Email Surveys – Methods, Tips And Examples

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Mastering Email Surveys from Beginning to Send

Email has long been the channel of choice for marketers and service professionals. It’s the best way to reach people and get your message heard. So when it comes to survey distribution, it’s no surprise that email reigns. But there’s a bit more to it than plugging in a survey link and hoping for the best. We’ll cover email survey best practices that help you maximize response rates and get data you can count on.

Like any other customer communication, survey success depends a lot on the channel. Once upon a time, companies could only distribute surveys by phone or mail. Not only was it costly and slow, but it required a lot of effort on the part of the respondents. Spending 30 minutes on the phone with someone or filling out a mail survey then sending it back… it’s not walk in the park. Needless to say, survey response rates would often suffer, and the quality of the survey data would suffer with them.

Nowadays, the majority of surveys are sent by email, and for good reason. Email is the most dominant communication channel in the world, and the best email service providers offer an array of functionality that helps companies target the right people at the right time. Plus, email adapts well to the many devices we use. As mobile usage has risen, so has the percentage of emails opened on mobile.

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Beyond its versatility, email is different from other channels in its unique ability to set expectations. Unlike phone calls or mailers, emails give consumers a preview of what they’re getting. They see the sender name and know a company is contacting them, probably with an offer or request. This quality makes email especially useful for survey invitations, which are ultimately a bit more of an ask.

Lastly, email wins out among survey distribution channels because it can easily combine multiple pieces of content (and multiple purposes) into one. For example, an order confirmation might include the order summary, a link to an FAQ article, a list of other popular purchases, and a survey invitation. In other words, email can include multiple calls to action without repelling recipients.

email surveys - TuffShed

Email Surveys: Methods and Types with Examples

Embedded email survey

An embedded email survey, also called an email inline survey, is one of the most effective methods to conduct a survey. The survey is embedded in the email itself and the respondent can answer the questions directly in the email body. These surveys are usually short and it is recommended to not make them exhaustive. Respondents are less likely to complete inline surveys that are long, require long-form answers, or have complex questions. Since email providers have different user interfaces, it’s best to keep email inline surveys short and to the point so they display similarly across email hosts.

Since the survey cannot be exhaustive, close-ended questions are usually preferred for inline surveys. Some of the most widely used question types in embedded surveys are demographic questions, Net Promoter Score questions, and Matrix type questions. These simple questions are inviting to respondents, giving you a better chance of targeted respondents answering all questions.

One of the best survey email examples for embedded questions is a restaurant that wants to conduct a customer service survey with its existing customers. For a restaurant, it is very important that their customers are well-served and that they are satisfied with all the services provided to them. A customer service survey can be sent as an embedded email survey to these customers. Questions might include asking about the customer’s wait times, server disposition, or quality of food. These questions can be “yes/no” or “rating 1-5” satisfaction responses for quick survey completion.

Such a method is non-exhaustive and gets you valuable feedback in no time. Analyzing this data using powerful survey software such as customer satisfaction software can give you actionable insights to keep your customers happy and make them your brand ambassadors.

Email redirect survey

Email redirect surveys are survey invitation links sent to the targeted audience. The respondent can click on this link and be redirected to the survey page. Such a method is usually used when the surveys are longer. It enables the researcher to include open-ended questions, close-ended questions, as well as multiple standard and advanced question types. Being redirected to a page in their internet browser allows many survey respondents to feel less surprised if a survey is slightly longer than an embedded survey.

As another example, a cab services company wants to get feedback from its customers regarding the service that was provided to them. A cab services company is successful only if they are consistent in the quality of service they provide. Hence it is critical that such organizations ask for feedback and suggestions from their customers.

A survey invitation link can be sent to all their customers through email and feedback can be collected. Creating a survey, collecting data, and the analysis of that data can be done using robust survey software such as customer survey software. Email surveys software provides you with powerful insights which can help the organization devise customer-centric strategies.

9 Simple tips to create an effective email survey

  1. Simple and clear subject line – Your respondents will be more likely to open emails if the subject line is simple and clear. The subject line should convey what the purpose of the email survey is in a few words. For example, a respondent is more likely to open an email with the subject line “Help us to help you better”. Such a subject line showcases that the content of the email is to gather feedback about the customer service that was offered.
  1. Mention your audience portfolio – In the content of the email, you also need to mention that the respondent is chosen specially to conduct the survey. This shows your respondents that their opinion matters to you as a company. Creating a sense of importance goes a long way in getting higher responses for your email surveys. For example, “As a loyal customer to us, you have been specially selected to participate in our customer satisfaction survey”.
  1. Explain the survey objective – It is important to explain what you will do with the data that you are collecting. Points such as how the responses will help make better decisions or provide better service should be included in the content of the email. For example, “your feedback will help us serve you better”. Including such a statement assures the respondent that their feedback is important and valuable, thus leading to higher responses to the survey.
  1. Create a sense of urgency – When sending the email survey, use sentences like “Take the survey now”. It creates a sense of urgency and hence avoids delays to complete the survey. An option to take the survey later should also be mentioned in the content, as sometimes the respondent might genuinely be not able to take the survey immediately.
  2. Mention the time taken to complete the survey – It is important to mention how long it typically takes to complete the survey, as time is valuable to everyone. Usually, a survey should not take much time to complete as the response rate drops drastically for longer surveys. Consider taking the email survey questions yourself as a practice customer and timing your response. If the survey takes you 10 minutes, you can include this as an estimated time in your email so respondents understand the normal time the survey may take.
  3. Provide Incentives – When sending the survey invitation, mention what’s in it for the respondent. When a respondent is motivated by various types of incentives, the response rates for surveys increase. For example, a restaurant owner wants feedback from a customer about the quality of food in his restaurant. The owner can provide a 10% discount code to the respondents who complete the survey. This enables higher responses to email surveys.

Advantages and disadvantages of email surveys


  • High response rates since they require little effort to answer
  • Can lead into a longer survey on a landing page, resulting in larger feedback
  • Can be integrated with mailing or marketing automation software to automatically send surveys after certain actions performed by a user or customer to send a targeted and contextual survey. It also gives a possibility of enriching customer or leads profiles with collected answers
  • Can be integrated into automation software to automatically send targeted surveys to customers after they perform a specific action
  • In contrast to website surveys or live chat, email surveys don’t require adding any code to your website. Support managers can push the decision to start using mail survey more easily and the IT team won’t complain about additional work since there is none


How to Send a Survey via Email

How does embedding surveys in emails work?

How do I embed a survey in an email?

Why should I embed a survey into an email?

Will I be able to embed more question types in emails?

Choosing the right survey software means first deciding how you are going to use it. If you are aiming to collect NPS then a lot of tools out there might seem like a good choice, until you aim to personalize every aspect of your communication towards the user with your survey.

Since profile building capabilities should be your focus too, as well as possibilities to design your survey, personalize it with styles, fonts, and logos, and making it fit your email and communication strategies, make sure to choose the right survey software – such as Survicate.


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