To contact respondents: should I use address book or upload database file to FTP ?

People in charge of creating a survey frequently ask this question, along with others. What is the easiest way for me to send my questionnaire to respondents? Can I include a database in the address book of the online survey platform? Or is there another way to use my file with information on respondents?

To answer this question, even before you start to program the survey, you should identify the characteristics of your database and your goals.

  • Does my database contain lots of information and have over 5,000 contacts?
  • Do I want to call on the respondents for this survey only?
  • Do I want to combine a large amount of information from my files concerning respondents (age, home address, date of latest purchase) with the survey results?

If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, your best solution is to create a profiled survey and send an invitation email by uploading the contact file to FTP.

Profiled survey with uploading contact database file to FTP

Online survey: contacting respondents by email

Why use a profiled survey?

The profiled survey will enable you to benefit from all the information in your contact file without having to ask qualifying questions. In other words, you won’t need to add questions concerning the respondent’s profile (age, gender, socioeconomic group, postal code for private individuals, sector of activity, years active or company number for professionals) because you already have it.

The link that the respondent receives via email is unique because it contains the respondent’s identifier. When respondents click on this link, they and their profile are automatically recorded in the raw results database for the survey.

There are two big advantages to a profiled survey:

  • The questionnaire is shorter and therefore more effective because the respondent concentrates on the survey goal.
  • The analyst will obtain all the data needed for processing the results statistically.

Creating a profiled survey

  • Start by choosing “profiled survey” among the available survey types instead of the default “online survey” setting.
  • In the “profile settings”, specify the database column titles that you will be using. This information will reappear in the survey results.

Sending email via FTP

Prepare your file with the emails of respondents and any other pertinent information for your survey. Save the file as an ASCII text file (.txt).

When you have finished your profiled survey, choose “FTP email send” and configure the invitation email. Remember to place an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message.

Activate publication and then click on the target and choose “Download File”.

Using the “Import wizard” you can:

  • Import the contact database and
  • Make the columns of your file correspond to the profile parameters.

Loading is almost instantaneous. The emails will be sent within a few minutes. During this time, you can continue to work on your survey platform to prepare reporting links or sub-populations.

Tip: If you have several contact files for the same survey, publish them only once per solicitation phase (first mail, reminder). Download your files on the same publication one after other. This will also make it easier for you to access publication statistics on your files: bounced emails, black list, abandon, etc.

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