframe and cost advantages unrivaled by other methodologies.
RMS offers its own proprietary in-house panel of respondents in Central New York, across New York State, and across the country. RMS also assists its clients with building their own in-house respondent panels. Here are 5 tips to build a research panel:
1) Be personable – Credibility is typically in question when a company promotes a research panel because of the skepticism around being paid for participation. One way to overcome this is to follow-up with individuals who sign up for the panel by sending a welcome email and/or do an introductory phone call. It will let new research panel members know that your business is trustworthy and appreciative. This is a service RMS can offer that larger panel companies cannot exercise.
2) Honesty is always the best policy – Of course it is! When research panel members ask questions about payment, current projects, or how many times they can expect to be contacted – be honest. Let members know upfront what types of rewards are offered, how often they will be able to participate in research, and amount of times they will contacted. Manage their expectations and you will manage fulfillment.
3) Communicate through postings and tweets – One way to continue to have contact with panel members even if you do not have a current research project is to use social media. Let them know you’re still alive! Consider creating a separate twitter account for your research panel, and use it to create consistent two-way communication. Also, Facebook is the top form of social media so make sure you are using that for your panel effectively. You should also consider using Instagram. For example, you could post past focus group photos so new members can easily visualize what they are signing up for.
Also, do not always communicate in the same manner. One way to keep posts fresh is to stay on top of trends. For example, if #3magicwords is trending on twitter, post “Join our panel and get paid for your opinions! #3magicwords #surveys.” It seems simple, but it incorporates trending topics and broadens your reach in your communication efforts. Photos also make for great posts.
4) Have members refer new people – Recruiting new participants through one-on-one communication strategies can take a lot of time. Encourage your panel members to do that work for you! Create some type of referral rewards or referral incentive contest. For example, at the end of your registration survey give the participant a chance to refer friends and family to earn additional rewards.
5) Create an FAQ page on your website – It seems simple, but it is a great way to add credibility to your panel. For example, it is important that new members do not think that they will be making loads of money by being a part of your panel. While they may be rewarded for participating through $50 gift card raffles, a points system, or even $200 cash they will not find it to be a viable single source of income.
Are you interested in using the RMS ViewPoint Central New York panel for one of your studies? Are you a business that needs assistance building your own in-house panel of participants? Contact Sandy Baker, our Business Development Director at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.