How to Maximize Your Potential Earnings With Online Survey Panels

Online paid surveys are probably the easiest and the most time effective way of generating extra money online. This can be a side activity that generates a steady income of more than $200 that will definitely help you and your family in the current poor economic conditions. Joining online survey panels do not require any upfront investment, experience, or long-term commitment. Online paid surveys would be an ideal situation for housewives, unemployed people, part-time workers, college students, retirees, or anyone who can commit at least 40 hours per month. This article describes some tips and strategies for taking online surveys and increasing your potential earnings.

10 Tips for Maximizing your Potential Earnings

Your time is valuable and I would like to maximize your ability and chances to earn extra money by taking online paid surveys. You can follow these tips:

Tip #1 - Join Several Top Survey Panels

  • My recommendation is to start by joining 5 survey panels with the ultimate goal of joining 15-20 of the top online survey panels listed on free websites reviewing legitimate panels.
  • A good suggestion is to join 4 survey panels every weekend including filling in your profiles which may take up to 1 hour for each survey panel. There is no need to rush as you can reach the ultimate goal within 2 months without getting bored of filling the same information over and over again.
  • Upon reaching this ultimate goal, your email account will get a lot of daily surveys from which you can select those of interesting topics, good incentives, or do not consume much time.

Tip #2 - Fill in Your Profiles

  • This is the key to get future invitations from survey panels as they try to match a specific profile of potential survey takers with the product or service being evaluated or studied. So, take the time and fill in all your profiles for every survey panel.
  • By filling in your profiles, it is less likely to receive an invitation for a survey that you are not likely to qualify for anyway. No doubt, it would be frustrating to spend up to 5 minutes on a survey only to find out that you do not qualify.
  • Your profile will generally include information on your employment & workplace, entertainment & leisure, food & beverages, health & wellness, home & family, household technology, internet activities, money & finance, shopping & personal care, sports, travel, vehicles, and video & computer games.
  • You should update your profile upon purchasing a new vehicle, large appliances (e.g. refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.), consumer electronics (e.g. HDTV, 3D LED TV, Smartphone, iPad, etc), or video games consoles (e.g. Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PSP Go, Nintendo DSi XL, etc.). You should also update your profile if you are diagnosed with a new health condition. This will increase your chances to qualify for specific surveys.
  • Many survey panels will send you an email reminder at the beginning of each year to update your profiles.

Tip #3 - Which Surveys to Take?

  • I personally do not take online surveys to enter sweepstakes. I believe there is a very little chance of winning sweepstakes. However, few survey takers will definitely win; I hope you are one of them.
  • If you are taking surveys for Sweepstakes entries, make sure that you reside in a country that permits you to be entered into Sweepstakes and win cash prizes. Check the panel website for more information on this issue.
  • It seems that the standard of survey taking is to offer $2 incentive for around 20 minutes length. Some survey panels are definitely generous than others. Survey topic is another factor that influence the incentive value.
  • I do not take online surveys with incentive less than $2 in 20 minutes or $1 in 10 minutes. However, it is up to you to setup the minimum incentive to take a survey.
  • Surveys invitations often include the approximate survey length and the incentive offered which allows you to make an informed decision on the surveys that you will want to attempt.

Tip #4 - Respond Quickly to Survey Invitations

  • Surveys are generally available for 3-5 days from the invitation day. However, surveys from some panels such as Surveyhead, GlobalTestMarket and MyView reach the required number of respondents on the same day.
  • Easy, interesting topic, short length, or good incentive surveys are filled very quickly.

Tip #5 - Do not Wait for Survey Invitations and Log Into your Account

  • This tip only applies for Surveyhead and MyView panels. In fact, all online survey panels will send you invitations to you email account. However, if you login into your account of those 2 panels on a daily basis, you will notice many other surveys opportunities available on your dashboard.

Tip #6 - Understand the Point System of Survey Panels

  • Some survey panels have a point system. Understanding the point system will help you decide on which surveys to take and which ones that does not worth your time.
  • You can do the math and setup the minimum points to take a survey from each panel. For example, a panel offers 900 points for a 30 minutes survey where 3,000 points are equivalent to $1. Does this survey worth your time?

Tip #7 - Be Patient

  • You need first to prove yourself to survey panels as a trustworthy active member who takes the time to answer all of the surveys questions honestly and completely providing accurate feedback and valuable opinions, so be a consistent survey taker after filling in your profiles. Consequently, survey panels will send you more frequent surveys to your email account.
  • Most survey panels specify the approximate length of time to complete their surveys. As a beginner you may take more time than usual. However, you will get up to speed after taking 10 to 20 surveys.
  • Some survey panels immediately confirm your reward upon completing a survey while others may take 2 to 4 weeks.
  • It may take 4 to 8 weeks to receive your payment after your cash-out request.

Tip #8 - Experiment with Survey Panels

  • Survey panels can work well for some people but may not work for others. Experiment with various panels until you get your priority list of panels that best work for you.
  • Do not cancel your membership to a survey panel after just one bad experience. Every panel has its good and bad times. Evaluate the panel after 6 to 12 months of subscription.

Tip #9 - Sign Up for a PayPal Account to receive faster Payments

  • Many survey panels are moving to PayPal as an easier and quicker way to send payments to survey takers. Create an account with PayPal and link it to your bank account. It is easy, safe, and takes 2-3 business days to transfer money from PayPal to your bank account.

Tip #10 - Ask your College Students and Teens to Join or Participate

  • Online paid surveys may be a good option for your college students (18+) to make extra money while in school and/or during vacations.
  • I believe teens (14-17) are having a hard time to find a part-time job because laid-off people are filling these jobs due to the current weak economic conditions. Some survey panels such as GlobalTestMarket, MyView, and MySurvey allow for teens to join with parental or legal guardian permission.
  • It is also a good opportunity for international students (18+) studying in foreign countries to join and participate in online paid surveys.

10 Hacks To Make Your Online Surveys From Good To Amazing

When executed correctly, survey research can provide highly reliable and useable data, and improve research return on investment (ROI).

So with that in mind, what are the keys to make your survey the best it can be? Here are 10 hacks to take your survey from good... to amazing!



Your Objective

First things first is to determine your objectives for your survey. You need to focus your questions by determining what are you trying to find out from your questions? Have focused clear objectives for your survey that are easily understood.

Spend time to identify the how, who, what, when and why's - for example:

• Why are you making a survey?

• Who do you want to ask?

• What will you use the data for?

• How will you conduct your survey?

• When do you want it to be completed by?

Their Objective

Online questions can sometimes make people suspicious, so let people know why you are asking them to do a survey. If you remind them who you are, why you have picked them, and why you want their feedback there will be more trust and a greater chance of feedback.

Your introduction doesn't have to be too descriptive. It could be a reminder that they have bought a product from your company and you are asking for customer feedback on the customer service they experienced. A brief introduction will motivate people to complete the survey.



A good rule of thumb is to create a "targeting survey" which is used to decide what people you want to survey. Not everyone on your contact list will necessarily be within your target audience for your survey. Start by defining the demographics of the people you want to ask questions to. Then create a mini survey of just 3-5 questions to send out which will help you to filter out your target audience for your main survey.

Remember to keep your pre-survey very short and simple so that you don't discourage people from giving feedback. And, don't forget their email address to follow up on later. Another quick tip: if you are asking for contact information, place that information last.

By using targeting surveys, your contact database updates and ensures that when you send out your main survey you are asking only those who are relevant, so you get the best data possible.


Define the characteristics of the target users you want to gather answers from (e.g. active users of your site, students who attended your university over the last 10 years, customers who bought a product from your company this year etc). You want the most relevant and highly active users to gather insights and feedback from.

For example, if you are looking for sociology students who attended your university less than a decade ago but have a list of all current and alumni university members you can drill down your audience. You might ask your contacts a few simple questions such as, if they went to your university over the last 10 years, did they study Sociology and do they use what they learnt in their current lives.


Now you will need to draw people to your targeting survey. The most popular methods to conduct surveys are quickly becoming email and online, rather than face-to-face, written or telephone surveys. Not only is it easier for people to respond in these ways, it is also much easier (and cheaper) for you to ask the questions and reach a wider scope of respondents.

For more direct contact, you can also use email to send out your survey. This is the best method to distribute your questions if you have a list of contact you wish you connect with. There are many email autoresponders that allow you to email lists of people all at the same time that is worth looking into.

You can also use the body of your email to introduce yourself, explain why they have been contacted and possibly explain any incentives with greater clarity. Try to keep your email short and sweet and focus on getting your contact to click on your survey link above all else. If your email is too long, you are more likely to deter your respondent from taking part in your survey. Keep it to 2 paragraphs of no longer than 5 sentences if possible.

Also, do not forget the importance of your subject line. Entice your contacts to open your email with your subject line, but do not mislead or trick people into opening your email. You want and need their trust for reliable answers from them.

Note: the same techniques can be used for your main survey also.



Keep your survey as short and simple as possible. The biggest challenge here is getting your target audience to take time out of their day to give you their input, so make it a painless process for them.

Shorter surveys generally have higher response rates and lower abandonment - 5 minutes or less is the optimum length for your survey. Within your introduction, let people know roughly how long the survey will take to complete.

Make the questions simple as possible and only ask relevant questions. If you don't need to know where they live, don't ask. The most effective questions are closed questions (such as, yes/no, rating scales, multiple choice). And be very aware not to use leading questions unless you want to destroy the authenticity and sincerity of the data you get back.

It is sometimes a good idea to leave open question at the end for people to add further comments if they wish to. All your primary questions should be asked before this last open question. Allow respondents to opt out of this last open question.

Remember that open questions are harder to analyze, so don't ask them unless you are ready and willing to read them carefully and take the time to properly and fully evaluate these answers.

6. Whilst most of your energy should be used in the questions you ask, an often underestimated aspect of your survey is it's visual impact on the respondent.

Make your survey look inviting and eye catching to the user. Take advantage of survey customization by adding logos, branding colors or relevant images.

Using a variety of question types (free-field, multiple choice-questions, rating scales) keeps the respondents attention. They will be more likely to think about their answers more fully rather than resorting to "automated answering mode".

Configure each question intuitively and apply a logical order to your questions. You want there to be continuity in your questions. If you need to ask a variety of topic questions, consider sub-sections, headers or separate surveys per topic.

7. Testing is a massive part of marketing and your surveys should be treated no differently if you want maximum results.

Don't just send out one survey to everyone and expect it to be the best. You need to test it!

Create a split test for your survey. Compile two versions of your survey and internally label them as survey A and survey B. Then send 50% of your contacts survey A and the other 50% survey B. Then track the responses you get.

For example, survey A could offer a reward for taking part, whilst survey B doesn't; survey A is colorful, survey B is simple; survey A is longer than survey B; survey A is distributed via your website pop up, survey B is emailed directly to members... and so forth

Then track the responses you get from each survey. So, if you discover that you get better response rates by sending out your surveys on Wednesday morning than on Friday evening, start sending out the Friday evening survey on Wednesday morning.

Also, consider pre-testing your survey to 20 people and ask for their feedback on your survey. Rather than asking them about the answers to the questions themselves ask them what were they didn't understand in the survey, or what they did/didn't like about the survey? Did they take a point of view not covered in your answers or question?

Similarly, if a survey question provided no valuable insight, don't ask that question again.

8. A way to ensure higher response rates, you can offer rewards or incentives to complete your survey if appropriate. People like the idea of getting something for their time and incentives have been known to reliably boost response rates by up to 50%.

Make your incentives relevant to your survey to avoid "fake submissions" from people looking to get the reward rather than focusing on the survey. If you are asking about a service your are providing, consider offering a 7-day trial of the new and improved version that you are basing on these survey answers.

If respondents get the chance to use the service being asked about, they will then take more care over their answers.


9. Consider your sample size - your sample size can often make or break your survey results. Generally, the larger your sample size, the better and more accurate your result analysis will be. Your sample size depends on the type of survey you are conducting, who your target audience is and your desired margin of error.

For example, if you are conducting a small survey, at least 100 people would be a good number of responses. If your sample size is too small, you are at a higher risk of inaccurate data analysis.

10. So you established your target audience, your targeting survey was completed and now you have sent out your tried and tested survey. Now what? Do you sit back and wait for the data to come rolling in?

Well, you can just wait, but this is where you get to boost your response rate even higher. Like we said before, the larger your sample size, the better and more accurate your result analysis will be.

Don't be shy to chase responses and follow up on your survey. By sending out reminders to those who haven't previously responded, you can often significantly increase your response rates.

If you have used an autoresponder to email your survey to others, there are often features you can used to automatically send follow up emails to those who have not yet opened your email. Or you can chase up those who have clicked on your survey link, but not yet filled it in.

And there you have it!

By taking care in how you write your questions, who you send them to, how you construct your survey and where send out your surveys and how you follow up on them, you increase your chances of high response rates and reliable, accurate results.