4 best ways to get responses for surveys 

Surveys hinge on the people who respond to them. If you’re struggling to find people to respond to your surveys, you’re in luck. 

We’ve rounded up four types of survey tools to get candid survey responses. 

Some are free. Others come with an upfront investment. Whether you need to do quick market research or a more in-depth online survey campaign, there’s a survey tool for you on this list.

1. LinkedIn and Reddit: best free survey responses

One of the least expensive ways instead of buying survey responses is to look for respondents on LinkedIn, Reddit, and even Facebook. LinkedIn is more professional than Facebook or Instagram, though, and Reddit lets users remain anonymous – which means they won’t hold back.

Painful though it may be, this is exactly what you need. Only with real, honest feedback can you understand whether your product or ad is landing with your target audience. 

Leveraging LinkedIn and Reddit as survey respondent pools takes some upfront work. 

First, you’ll need to put your survey together. If you use a tool like Google Forms, this part can be free too. 

Next, you’ll need to build up a community on these sites. You won’t get much luck if you make an ad-hoc LinkedIn or Reddit account and post your survey the same day. 

Spend at least a week or two fleshing out your profile, making connections, and contributing to the communities you find. Join subreddits or LinkedIn groups where your target audience hangs out. Offer meaningful insights on peoples’ posts.

Then post your survey link and invite your followers to share their thoughts.

You can also try your luck posting in subreddits that openly welcome surveys and polls, including: 

Reddit and LinkedIn results & pricing

Here’s a caveat with these free platforms: we haven’t seen surveys get tons of traction on them. Most get 1-2 likes or comments, if that. 

Redditors and LinkedIn users might be answering the surveys without liking or commenting. You can’t see the backend of someone else’s Google Forms survey to find out how the poster’s data collection efforts are going. 

Or, the surveys might just be going into the void.

Screenshot of an advertisement survey for Google Surveys

If you’re strapped for cash, though, these avenues are worth a try. You may be able to boost responses by offering an incentive, like an Amazon gift card. 

This will obviously end up costing you money, but it might be worth trying. 

One more thing: these groups all have different rules for posting, so make sure you honor those. 

Sign up for Reddit and LinkedIn to get started.

2. PickFu: best for fast, affordable surveys

PickFu has been helping everyone from entrepreneurs to authors do rapid research since 2008

Our favorite thing about our polling platform? We bring the respondents to you. 

You don’t have to spend any time or effort searching for them yourself. 

Here’s how PickFu works: 

  1. Sign up for a free PickFu account
  2. Pick the type of poll you want to run
  3. Choose your target audience and demographics
  4. Publish your poll
  5. Watch results start coming in within minutes

Here’s a screenshot of what Step 3 looks like from your PickFu dashboard.

To give you an idea of how many options you have for narrowing your target audience, check out these target audiences PickFu users have surveyed:

Along with a wide range of audience characteristics, PickFu lets you survey respondents in the following countries: 

  • United States
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

As for customization, you can:

  • Survey 15-500 people
  • Choose a random or targeted audience with over 90 demographic traits
  • Collect demographic data from your target audience
  • Pick from 6 question types: Open-Ended, Star Rating, Click Tests, Round Robin polls, Ranked polls, and Head-To-Head polls

Psst…we also recently launched a survey builder so you can ask the same target audience up to eight different questions (across all question types) in one survey. 

Our users have been asking for this feature for a while now, and we’re thrilled to deliver.

PickFu results and pricing 

Ready to see what brand market research looks like with PickFu? 

Let’s take a look at some recent online surveys. 

In an Open-Ended poll, a PickFu user asked 15 U.S.-based respondents between the ages of 25 to 34 to evaluate a description for a book on investing in real estate. 

The user asked, “This book is for millennials who want to buy their first property (either a home or investment). What would you change in the book description to make you buy the book and why?”

Here’s a sampling of the advice our survey respondents gave:

  • “I would add a paragraph to temper expectations that deals with the reality of the market that millennials face. This isn’t the 80s or 90s anymore. A lot of us need a reality check.”
  • “Honestly, the description looks like it was prepared with generative AI. I would take out the unnecessarily descriptive language such as “demystifying” to make a more to the point statement.”
  • “I would condense the list, and move the third paragraph to below the list. I want to quickly be able to understand what the book is about without getting lost in text.”

Sounds like this author has some work to do if she wants her book to land with her target audience. 

Now let’s look at how to do market research for an app with PickFu. An app developer asked 50 U.S.-based respondents to choose between four different app icon logos for a racing game. All logos showcase speed and a black-and-green color theme. But the survey respondents picked the only icon with an actual car in it as their overall favorite. 

Here’s why:

  • “Color is eye catching as is the car with 100 km sign.”
  • “Lime green is my favorite color and I think that the more you use it the more it will catch people’s eye. I wanted to like [Option] D more but it isn’t pegged on a high enough speed.”
  • “[Option] A is bold and easy to read. [Option] D is creative, but the 100 could be emphasized more. [Option] C is okay. [Option] B is difficult to comprehend.”

We find it interesting that more than one respondent liked the odometer logo but said the speed wasn’t high enough on it. If we were this app developer, we’d redo the poll with a higher odometer reading for Option D. We’d also target mobile gamers instead of the general population. 

Now let’s talk about pricing. 

We keep it simple at PickFu. 

Pricing starts at $15 for 15 respondents from a random audience. If you add respondents, questions, or target audience traits, the price goes up.

When you’re building your survey or poll, you’ll see a price estimate on the page. Each time you change something about the poll, the price will update.

That way, you know exactly what you’re paying long before you check out. 

Here’s a breakdown of pricing for three mock surveys to help you understand how much PickFu costs: 

  • Survey with 3 questions – 2 Open-Ended and 1 Head-To-Head – and 15 respondents from a random audience: $45
  • Survey with 8 questions – 3 Open-Ended, 2 Head-To-Head, and 1 each of Click Test, Star Rating, and Ranked – and 30 respondents who shop on Amazon: $367.50
  • Poll with 1 question – Head-To-Head – and 50 respondents who are dog owners: $73

What about survey response rates with PickFu?

We guarantee a full completion rate (100%), which means we’ll refund you if your survey doesn’t gather the number of responses promised. 

Whether you want to do some quick and easy user testing or proof of concept testing, you can PickFu it within minutes. 

Get started with PickFu here

3. SurveySwap: best survey exchange platform

SurveySwap is a survey exchange service based in Amsterdam. It operates on a reciprocal system. You have to earn credits by taking other people’s surveys. Once you have enough credits, you can post your own survey and get responses.

We tested SurveySwap to help us validate a SaaS idea. Setting up our first survey took about 10 minutes, but that’s because we spent time poking around with the setup to find out the response and survey length limits. 

Here’s what we found:

  • Length: your survey can take 1 to 40 minutes to complete. 
  • Credits: credits are equal to the amount of time you estimate it’ll take someone to complete your survey. To get responses on a 1-minute survey, all you need is 1 credit in your account. For a 5-minute survey, you’ll need 5 credits, and so on. You can either purchase credits or earn them by filling out other surveys.
  • Languages: SurveySwap supports questionnaires in English, Dutch, and German.
  • Respondents: go as low as 5 respondents or as high as 500. 

The number of respondents you choose affects the survey cost too, but this is not clear upfront. If you want 500 respondents for a 10-minute survey, it looks at first like you’ll only need 10 credits. But once you publish the survey, you’ll find you need 100+ credits to get that many responses. 

We found this out the hard way. 

We had to scrap our SaaS idea questionnaire and go with something silly and simple: a Unicorn Belief Survey that would only cost 5 credits.

Screenshot of surveyswap of collecting of respondent information

If you need more than 500 respondents – or plan to post surveys that’ll take over 40 minutes to complete – you’ll need to purchase a Business or Enterprise plan.

Keep in mind that for your first survey, there’s no way to access SurveySwap’s survey builder. You have to create the questionnaire on Qualtrics, Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or Microsoft Forms. 

You’ll then follow a step-by-step process to integrate your online survey link to SurveySwap. We did our first test survey with Google Forms. 

Survey tool step asking which software they used to create the survey, with Google forms chosen!

The UI is clean, simple, and intuitive. But there’s a lot of copying, pasting, and navigating between screens.

Another step for surveyswap, asking for a copy and paste.

Once you publish your survey, you’ll see a dashboard where you can find other questionnaires to answer. You can also track responses to your survey from the dashboard.

Tracked surveys dashboard in surveyswap

We spent some time answering questionnaires to earn the 5 credits needed for our Unicorn Belief Survey. 

It was surprisingly addictive.

At the end of each survey, you’ll see a code to copy and paste back into SurveySwap. That’s how you get your credits. 

SurveySwap results and pricing

After 24 hours, only three respondents had answered our survey. The results were surprising: one person does believe in unicorns. Two do not.

results and pricing for surveyswap, showing two choices.

Only time will tell what our final two respondents think…

via GIPHY

If we ever get them, that is. SurveySwap says we have 12 credits but apparently we need 2 more credits to get the last two respondents for our survey. 

We’re not sure how that math tracks. 🤔

You can buy credits if you don’t want to take surveys. SurveySwap says each credit is equivalent to 1 additional respondent. So, 1 credit = 1 respondent. 

  • 12 credits cost $8
  • 60 credits cost $36
  • 120 credits cost $57

We’ve seen mixed reviews on the whole credit/respondent system, so we probably wouldn’t spend actual money to buy credits. But taking the surveys is fun. SurveySwap is a neat idea, and we definitely recommend it if you:

  • Need a small sample size
  • Have time to answer other surveys
  • Are willing to deal with some frustration

Hint: there’s also a tool called SurveyCircle, and it works in a similar way. But it’s targeted more toward academic researchers than marketers. 

You can get started on SurveySwap here

4. Qualtrics: best for organizations with a big budget and customer base

Qualtrics is one of the most well-known customer insights platforms out there. 

It’s an experience management (XM) system that enormous companies like Microsoft, MasterCard, Hulu, and Target use to deliver a top-notch customer experience. 

But you don’t have to be a huge, enterprise-level organization to benefit from Qualtrics. If all you want to do is conduct surveys, you can sign up for a free Qualtrics Surveys account.

From there, you can create a survey from scratch or pick from one of Qualtrics’ dozens of survey templates, including ones for: 

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) 
  • Product satisfaction
  • Quick poll
  • Vote and rank
  • Demographic poll
  • Relationship net promoter score (NPS)
  • Product concept testing
  • Feature awareness

We went through the survey creation process to test Qualtrics’ usability and user-friendliness. It’s easy enough to set up a Qualtrics survey without watching the tour, so that’s a plus. If you don’t want your survey to look blah and white, like ours below, you can customize it with your brand colors and fonts.

Qualtrics csat information and survey creation

Qualtrics also lets you create more complicated polls, like ones that use skip logic or display logic. Plus, it fully supports 21 languages, including German, Spanish, French, and Thai. 

And it partially supports 25 more languages, like Welsh, Armenian, and Vietnamese.  

So where do your respondents come from? 

You can purchase research panels from Qualtrics, but you have to reach out to the sales department to learn more about your options there.

Qualtrics also has a feature called Distributions, where you can upload lists of contacts and create different samples of your target audience. This is perfect for organizations that have contact information for their customers and permission to use it. 

a screenshot of taking a list

Qualtrics also goes hand-in-hand with SurveySwap. Just create a free survey on Qualtrics and integrate it with SurveySwap, and you can collect responses that way.

Qualtrics results and pricing

Qualtrics is one of the most advanced survey tools out there, which makes it a little complicated to use. However, it’s easier from the respondent’s side. We took a bunch of Qualtrics-hosted surveys on SurveySwap to earn credits. The process was butter-smooth. 

As for how much it costs to tap into Qualtrics’ pool of 90 million screened respondents, it’s unclear. The company doesn’t say how much a research survey panel costs. You have to fill out a short questionnaire and wait for a sales rep to get back with a quote. 

Qualtrics screenshot of the homepage

The authors of a 2018 study published in the National Library of Medicine said they paid $500 for 12 Qualtrics responses – so, just over $41 per response.

That’s a lot of cash. 

But the authors also said Qualtrics gave them the highest-quality results, beating out platforms like Reddit, mTurk, and Soapbox. Qualtrics does pre-screen respondents and compensate them for you, which makes the higher price make sense. 

The deeper you go into Qualtrics, the more refined the features you’ll get. Think automations, sliced and diced survey results, custom notifications, and pop-up survey placement for your websites and email newsletters.

If these features sound like the ticket for you, Qualtrics might be a good fit.

You can get started on your customer feedback strategy or market research with Qualtrics with a free survey account.

What if you need responses ASAP?

Just PickFu it. That’s what we’re here for. You can get your survey questions posted to your target audience in just a few clicks.

Whether you need to do prototype testing for a new product or compare yourself to competitors or anything in between, PickFu’s got you covered.

Get survey responses quickly by signing up for a free PickFu account today. 

FAQs:

How do I find survey respondents? 

You can find survey respondents on sites like PickFu, Qualtrics, and SurveySwap, along with social media sites. These tools give you the target audiences you need for your research. But if you already have a customer base, you can tap into those users too. 

How can I incentivize people to complete my survey?

Most people want to be compensated for their time, whether that means they get entered into raffles, receive gift cards, or get cold, hard cash. Some survey platforms pay respondents, like PickFu and Qualtrics. Others operate on an exchange basis: you answer surveys for them and they’ll answer some for you. 


Learn more: Build a better business by testing your business names, ideas, logos, marketing copy, and website designs on PickFu.

Laura Ojeda Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle-grade novel, Missing Okalee, was published in the fall of 2021 by Shadow Mountain Publishing.