The Survey Invitation: How to Get It Right
Having the taken the time to carefully prepare your survey and craft some compelling questions, you’ll want to achieve the best possible response to it, when you send it out.
The first thing your respondents will see is your survey invitation, so it’s vital to get it right.
When it comes to business users email remains one of the most popular survey distribution methods, not just because it’s still one of the most important business communication channels, but also the versatility it offers to personalise its content. Therefore, it’s important to craft the right survey invitation email.
While it may seem like a small detail, your survey invitation is essentially the deciding factor of whether someone decides to take your survey or delete the email without even opening it.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your email’s appeal, engagement with recipients and survey response rate.
Top tips for improving your survey invitation emails
Every survey and audience will be a bit different, so you may not want to include all of these points, in order to keep your survey short and concise.
However, whatever your survey is about and you’re looking to achieve, you should be able to improve its impact by incorporating some of these points into your survey invitation.
Make it personal
If you can personalise your invitation to include the respondent’s name and any other information you know about them such as the company they work for, this can have a really positive impact on their engagement levels.
The impact of personalisation can be even more powerful if you’re able to do this within your email subject line. According to studies this can improve open rates by up to 26%.
Keep your subject line short and catchy
While we’re on the topic of your email subject line, it’s important not to make it too long and risk respondents becoming lost or confused in trying to understand what your email is about.
Ideally you also need to make it clear in your wording that you’re after that respondent’s feedback, while still trying to catch their attention. You can keep it personal by putting in the respondent’s name too.
We’ve outlined a few sample survey email subject lines below.
“John, we’d love you to share your experiences with us”
“Hi John, how are you liking your new purchase?
“John, we’d love your views to help us improve our services moving forward”
Communicate what your survey is about
It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to communicate what your survey’s about and what you’re trying to achieve. People will be far less likely to click a link if they’re not sure what to expect.
Tell them how their information will be used
Equally important to communicating what your survey is about, is to inform respondents how you intend to use their data.
Whether you’re planning to use the data to help better inform future marketing campaigns, or shape future policies for that audience, which you’ll make available to them in a report. Whatever, it is, you must make sure you let your survey respondents know.
Even if you’ve informed them of how you will use the information they’ve provided, many respondents could still be nervous about taking your survey.
Tell respondents how long your survey will take to complete
Most respondents are busy people, so telling them upfront how long your survey will take will help them decide if they have enough time to complete it immediately or come back to it later, rather than abandoning it completely.
Obviously, your survey’s completion time will depend on the complexity of your questions and your survey’s subject matter. However, to get a more accurate idea of its completion time, you could benefit by testing it out with a select group of respondents first.
Let respondents know how long your survey’s open for
Depending on the type of survey you’re running, its length and its subject matter, you might plan to keep it open for just a few days, or a few weeks or months. However, by communicating this upfront you can ensure that you don’t put off busy respondents who would like to take your survey and return to it when they have a bit more time to complete it.
Tell respondents if you need to collect personally identifiable information (PII)
Some respondents will only take a survey, if they can be assured that it’s an anonymous survey that does not collect any PII.
Therefore, if you need to collect PII, you need to tell respondents of your intention to do this, as well as how you will use this information. You also need to whether entering their PII is optional or not as part of your survey.
Keep your survey invitation short and to the point
While we’ve already discussed a lot of points for you to consider, it’s important to try to keep your survey invitation as short and concise as you can.
If your survey invitation is too lengthy, your respondents might think your survey is also going to be too long, regardless of the survey completion time you may have communicated to them.
If you’ve got a lot you want to communicate, in order to keep things concise, you might consider putting some of the less critical information on a separate webpage and linking to it from the invitation. This could include frequently asked questions or a detailed version of how the data you collect will be used.
Always thanks respondents for their time
It’s always good practice to say thank you for completing the survey. After all they’ve already spent time opening your email and reading your survey invitation, when they could have skipped your invitation altogether.
They’re also likely to spend additional time taking your survey. So, be sure to be grateful in thanking them for the time they’ve already spent and will be likely to spend in taking your survey.
Optimise the impact of your current and future surveys
Thanking respondents for their time is a good way to sign off with your survey, but there are a few more things you can do to maximise your survey’s impact both now and for the future.
Firstly, no matter how strong your survey invitation, there will always be a few people who are just too busy to acknowledge it the first time around. So, always make sure you always have a mechanism in place to send reminders to these individuals and help maximise your survey’s response rates.
It’s always good practice to share your survey results, as most of those who’ve taken the time to complete your survey will want to know what impact their feedback has had. Not only this, but it will help encourage respondents to participate in any future surveys you may need them for.