Creating a survey that will gather great data for you is just the first step to success - you also need to convince a large number of your potential respondents to actually complete it as well. And the best way to do that is by writing a compelling survey invitation email.
When your invitation to complete a survey is written in a way that makes your respondents take action, you can see much higher survey response rates. And that means your survey gets better data, and you learn more from the results. Sound great? It is! Here’s our guide to writing the best survey invitation emails.
What is a Survey Invitation Email?
Simply put, a survey invite email is an email you write introducing your survey to the people to who you would like to respond it. They’re necessary because you can’t simply send just the survey all by itself to your potential participants - you need to tell them who you are, inform them about the purpose of the survey, and explain to them why they should take it.
This is true whether you’re sending a survey out to your employees, your customers, or to people who aren’t familiar with your organization. You’re asking people to take time out of their busy days to craft thoughtful survey responses, so you need to explain why spending that time will be beneficial for you and for them.
If you fail to do this, you’ll get a small number of survey responses and your survey data won’t be very comprehensive or complete. Too many organizations ignore this critical part of survey design at their own peril.
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can create a survey email that will entice your respondents and get you a high response rate. We’ll also show you survey email examples and sample survey templates you can use to craft your own excellent survey invitation emails.
How to Write a Survey Invitation Email?
Your survey invite email should include a few simple items to maximize its effectiveness.
A Clear Sender.
While many organizations use outside vendors to create and manage their surveys, the survey invitation should be clear from you. That’s because you don’t want to create confusion or end up in spam folders. Email recipients are pretty likely to ignore any emails they get from an unknown email address, so ensure the invite comes directly from you.
An Inviting Subject Line.
The subject line is the first part of your invitation respondents will see in their inbox - make sure it entices them to actually want to open the email. It should be clear that you’re asking them to take a survey, and it should avoid any seemingly spammy tactics like too many exclamation points.
Why You Chose Them.
Next, make sure your email talks about why you chose to send them this survey. What makes them the target audience? Why is their feedback important to you? And ensure you address them in a way that’s consistent with your brand voice and audience as well - use the appropriate level of formality in your intro.
What the Survey is Doing.
Why are you conducting this survey? It’s important to tell your potential respondents so they can understand why you want them to take action. Giving people the “why” helps motivate them, because they understand what their feedback will improve. You should also let them know if their feedback will be anonymous or the survey results will be made public so they can make an informed decision.
The Time Commitment.
Your survey respondents are probably pretty busy - how much time can they expect to invest in taking this survey? If they know it’s short, like five minutes or less, they are more likely to take a bit of time to participate. And while you might be tempted not to tell them if it’s a long survey, that doesn’t encourage them to finish it - they’ll probably just abandon the survey halfway through when it becomes clear that it’s a big-time commitment.
What They Will Get.
A pretty powerful way to get more responses to your survey is to offer your participants a reward. This isn’t just about getting something - it’s a way to show them that you’re truly appreciative of the time they took out of their busy day. The amount of your reward can vary based on the audience and the time commitment, as taking a quick three-minute survey won’t need as much of an incentive as a highly detailed 30-minute one. Make sure you are clear about the incentive early on in the email so that participants are enticed right away, and you will drive higher survey response rates for sure.
How Results in Will Be Shared.
This may not apply to your survey, but if you do plan on sharing survey results in some way, it’s great to tell potential participants that upfront. For surveys like employee feedback surveys, it’s helpful to tell your respondents what you will do with the feedback they share so they’re more motivated to answer. If people think their responses will just go into a box somewhere and no action will be taken, they’re less like to answer.
The Urgency of Answering.
Creating a sense of urgency helps drive respondents to answer more quickly. Otherwise, they may have the intention to take it at some point later, but get distracted and forget. You can give a hard deadline for the closing of the survey, or tie your survey incentives to completing the survey within a certain timeframe to drive more responses.
Survey Invitation Email Examples
Now that you know what elements go into creating a successful survey request email, you’re almost ready to begin writing your own survey invitations. To give you a more complete picture of how to write a survey email, here are a few survey request email samples.
Customer Feedback Survey
Here is a great survey email example from Slack, asking people who use its software to complete a quick survey.
Notice that it begins with a warm, casual greeting. Then it tells recipients that they’re in a select group of people (how flattering!) chosen to participate, and asks them very politely to give feedback. It also tells readers exactly how long the survey will take, and thanks to them for their time.
This survey email sample from Headspace is also very to-the-point: it gets immediately to the information that this is a survey, why taking it will help headspace users like themselves, and how little time is needed to take the survey. The graphics are a fun touch as well.
The clothing brand Vince has opted to offer survey respondents the chance to win a significant prize if they complete the survey - a powerful way to get more survey responses. And they don’t hide the offer behind lots of text. Instead, they get right to the point to let potential respondents know what’s in it for them.
Kate Spade’s email survey invitation offers guaranteed savings to respondents, instead of just the potential of winning big. They also explicitly tie the reward for taking the survey to their gratitude to customers who opt to help out. And they use their casual, friendly brand voice so it’s clear that this is really them asking for feedback instead of some anonymous survey firm. That makes their biggest fans likely to answer and engage with the brand.
Sample Survey Email Template
If you’re looking to create your own highly effective survey invite email, you’re almost ready! With our survey invitation template, you can adjust and adapt the language to your needs and add your own graphics.
Thanks for your recent purchase! We hope you’ll participate in our customer experience survey.
It will only take 3 minutes to complete
It will help us serve customers like you even better
You’ll get a free reward as a thank you for your participation
The survey will be open until [date].
Your answers will remain anonymous and will provide insight into our customer service experience.
We hope you’ll take three minutes to take the survey and enjoy your free reward!
As you can see, this is a basic starting point for your email survey invitation. You can (and should) customize all the components to fit your brand voice and customer needs. Remember - keep it short, keep it clear, explain why the survey is important, and offer genuine thanks to your respondents.
With these survey invitation examples and templates, you’ll be well on your way to creating survey emails that get high response rates and give you great data!
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At Xoxoday, we deeply understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engagement drivers of people, be it an employee, supplier, contract staff, gig or consumer. We bring simplicity and continuity to a complex, everyday problem.