Email is the central distribution platform for online surveys. As such, it’s incredibly important to do what you can to make sure that your survey invitation email shows up in respondents’ inboxes.

their attention so they click and complete the survey.

When we talk about email distribution for surveys, 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 the inbox of the recipient as intended. Email deliverability failure is when your message falls into the junk/spam folder or 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!

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1. Do an IP warmup

A new IP address is classified as cold because they lack 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 communications they wish to receive.

Tips for Email Content


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?

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 #3 below!

2. 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.

3. Test what works

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

You can test and optimize your emails by looking at the metrics of previous emails sent, 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 distributions practices are an essential component to driving survey responses for your online surveys.

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