Five best practices for crafting the perfect survey invitation email

August 1, 2018

Why you should leverage survey invitation emails

Survey invitation emails are a lucrative way to get a statistically significant response rate when distributing your survey. 

With the number of email users worldwide projected to rise to 2.9 billion by 2019, according to Statista — along with research by Litmus which tells us 72 percent of people prefer email over other channels of communication – integrating a process to optimize this distribution channel is proven to be worthwhile.

With so many people around the world leveraging email in their daily lives, it seems obvious to use it as a primary source of survey distribution, yet it’s often underutilized by many market researchers. 

Email survey distribution tools allow researchers to quickly target the audience they want to reach, build email lists for future projects to ensure they are receiving high-quality data, and engage in cost-effective communication.

Email communication is not just convenient for the researcher but also for the recipient.

In today’s increasingly digital world, people do not need to sit at a desktop to access their email. In fact, it seems that there are few digital devices with which people cannot access their email.

Currently, 74 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email, according to Gartner.

With so many people checking their email accounts on a mobile device, recipients of survey invitation emails have more flexibility in terms of when and where they read the survey invitation or take the survey than with other forms of communication.

Why your emails might be ineffective

When distributing surveys via email, some researchers may find that people are not opening their emails or are not clicking the link to take the survey. 

Some of the top survey email invitation errors that can occur include:

  • The subject line is too long or not sufficiently informative 
  • The body copy is too long and intimidating to read
  • The content is formatted improperly
  • The request/task is not made clear
  • Too much jargon is used
  • The writer does not proofread

These common mistakes can directly affect the timeline, budget, and effectiveness of a research project. Therefore, it’s imperative to abide by the following email survey invitation best practices to help ensure your research project is a success.

Crafting the perfect survey invitation email with five simple best practices

Nearly 105 billion emails are sent each day; this number is expected to reach 246 billion before 2020, according to research by The Radicati Group, Inc.

Therefore, researchers should follow these survey invitation email best practices to cut through the noise.

1. Develop an engaging subject line.

With a survey invitation email, researchers want the reader to complete an action. Therefore, it is often useful to write subject lines that tell the reader to take a specific action.

Another way to make subject lines more engaging is to personalize them by including the recipient’s first name, their geographic location, or some time-relevant messaging.

The length of the subject line is also essential for a successful survey invitation email.

“With 67 percent of email opens taking place on mobile, we recommend using subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to make sure the people scanning your emails read the entire subject line,” states Olivia Allen, digital strategy coordinator at Kforce.

2. Disclose the nature of the research project.

Without going into too much detail and making the email too long, it is imperative to outline the research purpose of your survey, the intended response usage, and why the recipient was chosen to take the survey.

Many recipients may not feel comfortable sharing information about themselves if they do not fully understand why they are part of the project, in large part due to the many recent data security breaches impacting consumers. People are increasingly interested in the use of their information. 

3. Mention the length of the survey and the time it will take to complete.

If your survey is short, mentioning the length could help pique the recipient’s interest and make them more willing to take a few moments and fill out your survey.

On the other hand, people may only give partial responses and become fatigued if your survey is long — and they did not expect it. They may not have time right away to take the survey, and it is better for them to know upfront how long they will need to complete it.

4. Describe any incentives (optional).

Clearly explain and highlight response incentives in the email. Check with your legal counsel and include or link to any appropriate legal language regarding the incentive.

5. Create a sense of urgency with a hard deadline.

Without a deadline, people may believe they have time to revisit your email later, procrastinate, or end up forgetting about the survey altogether. After all, with the rate at which people receive emails every day, it’s easier than ever before to overlook the messages that matter. 

Create a sense of urgency by providing a deadline to nudge the recipient to take the survey, and use the timeframe to schedule reminders as the deadline approaches.

By following these five best practices, you’ll be well on your way to sending effective, successful survey invitation emails that will enhance your overall research strategy.

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