Use Cover Letter to Boost Response

Say you want to  increase your market share or break into a new niche or market area, so you decide to start with a survey of consumers in your area (see "Measure Your Market"). How do you get consumers to answer the survey? Response to a market measurement survey will improve if you include a personalized cover letter, says Geraldine Larkin, author of 12 Simple Steps to a Winning Marketing Plan. Your cover letter should be printed on your professional letterhead and should:

  • Say briefly what the survey is about.  Explain that you want to identify people’s knowledge of available real estate services in your area.
  • State why the respondent’s participation is important. Explain that you want to provide the best service to them in the future by learning what their interests are now.
  • Estimate how long the survey will take. People will be more likely to respond if see that you're cognizant of their limited time.
  • Promise a copy of the results. Ask them to e-mail you so you can add their names to your database.
  • Include a promise of confidentiality. People need to know exactly how you'll use the results and be assured you won't share their information with others.
  • Offer an easy way to respond. An e-mail poll is easiest, and there are polling companies that will allow you to create simple polls at no cost (search "free polling services" online). If you're doing a mail survey, include a self-addressed stamped envelope and your fax and e-mail addresses.
  • Give respondents an easy way to contact you with questions. If they are confused, they won’t bother responding.
  • Thank them for participating.