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Five tips to engage participants during insight communities in healthcare

Insight communities, or market research online communities as they are also known, are one of the fastest growing general market research methodologies – and we’re pleased to report that the healthcare industry is finally catching up and getting on board, too. It’s pretty easy to see why they’re so popular: when they are well managed, Market research online communities can provide unique insights into participants’ minds, allowing researchers to access qualitative information whilst enabling participants to voice their opinions in a safe and secure setting.

Not only that, but insight communities are also faster and more cost efficient than traditional methods and allow researchers to access participants anywhere, anytime – and because they can fit in around respondents’ busy lives, they also have higher response rates. The key to getting the most out of your MROC, however, is by truly engaging with your participants

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1) Be there to listen

Making your respondents feel appreciated is one of the most important parts of running an insight community. After all, if your participants feel their opinion is valued, they will be more likely to open up and share their thoughts and feelings, which is especially important when discussing sensitive topics in healthcare market research. That’s why it’s so important to have a dedicated Community Manager to answer any questions and listen to their opinions. By answering any queries and responding to their responses as soon as possible, as well as thanking them for their contribution, your participants will feel valued which in turn will help to maximise engagement.

2) Make it easy to participate

Making sure you choose the right software is one of the most important ways to ensure the overall experience of your insight community is as seamless as possible. When choosing your software, there are a number of things to consider such as accessibility, functionality, performance, security, synchronicity, cost and customisation to ensure the overall user experience is as positive as possible. Be careful to rigorously test your software to make sure it does what you need it to do, as well as testing it on participants before the community starts to iron out any problems. Also consider choosing software with mobile capabilities – if participants can take part in the community on-the-go, you should see those response rates climb.

Market research online communities

3) Break the ice

Successful insight communities or market research online communities depend on strong relationships – not just between the researcher and participants, but between the participants themselves. After all, you can’t expect people to share their innermost thoughts with people they hardly know. That’s why it’s important to include an icebreaker at the start of the community, such as asking each member to reveal three interesting things about themselves, or perhaps asking them to share a childhood dream or their first memory, to let everyone get to know each other before the project starts. By ensuring your participants feel comfortable with each other, you should get better results.

4) Reward for contributions

It goes without saying that in any research project, some participants will be more engaged than others – and it’s important you find ways to combat this to make sure you’re getting the most out of each and every community member. From spot prizes to publicly praising those that get involved, by rewarding participants for their contribution in addition to the original incentive received for taking part in the research, you can encourage others to get involved too.

5) Don’t be a bore

If you want to keep your participants engaged, you have to keep them interested – which is why you should offer a variety of different tasks to mix things up and keep the project exciting. By offering frequent, fun activities and tasks that appeal to the participants rather than long, complicated and time-consuming ones, you can ensure that your participants continue to be excited by your insight community and keen to open up and share their thoughts. Find out more about how to select the right tasks for your insight community here.

If you’ve been asked to run an insight community and want to find out more about online qualitative research, why not download our mobile guide and discover everything you need to know about market research online communities?

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