How To Increase Email Survey Response Rates


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Email surveys are an indispensable tool for businesses to gather valuable insights from the target audience. It is one of the traditional channels preferred by a larger section of the population to receive marketing communication. 

The challenge, however, lies in encouraging audiences to respond to the survey. Securing a robust response rate helps you gather data that reflects the diverse opinions and sentiments of your audience. Low response rates hinder data accuracy and impede the effectiveness of email surveys

In this blog, we’ll navigate this challenge and learn how to increase email survey response rates in 11 ways while also exploring the factors impacting the response rates.

What is an email survey response rate?

Email is the central distribution platform for online surveys. The average email survey response rate is around 25% across various industries. 

As such, it’s incredibly important to do what you can to make sure that your survey invitation email shows up in respondents’ inboxes and captures their attention so they click and complete the survey.

When we talk about email survey response rates, we have to look at two central components of what makes them successful: deliverability and content.

Deliverability refers to an email’s probability of landing in the target respondent’s inbox.

SendGrid defines successful email deliverability as a message arriving in the inbox of the recipient as intended. Email deliverability failure is when your message falls into the junk/spam folder or is blocked by an ISP.

Content, in this context, refers to the actual copywriting of the email invite: the subject lines, the links, the call-to-actions, etc. It’s crucial that you test, optimize, and edit your email content regularly.

Keep reading to get our tips on these two important elements to driving email clicks and, in turn, survey responses from your target audience!

11 Tips to increase email survey response rates

Let’s address the purpose of this blog: how to increase email survey response rates. In this section, we share some technical tips and some survey tips to help you identify what might be causing low response rates for your email survey campaigns. 

4 tips for technical design

1. Do an IP warmup

A new IP address is classified as cold because it lacks a reputation score.

It is an email marketing best practice to start an IP warmup with a list of your most recently subscribed recipients, a lower volume than your full list. Start with welcome emails that serve as a permission reminder and reiterate your value proposition (i.e., have your voice heard by responding to our surveys).

2. Avoid spam words

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most email domains filter out emails based on certain words used in the subject line (more on optimized subject lines below).

The list of words to avoid is constantly evolving, but we can share a few words here:

  • Make/earn $
  • Free
  • Lowest price
  • Get paid
  • Extra income

Email domains are just trying to protect their users from receiving spam mail. So, email senders, like online survey providers, need to ensure that they’re not unknowingly using words that could be flagged.

3. Build a preference center

Being marked as spam by your recipients is a surefire way to negatively impact your deliverability. Ensuring that your potential survey respondents are opted in is critical.

In that same notion, we suggest that you provide flexible options for managing their email preferences.

An email preference page can replace a simple unsubscribe page – so the recipient can choose which kind of communication they wish to receive.

4. Design mobile-friendly surveys

As mobile devices dominate our digital landscape today, you have to adapt your email survey design accordingly. Utilize online survey tools that enable you to design mobile-responsive surveys, adjusting to various screen sizes, and making it more interactive. 

46% of email survey opens occur on mobile devices, highlighting the importance of designing mobile-responsive surveys. 

Here are a few things you need to consider for the mobile-friendly survey: 

  • Button should be easily tappable. 
  • Respondents should be able to read the text without needing to zoom in. 
  • Navigation must be user-friendly.

100+ question types, advanced logic, branching, CSS customization, white-label, multi-lingual surveys, and more.

7 tips for email content

Let’s look at some survey content that you can refine to influence the email survey response rates. 

1. Refine your subject lines

Beyond excluding any kind of spam words in your subject lines, there is so much room for creativity here!

You can test the effectiveness of your subject lines by checking the metrics of your past emails. Which one got the highest open rate? Can you expand on the tactics used there?

Personalized subject lines in email surveys can increase open rates by 29.3%.

Here are a few quick tips to consider.

  • Try incorporating emojis! Here is a complete emoji directory.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Do not clickbait or mislead recipients.
  • Give recipients a sense of urgency (but avoid spam words).
  • Shorter subject lines often perform better.

Remember: you must constantly test your emails – more on that in tip #4 below!

2. Speak the respondent’s language

Translate your surveys into the preferred languages of your target population. To gather diverse yet meaningful data, you need to speak the language of the participants. Leverage online survey tools offering automated survey translation to translate the survey content. 

Keep your questions simple and survey consistent across all geographies. 

3. Use effective call-to-actions

Once a recipient opens your email invitation for your survey, you need to use creative copy to get them to follow through on the prompt within the email.

You must provide clear, direct language that asks the recipient to do something. You can use action-oriented words – which often means using a verb, depending on the context.

Like the subject line, shorter email content tends to work better. However, in the world of survey distribution, you should also make sure to contextualize your study, so the potential respondent/email recipient is incentivized to click.

4. Test what works

When we discuss email content, whether that be the subject line, the body text, or the call-to-action, testing is king.

You can test and optimize your emails by looking at the metrics of previous emails sent, and checking for things like open rate and clickthrough rate.

A better open rate often indicates that the subject line was successful. A higher clickthrough rate means the copy or CTA was enticing for recipients.

In order to get the best results with your survey distribution, keep a close eye on these metrics and continually improve on what you’ve sent in the past.

Good email distribution practices are an essential component of driving survey responses for your online surveys.

5. Timing is key

With constant digital distraction, your target audience will pay fleeting attention to your email communication. This means timing is pivotal in determining the success of email survey response rates. 

Carefully consider the time and days when your target population is most likely to be receptive to your email survey. Additionally, use “warm-up” emails that give your respondents a heads-up about the survey topic a day or two before the main survey is sent. 

6. Build trust and credibility

When data privacy and concerns are of utmost importance, you should focus on establishing trust and credibility. When sending your email survey, start by explaining the purpose of the survey in clear language and how the respondent’s feedback will contribute. 

Make sure to assure the participants that their responses will be kept confidential and only used for the research. Design a survey with the white-label capability to add brand elements to your survey that incorporate trust. 

7. Express gratitude for participation

Gratitude influences a powerful sentiment that can help you nurture a strong relationship with the target audience. Express genuine appreciation as respondents are investing their time to share their insights with you. 

Post-survey, send a thank-you message or add a thank-you page at the end of the survey that acknowledges their contribution and highlights the impact of their feedback. 

What is the importance of high response rates?

A higher or lower response rate impacts the quality of the data. Higher email survey response rates play a pivotal role in ensuring data accuracy, reliability, and usability. Here, let’s explore why a high response rate is crucial.

1. Data accuracy: 

A smaller response rate indicates that there is a greater chance that the data won’t represent the target population. 

High response rates increase the possibility that the respondents belong to a diverse group of people, thus reducing the risk of bias and providing a more accurate portrayal of the population. 

2. Statistically significant findings: 

A large response pool increases the statistical significance of your survey result. This ensures reliability, enabling you to draw meaningful conclusions and make informed decisions based on empirical evidence. 

3. Actionable insights: 

Higher email survey response rates provide rich and diverse datasets that help you uncover dynamic market trends, customer opinions, and behavior, helping you to implement changes that resonate with your audience. 

> Meet respondents where they are. 

> Drive completion. 

> Deliver seamless survey experiences.

What are the factors affecting email survey response rates?

There are several factors that impact email survey response rates. Here we have compiled a list of variables that can affect the response rate so you can determine how to increase the email survey response rates. 

Survey-related factors: 

  1. Length of the survey can overwhelm respondents, leading to survey fatigue and abandonment. 
  2. Complicated survey questions can confuse participants, causing drop-offs. 
  3. Lack of relevant questions can disrupt respondents’ interest in the survey, leading to a low response rate. 
  4. Without a clear introduction to the importance of your survey and respondents’ insights, they might not want to invest their time.
  5. Quality of the survey sample recruitment process. 

Respondent-related factors: 

  1. Busy schedules can distract respondents from participating in your surveys. 
  2. Lack of incentive can also be discouraging to participants who are investing their time in your survey. 
  3. Apprehension about data privacy can lead participants to avoid sharing personal information. 
  4. Perceived legitimacy of the email survey can also impact email survey response rates. 

Technical issues:

  1. Email surveys that aren’t optimized for mobile devices can alienate a huge portion of potential respondents. 
  2. Poor navigation, slow loading, or confusing interface can frustrate respondents, causing them to drop off. 

See how you can design branded surveys with smart flow using Voxco Online.

→  500+ global brands in 40+ countries 

→ 100Mn+ annual surveys


Increasing your email survey response rates demands a holistic approach. Our blog should help you identify what is contributing to low response rates for your email survey campaign. Use the tips to refine your email surveys and amplify participation. 

The 11 tips on how to increase email survey response rates may seem overwhelming and a lot to keep track of. However, by using a robust online survey tool you can seamlessly design and run email survey campaigns. A platform like Voxco can help take care of heavy lifting enabling you to effectively increase survey response rates.

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