3 Ways to Increase Response Rates By Optimizing Survey Invitations

how to increase survey response rates

You’ve worked hard to design an interesting survey and are ready to send it to your target audience. But did you know that a few tweaks in the way you send out survey invitations can really help you get more responses?


Regardless of what type of audience you’re targeting, your survey email invitation plays a pivotal role in persuading them to complete your survey, or not. To ensure that your survey garners maximum engagement, follow the tips outlined below. You should also take critical look at your email template to ensure that it’s not only effective but also compliant.


First and foremost, ensure that the recipients have agreed to receive survey emails from you (or your company). If people aren’t expecting to receive email communication from you, they’re very likely to delete it or worse, mark it as a spam. This can seriously hurt your ability to connect with your prospects and customers, not only through survey emails but also transactional and marketing emails.


Before they open your email

If you want your survey invitation to be opened, you need to pay a lot of attention to the subject line and from email address. They’re often the first two pieces of information people see when they receive your invitation, and can make or break if they read your email or delete it.


To begin with, the email and name that your survey invitation is from, should be easily recognizable, whether it is the name of your company or an individual. Use a professional email address instead of something like fuzzy365@gmail.com that might appear spammy.


Keep your subject line short (35 characters or less) to ensure that they’re completely visible even on mobile phones. Remember that mobile email clients tend to truncate long subject lines, so try to get as much vital information about your survey as possible, in the early part of your subject line.


Also, avoid using all caps, exclamation signs, dollar symbols, or other keywords such as ‘free’, ‘offer’ that can trigger the spam filter. Use online spam checkers like IsNotSpam to check if your email is likely to be flagged as a spam.


Within the Email

Use merge codes in your email templates to include the recipient’s personal information (such as title, name). This will add a feeling of personalization in your communication and greatly increase the response rate. Here are other key points to consider in the body of your email:

  • Thank the recipient in advance for their participation in your survey and assure them that their responses will remain confidential
  • Describe the purpose of your survey and let them know why participating in the survey will benefit them
  • Indicate how long the survey will take, either as the number of questions or the amount of time required to complete it. On average, respondents can complete 5 closed questions or 2 open questions per minute.
  • Include a deadline to complete the survey, it encourages people to complete the survey immediately
  • Let respondents know that they’re a part of a select few who have been invited to participate.
  • If you’re offering any incentive, make it prominent
  • Include the link to your survey, and provide the steps to access it, so they know what to expect when they click the link. Also, mention if they’ll be redirected to another site upon completion of the survey.
  • You can also try embedding the first question of your survey in your email, so that when recipients click to answer it, they’re directly taken to your survey.


Keep the communication going

Once you’ve sent the initial survey invitation email, your communication with respondents shouldn’t end. To get the maximum number of responses, most likely, you’ll have to send a number of reminders to those who haven’t completed your survey yet.


These follow-up emails should follow the same best practices mentioned above – They should be personalized, have a clear content, and comply with all opt-out requests that you receive.


Also, make it a point to communicate your survey results to those who took it, and how it will be put into action. People want their responses to mean something, and like to know that it created an impact. This will only get you more responses for your subsequent surveys.


Reference the survey title or subject in your email’s subject line when communicating the results, and let them know that they’re receiving the email based on the completion of a recent survey. Although this might feel unnecessary, it’s essential to remember that people get a lot of emails everyday, and they may not remember filling out your survey.


Sample Survey Invitation Email

Here’s an example that you can use as a starting point and customize according to your requirements.


Hi {recipient’s name},


Thank you for taking the time to participate in our survey. We really value your ideas and opinions. By participating in the survey, you’re helping shape the future of {organization name}


{Let the recipient know how you’ll use the information and how it will benefit them}


We’ll surely let you know the compiled survey results in our next newsletter. You can {Let them know how they can share it}


{Mention where else you will be publishing the result – social media profiles, white papers, print magazines, case studies}


{If you are providing any incentive (such as coupons, freebies) for survey participation then mention the steps that the recipient must follow to redeem it}


You can always reach us on Facebook or on Twitter

{Give them a way to stay in touch with your organization}


{Your Name}

{Your designation and Organization name}


Wrapping up

Since you’ve put so much effort in designing a thoughtful survey, it only makes sense to take a few more steps that ensure maximum response. The key is to send the survey invitation email from a professional email address with an individual’s (or organization’s) name, provide a subject line that clearly describes your survey, make it easy for your respondents to access your survey and ensure that your email message is not too wordy.


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