Should I use color stationery in my survey mailing piece?

From time to time, we are asked if color stationery (versus black and white) should be used in a survey mailing piece. Our opinion: if you’re looking to use color to boost your survey’s response rate, the additional cost of color printing may not be worth it.

While the use of color on a cover letter and outgoing survey envelope may be considered esthetically pleasing, our recent test showed that the survey response rate will be about the same—color or no color.

In our test, we split a survey sample into two matched samples: half of the survey sample received a questionnaire with a cover letter and outgoing envelope printed in color; the other half received the same questionnaire, but with a cover letter and outgoing envelope printed in black and white.

The test result: those who received color stationery responded at a rate of 29%, while those who received black-and-white stationery responded at a rate of 30%.

The use of color stationery may be desirable from a branding or corporate-policy perspective. And, hey, if you already have color stationery on hand to use for your survey, no additional printing costs for you. Based on our test, if you choose to use color stationery, please don’t expect an increase in your survey’s response rate.

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