As marketers, we understand the importance of data analysis in the decision-making process. Whether you are collecting customer feedback about your products and services or gathering insights to guide your upcoming product launch, customer surveys can be extremely helpful. They allow you to extract information straight from the source: your audience.

In this article, you will learn how to use email marketing to send customer surveys and optimize your response rates.

How to increase email survey response rates?

You must treat your survey email campaign just like any other type of email campaign you want your customers to engage with.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when preparing your survey invitation email:

Know your audience

Before you begin designing your email invitation, you must first understand your audience and their behaviors. This will help with crafting questions and also selecting optimal times to send your questionnaire, so it doesn’t get lost in the millions of emails in their inbox.

If your questionnaire is work-related or is focused on a work product, the ideal time to send is during work hours between Tuesday and Thursday, while non-work-related questionnaires can be sent during work hours or over the weekend.

Knowing your audience also involves going through and filtering your email list. Create segments based on something you know about your list — gender, experience with your product, etc.

Offer an incentive

Most people don’t respond to surveys simply because they don’t see what is in it for them. Surveys are time-consuming, and it doesn’t help that most survey designs seem impersonal.

Research shows that offering an incentive increases response rates by up to 15%, depending on the quality and relevance of the incentive to the target audience.

Incentives can vary according to the industry and your business type:

  • Fashion and retail brands usually offer a coupon or a discount code on upcoming purchases. For most brands a fashion email marketing strategy will include seasonable pricing and discounts, sales, etc.

25% Off is More

  • Saas and B2B companies instead offer exclusive access to guidebooks and resources or promise to share the survey findings once the research has been concluded. Others prefer to offer a discount (or free) license to the software package


Incentives also depend on the survey itself:

  • For long surveys: vouchers, coupons, or monetary rewards are the most effective incentives.
  • For shorter incentives: giveaway draws and contest winners are the most effective.


Personalize your survey emails

We all know by now that personalized emails perform better than standard emails. This also applies to survey email invitations. By simply including your subscriber’s first name in the email subject line or email body, you can increase survey email response rates by 7% according to a study conducted by Dirk Heerwegh.

Personalized customer or client feedback surveys have a higher chance of getting a response. Just because it’s from a company doesn’t mean it has to be boring. People are more likely to open an email if it’s addressed to them, rather than “Dear Friend” or “Dear Customer”.

Keep your surveys as short as possible

Studies show that the longer the survey, the more likely the response rate will be lower.
Don’t waste the respondent’s time and yours too by asking questions you already know the answers to. Keep it short, simple, and relevant.

Include a progress bar in your survey design

This indicates how far they have gone. Also, include a save option, which allows them to keep their progress and complete the survey later.
If you put questions in the email itself, stick to a maximum of three.

progress bar in survey

Consider a one-question survey embedded in your email

One trick to getting a high response rate on, for instance, a customer feedback email or client feedback email is to keep it short. One question will do the trick.

The best part is being one-question surveys is that you can embed it within the email, rather than redirect participants to a landing page.

You can also use this method to get your customers started on your 10 question questionnaire. You can get them started by embedding the first question and redirecting them to the remaining 9 with a CTA button.

uber survey email

Read more | Lessons to learn from Uber’s email marketing 

Keep your email survey invitation short

Even if your survey is not short, you can try to keep your email survey concise and straight to the point. This helps you convey a clear message and might increase engagement rates.


Send a follow-up or reminder email to non-completing responders

According to a study conducted by Peoplepulse, survey response rates increased to 40-60% after 1 follow-up email. Depending on your timeline, you can send a survey reminder email after 10 days or less.


How to plan your survey email campaign?

The recommended period to run an online survey campaign is 2 weeks, in order to get the most responses.
Over half of your responses will come in on the first day of your survey launch.
The best time to send your survey emails is in the morning, at the start of the workday, between 6 and 9:00 am – but not on Monday.

Survey email subject lines

Your subject line is the first thing your respondents see and it can either get you the data you need or have your respondents ignore your email altogether.

Crafting a good subject line is great, but you must also consider the devices it will be viewed on. For instance, a good number of your respondents will see your email on their mobile phones. It is advisable to stick to short subject lines, preferably six to seven words.

Take a look at how Artifact Uprising designed an engaging email with an engaging subject line: “Have A Moment?”

have a moment - survey email subject line

Survey email subject lines

We have compiled a list of engaging and compelling subject lines that you can use for your email surveys.

  • Free $20 Gift Code! – Tell us about your [product] experience.
  • For a chance to win $10,000 worth of prizes, take our short 5-minute survey!
  • [Name], Help Us Understand the [topic]
  • We want to know more about you
  • Take Our [topic] Survey – Get a $20 Coupon
  • Ellie, your opinion matters!
  • We need your help
  • We want to know more about you
  • Your opinion can make a difference!
  • Tell Us [topic] (Example: Tell Us Where You Want To Go Next)
  • Take the [Brand] customer survey and you could win a $100 gift card
  • It takes less than 15 minutes to help [target audience]- here’s how
  • Let your voice be heard
  • 2 minutes for 15% off!
  • Last Day To Be Entered To Win $250 For Taking Our Survey!

How to create the perfect survey invitation email

Your invitation’s design is just as important as your questionnaire, customer feedback form, client feedback form or even your customer satisfaction form. It’s what gets people in the door to tick those boxes. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of best practices in putting together a better design to yield eye-opening results.

Notify your audience

Having an excellent survey invitation email design is no use if you have no one to collect data from. A great way to get people interested is to notify them so they can look out for it. Make sure to answer questions like:

  • Why you are collecting the data
  • Why you selected them and what the data will be used for
  • When or how soon they should expect the survey


Avoid the spam folder at all costs

All your hard work can quickly go down the drain if your email somehow finds its way to the spam folder. So how do you avoid it?

One of the ways to keep your survey invitation email out of spam is by excluding certain trigger words from your survey email subject line, as some email clients are programmed to filter such trigger words.

Some of these trigger words are Free, Money, 100%, Cheap, Offer, Lowest Price, Dear Friend, Bonus, Congratulations!, etc.

Another way is to make sure your company email is easily recognizable at a glance. There are two ways to send a company email: Either from the company name or from an employee’s name, preferably a high-level employee, as this conveys more authority.
You can see in the image below how did it earlier this year.


Download our 2021 guidebook on email testing and how to avoid spam filters!

Protect your subscriber’s information

Respect the privacy of your respondents. Be sure to tell them how their data will be used. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you are required by law to tell people how you intend to use their data.

Therefore, include an easy-to-comprehend privacy disclaimer We recommend creating a landing page with a more detailed privacy policy and simply linking to it in your email footer. Here’s an example of this practice.


Please read our article about spam law and email privacy around the globe if you want to keep your emailing legal.

Provide a deadline

Will my customers or clients still fill out my customer feedback form if I state a deadline in my email? Yes! Research shows that providing a deadline improves the responses considerably, as respondents are more likely to take the survey or save it for later if a little pressure is applied.
Don’t be uneasy about mentioning a deadline. It works all the time.
State your deadline in your notification email and survey invitation email. Don’t forget to send reminders too.

An eye-catching option is adding a countdown timer to your email.

Learn more about embedding countdown timers in your emails.

Use Branded Surveys

The importance of your email design or template cannot be stressed enough. A good subject line will get your respondents to open your email, but it is a well-designed, relevant invitation that will get your respondents actually to take your survey.

A simple, but effective design usually does the trick. Not to mention the importance of branded emails.

Maintaining your brand voice, tone, and look will help your subscribers recognize you and engage with your content.


Intercom did it well. They changed the color scheme and they placed a BIG logo into the survey email. Motherly sent out this beautiful survey email template, that is not only coherent with their brand’s visual guidelines but also perfectly summarizes the context of the survey. This makes the reader more engaged with the survey and outcome of the research.


Optimize your survey invitation email for mobile

Also, while you are personalizing, make sure your email is designed to be responsive on all devices. In this mobile and digital era, more than 70% of your clients will view your email via mobile phones. They will quickly lose interest if the message doesn’t appear correctly on their mobile phones.
I would suggest using an HTML template that’s responsive for mobile. At Chamaileon, we have a bunch of them, or you can create your own in minutes.


Give your respondents the opportunity to share your survey

Another way to increase responses is to have a share option on the last page of the questionnaire. This obviously depends on what kind of survey it is. If it is a customer or client feedback survey, it’s not very likely that your respondent would be able to share it.


However, if it is a general or generic survey, respondents would be able to share with their family or colleagues easily. You may also want to influence this action by offering incentives to those who share the survey. Don’t overdo it though, offer incentives from time to time and not all the time.

Thank your responders

Lastly, don’t forget to say thank you. A sure way to get your respondents to engage next time is to thank them properly. Some examples:

  • “Thank you for taking our customer feedback questionnaire.”
  • “Thank you for taking your time to take our 5-minute survey.”
  • “Thanks, you have been very helpful!”

Of course, since this will happen after the survey, the Thank You email will be a separate email altogether.


Share your survey findings if possible

The numbers are in: baby and parent sleep in 2020


How to add a survey to an email?

We will show you two ways how to add a survey to an email.

  • The one-click survey in an email with multiple response links embedded to an email
  • Button with a link to a survey

Quick one-click survey in an email with multiple embedded links

Here are the steps on how to add a quick survey with a one-click answer in an email with embedded response links:

  1. Create an email in your email editor with the question with all the possible answers in the email copy
  2. Create your survey in a Google form or use similar tools specialized for surveys (such as Interact or Typeform)
  3. Click ”Get prefilled link” (link of the response) in the survey form, select the response and then click ”Copy link”
  4. Add the link of the response you copied in your email in the text of the same response
  5. Repeat this step for every answer

Call to action with a survey link

Here are steps on how to create a survey email with a button with a link to a survey:

  1. Create an email with the copy asking the recipient to participate in a survey and a CTA button
  2. Create your survey in a Google form or use specialized tools for surveys
  3. Click ”Send” in the survey, copy the link and add it in your email to a button or a link in the email

Here is a video on how to do it.

Free survey invitation email templates

If you still haven’t found an example or a template that you can use in your campaigns or just don’t have any inspiration, we designed the following survey invitation email template that you can use in your email campaign.


Use this template for free

If you don’t have much experience building or inviting people to take a survey, or if you would like to get the best possible results without much hassle, I would suggest using a ready-to-use template. This will save time and avoid constant testing and tweaking. There are various templates available over the internet, such as:

  • Client feedback template
  • Customer feedback template
  • Survey invitation template
  • Email Questionnaire template
  • Survey reminder

You can use our free drag and drop editor to build your survey email template without any coding.

Wrapping up

As you can see, a lot goes into designing a survey invitation email and increasing your online survey response rates. Apply these actionable tips in your email design and get inspired by the survey email examples we provided and you will undoubtedly see improved opening and response rates.