Our Success Stories: Recruiting in Remote or Rural Locations

Recruiting in a small rural town


When clients choose Eastcoast Research, they aren’t just getting a recruiting vendor – they are getting a research partner. Exceptional service to our clients is the cornerstone of our business; we are nimble, creative, responsive and able to think out-of-the-box. We provide collaboration, transparency and flexibility in our research methodologies to ensure data insights are reliable and of the highest quality.

We are also known for being the only market research company with three focus group facilities in North Carolina – Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington. Clients come to us for their research needs not only for our quality work and service, but because we can provide research in every North Carolina market – urban, suburban and rural.

Many of our clients contact us to determine our recruiting feasibility outside North Carolina. It is more common now for recruiting companies to only attempt projects that pertain to their immediate markets. Clients are finding it more and more difficult to locate companies that have both the skill sets and methodologies to recruit in remote areas and smaller towns outside major cities.  The recruit becomes even more difficult when clients are looking for specific segments in lower populated areas in the US.

I’d like to share a quick case study of a recent project we conducted for one of our great returning clients as well as discuss some of the success stories we had throughout the process.


Case Study

Case Study Context:

The project we accepted was recruiting a voter group in a very rural area in the US. The specific area our client was targeting overlapped two counties that encompassed a population of roughly 65K people. Within this area, the two largest towns had a maximum population of about 5K people each – very rural and isolated. We were asked to recruit two online focus groups, recruiting 12 total for 8-10 to show. All participants would be required to use a laptop, desktop or tablet with high-speed internet.


At face value, this project seemed almost impossible. There were many challenges our team assessed prior to taking on the project.

Sample Size

We generally evaluate the difficulty of a project by first determining the population of the area and focusing on the largest cities. With a majority of the population spread out in surrounding rural areas, we knew this would be negotiating this requires difficult.


All remote and rural areas have some overlapping cultural idiosyncrasies: more effort to establish trust with the potential participants and requires additional education on what we do and why their opinions matter. We also take into consideration in what part of the country the area is located.


Conducting online focus groups or interviews has its benefits and drawbacks. It is true that many parts of the country (specifically remote areas) still do not have high speed internet. We had to take in consideration that many people we would speak with either would not have access to the internet or a compatible device to allow them to participate.


This project was being conducted outside our home state. We would not be using a local phone number associated with the area and we would have no local assets or personnel to assist. With the rise of scam and robo-calls, getting the opportunity to speak with someone over the phone is becoming more and more difficult.


We decided to move forward with the project because of our experience recruiting in other remote areas and our past ability to overcome recruiting challenges. With these types of projects, it’s important to be transparent with clients regarding expectations. We PARTNER with our clients communicating anticipated feasibility and challenges for the project as well as our plan to overcome them.


Hand with digital recruiting image


It required our project management team to utilize every tool in our arsenal to find as many qualified participants as possible who were willing and able to participate in a 2-hour online focus group. Without having any historical data to know what methodology to utilize, our team began testing all of our recruiting processes, and creating some new ones, to determine which were the most effective.

Eastcoast Research uses a plethora of traditional and modern recruiting techniques to find hard-to-reach respondents. For this specific project, we first utilized traditional telephone recruiting through a client-provided list. We reviewed the list and consolidated it to produce a call list of the best potential candidates.

In tandem with our telephone recruiting, we implemented many of our modern recruiting tactics including our digital recruiting practices. These proprietary methodologies provide us with the ability to reach and contact individuals in a more passive manner, allowing them to show their interest first. By including many state-of-the-art technologies in our practices, we are able to find more participants in less time.


In about 10 days, we were able to recruit both groups. We spoke with every respondent, confirmed their participation and assisted in completing their tech check prior to the group date. Our client was absolutely thrilled with the show rate, our ability to recruit the project and the quality of the participants.

Participants discussing topics around a table in a focus group


“Thank you for all of your work recruiting people for these focus groups! I know the areas are really tricky and the participants last night were just the people we were looking for and they were very engaged throughout the group. I’m impressed you were able to find so many people in the area and the client was happy.”



Our team performs an extensive review of all our potential projects to determine feasibility. When we first received this project, it seemed too tight of a timeline, too many hours to complete and too costly for our client. But after our team assessed the project and developed a recruiting strategy, we were confident that the project would be completed successfully meeting the client’s specifications.

If you are unsure about a potential project based on market feasibility, please do not hesitate to contact Eastcoast Research. We are experts at taking on the most difficult of projects, successfully recruiting them on time and providing quality respondents. In addition to our major markets, we will continue to serve our clients by providing all our top line services to remote and rural areas across the US.

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