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Five easy ways to increase engagement in medical market research online communities

If you want to access hard-to-reach respondents and target audiences with specific criteria, qualitative market research online communities are a great methodology. They’re a fast, efficient way for researchers to unlock in-depth insights and have a number of benefits for healthcare market researchers too: there are no geographical restrictions, they can fit into respondents’ everyday lives and they can also act as a kind of support group, allowing patients to come together and share their experiences.

However, an ongoing concern with medical market research online communities is how to maximise engagement and ensure they consistently deliver the very best results. From initial low response rates to respondents losing interest during the research itself, uninterested and disengaged respondents can have a big impact on your results – and not in a good way! So, what can you do to increase engagement in your healthcare market research? Read on to find out;

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1. Make sure they know the value of their role

If your participants understand how the results of your medical market research project will be used, they will be much more likely to want to take part. When conducting patient market research, for example, helping others in the same situation will be a big driver for those suffering from rare or low-incidence rate diseases – so make sure they know the value of the research and what they can bring to the table from the beginning. The same goes for HCPs who often specialise in a particular therapy area and will want to help improve the lives of their patients. Basically, by communicating the aims of your MROC and highlighting how important your participants’ opinions are, they will feel more appreciated and keen to take part.

Market research online communities

2. Always offer an incentive

It’s pretty standard to offer an incentive to participants to thank them for their time – and when it comes to medical market research online communities, incentives can really help to boost engagement levels. As well as offering an initial incentive to encourage them to take part in the first place such as a gift certificate, bank transfer or even a donation to a relevant charity, you can also offer additional incentives and rewards throughout the duration of the community to keep them engaged and interested. From polls where they can vote on different ideas and spot prizes for the best responses to bonuses for participants who give regular feedback, incentives are a great way to increase engagement. For further ideas on incentives, check out this blog.

3. Be sure to keep in contact

From HCPs’ demanding schedules to patients who need to fit research in around their everyday lives, your respondents are busy people with a lot going on – so if you want to boost your response rates, you need to keep in  contact with your participants right from the very beginning. From sending regular reminders in the lead up to your MROC in the form of texts, emails and follow-up calls to check they are still ready and willing to take part, keeping in touch with your respondents will not only help to boost initial response rates but it will also allow you to start building a rapport with your participants too. And when it comes to the research itself, it’s important to stay in contact with your respondents to make sure they remain engaged. Give feedback, be on hand to answer any questions and offer praise when they complete tasks to keep them focused- and if you can, sharing results and how it has benefited your client can encourage them even more!  

4. Make it fun!

When it comes to selecting tasks for your MROC, there’s a very fine line to walk: too much data and too many tasks can have a negative impact on respondent engagement, whereas not enough means your results will be lacking. We’d recommend keeping your tasks and questions focused on what you really need to learn and eliminate anything outside of that scope so you aren’t bombarding your respondents with too many questions. Additionally, try to make your community as enjoyable as possible! There’s nothing worse than dull and repetitive tasks – especially when dealing with HCPs who need to be interested enough to make time for the project and patients who will need to be completely engaged to share sensitive information. Keep your tasks fun and interesting and you’ll see those engagement levels soar! Click here for task ideas.

5. Ensure it’s user-friendly

Lastly, one of the most important ways to ensure your participants remain excited is to make sure your online community is user friendly. In order to get the most out of your MROC, you’ll need to choose the right software to support it. Select software that’s simple and easy-to-use, and your respondents will be keen to take part – but get your choice wrong and it could have a detrimental effect. Can your software be used on tablets or smartphones? Is it available via an app for ease of use? And are there suitable security measure in place? After all, you can’t expect your respondents to be willing to share sensitive information if your community isn’t completely secure. To make sure your online community is as seamless as possible, we’d recommend thoroughly testing it before your project begins to iron out any problems. Check out this blog for more hints and tips on how to choose the right software

Bonus tip – test it on yourself!

The best way to make sure you have created an engaging online community that will excite and motivate your respondents is to test it on yourself! If you find the software tricky to get to grips with or if the tasks don’t interest you, chances are your respondents will feel exactly the same way.

By following these five simple steps, you can really help to maximise engagement in your next medical market research online community! If you’re thinking about using an MROC for your healthcare market research, don’t miss our mobile guide to find out more about how we can help.