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13 Tips to Help You Create an Effective Email Survey

Tips to Help You Create an Effective Email Survey

Collecting the right data is of utmost importance to send personalized communications and build an impressive marketing strategy. You can use the sign-up form on the landing page to collect qualitative data related to demographics, geographical location, and the user’s interests.

On the other hand, surveys or feedback forms come into the picture if you are looking for qualitative data.

You can survey your customers through push notifications, post-purchase survey calls, or SMS marketing. However, email has proved to be one of the most extensively used channels to send out surveys. 

Why Should You Send Email Surveys?

The survey response rate heavily relies on the communication channel. There was a time when people used direct mail to send out surveys. It was an expensive and time-consuming affair. Moreover, it did not get a good response as people did not want to take so much effort to fill out the survey form and send it back. As a result, it hampered the quality of the survey data.

With the advent of digitalization and the evolution of email as a marketing channel, most marketers use emails to send surveys. It is a cost-effective platform that allows you to reach the right people at the right time. You can personalize the copy based on the user’s previous interaction with your brand.  

For instance, if a customer has purchased a mobile phone from your ecommerce store, you can send out an email survey to understand whether that particular product met their expectations.

Moreover, unlike text messages and push notifications, you can send interactive survey emails to boost subscriber engagement. You can even design a multi-purpose email confirming the order delivery and inviting the subscriber for feedback.  

Take a look at this email from Target that allows the customer to review the product and fix any issues. 

email from Target that allows the customer to review the product and fix any issues

With that said, let’s take a deep dive into the tips to send an impactful email survey that would garner maximum responses. 

1. Determine the objective of your survey

No marketing task is complete without working on its objective. Well-designed surveys have a clear purpose that facilitates decision-making in any aspect of the business. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why are you sending the survey?
  2. What will you be able to achieve with the survey?
  3. How do you plan to use the data you collect?
  4. Which decisions do you want to take based on the survey results?

Generally, marketers send surveys with objectives such as:

  1. Understanding how the customers like their services
  2. Identifying any objections or barriers to buying from them
  3. Figuring out the key features that drive customer satisfaction

Once you have decided on the objectives, it becomes easy to track the KPIs and ensure that the email survey brings the expected outcome. It must also impart a pleasant experience to the surveyors. 

2. Segment the list before sending the email

Qualifying the subscribers is the first step to getting a high response rate for your survey. Therefore, you must segment your subscriber list based on the objective of your survey. It will help you send targeted survey emails that are most relevant to the recipient. For instance, if you want to learn about the subscriber’s visit to your physical store, you must send the email only to the people who have visited your store in the recent past. 

You can use a powerful CRM tool to record such activity. It can help you segment the customers and automate the entire process of sending email surveys. Nowadays, it is even possible to add ‘skip logic’ in the survey so that respondents will see only specific questions according to their previous answers and interaction with your brand.

Such a personalized approach can work wonders in getting you the desired response rate rather than using the same questionnaire for all. It will also make the survey results more authentic. 

3. Craft a compelling subject line

Your subscribers are inundated with a blizzard of emails every day. If you want the subscribers to open your email, you must draft an interesting subject line that piques their curiosity. Simply writing a generic phrase like “Customer Survey” will not work. 

Here are some examples to help you out:

  • We want to hear from you (and give you 75%  off)
  • How was your recent experience, Chris?
  • Hi Chris, got a minute?
  • Hey Chris, let us know how your new JBL headphones fit
  • Tell us more about your experience at Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • Make our newsletter even better

These subject lines are simple but engaging enough to drive open rates. 

The most effective survey subject lines include:

  • An incentive for the surveyor
  • A question that conveys the purpose of your email
  • An actionable call to action
  • Words/phrases that tap on the emotional instinct of the subscriber
  • Fewer than ten words
  • Personalization

Many marketing professionals might not be too creative to craft a witty subject line. That is perfectly fine. Draft a concise and straightforward subject line, and you are good to go. You can use the power of A/B testing to figure out what kind of subject lines work best for your brand. 

4. Write an engaging copy

Try to bring a conversational tone to your survey email copy. Let the subscribers know that you value their time and association with your brand. It would be best if you also informed them that their opinion matters. It will create a sense of importance and increase the response rate for your survey. 

Take a look at this example by Anthropologie.

Anthropologie example of persuasive copywriting by personalizing the email and making it sound like a conversation

They have incorporated all the principles of persuasive copywriting by personalizing the email and making it sound like a conversation. The tagline “Your thoughts, our treat” acts as the perfect hook to make them read the entire email and take action. 

Including the time taken to complete the survey is a great idea to get more responses. Do not create a survey that is too long and time-consuming. Moreover, they have added a time-sensitive incentive for the reader. It will help get instant responses by triggering the fear of missing out. 

5. Incentivize the subscriber

Your subscribers like getting something in return for their time and effort. Incentivizing the subscriber (like Anthropologie has done) contributes to a higher response rate. According to SurveyMonkey research, incentives boost response rates by 50%. Just make sure that the incentives are appropriately formulated without burrowing in your profit margins. Overly huge discounts or prizes can make people manipulate their responses to qualify for the incentives. Therefore, you must choose the incentives smartly. 

Take a look at this email example from Everlane. “20,000 pennies for your thoughts” is an intelligent phrase to draw the subscriber’s attention and encourage them to write the review. 

email example from Everlane pennies for your thoughts

6. Include the first survey question in the email

You can embed surveys in email in three ways:

  1. Hyperlink the CTA button (For example, Take the survey >> )
  2. Embed the hyperlink or paste it into the email
  3. Place the first question of the survey in the email

Most marketing professionals use the first approach and hyperlink the CTA button. It helps them to use the brand colors on the CTA button. 

You can use the second tactic to create a minimalistic email design. 

The third method is by far the most effective one. By including the first survey question in the email, you can give your customers a sneak peek into the survey and set the right expectations. It will reduce the number of clicks needed for survey completion, enhancing the response rate. 

7. Design a mobile responsive survey email

Most subscribers on your list are likely to view your email survey on their mobile devices. Therefore, you must design a responsive survey that renders well across all devices and email clients. If you plan to add imagery and background in the email, test for rendering and provide a proper fallback to avoid compatibility issues. 

8. Proofread it to avoid any errors

Allot enough time to proofread your email survey. It should be free from any typos or grammatical errors. Ask someone else to check and proofread your email to avoid any personal bias. Make sure there are no technical issues in submitting the survey. As mentioned previously, you must not forget the skip logic while drafting your questionnaire. Test the entire survey experience from the subscriber’s point of view. 

9. Integrate the survey responses with the CRM

Suppose you send a survey email to learn about the subscriber’s experience with the customer support executive. If they are not happy with the experience, you will have to take the necessary steps to resolve the issues.

This is possible only if you have connected the survey responses with the CRM. Doing so will give you an idea about how you can improve your services and render a flawless customer experience. Keep optimizing your products or services according to the insights gathered from the surveys. 

10. Abide by all the anti-spam guidelines

Whenever you send an email survey, you must always follow the anti-spam guidelines like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA as well as check the DMARC report. With the launch of iOS 15 and advanced privacy settings, complying with such rules becomes more important.

You must send the email from an active email address with an authentic sender name. Add the correct contact details in the footer of your email along with the physical address and unsubscribe button. Avoid sending the survey email from a no-reply email address, as it would make the recipient feel that you do not want to hear from them.

Following these tips will ensure that your email does not land in the spam folder. It will eventually help you get a better response rate. 

11. Thank all the subscribers who took the survey

Appreciate the subscribers who spared time to fill out your survey and share valuable insights with you. Let them know that you will take the feedback seriously and work on the quality of the products. It creates a sense of trust with the subscriber and makes sure that they take part in future surveys. 

Check out this thank you email template that is sure to make the customer feel special.  

Thank all the subscribers for feedback email example

12. Use the right tool to prepare your surveys

You can use several tools like Woorise to create email surveys. While choosing the software, you must check for features like real-time data collection, automated distribution of the emails, and detailed analysis of the campaign performance.  

13. Think out of the box

Almost all brands use surveys to discover customer preferences and improve their products or services. Amidst all this digital chaos, if your email does not stand out, your campaign performance will suffer. So, it would help if you thought of new ways to incorporate surveys in emails. One such innovative method is to use AMP to send out a survey or feedback form.

Through AMP email, the subscriber can take action without leaving the inbox. As a result, it reduces friction and drives a higher response rate. Another advantage of AMP email is that these emails warrant stronger email deliverability.

As they require clearing all the authentication settings like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF, they are more likely to land in the inbox rather than the spam folder. Thus, they garner better engagement and a stronger sender reputation. 

Let me share two brilliant examples with you. 

This example shows that you can directly embed the sentiment widget in the email and understand how the subscriber finds it. 

directly embed the sentiment widget in the email

The second email includes a feedback form that lets the user submit the feedback directly into the email without going to any landing page or third-party website. It also facilitates data collection practices. 

email includes a feedback form that lets the user submit the feedback directly into the email

AWeber is one such tool with the functionality to create interactive survey emails.

Wrapping Up

A customer-centric business strategy is the key to building a lucrative business loved by everyone. Surveys form the core of this strategy. If you follow the inbound marketing approach, surveys are a great way to delight the users. They also give a leg up to the customer retention efforts and referral marketing strategy.

Surveys will provide insights that will allow you to keep your business products at par with the customer expectations and stay ahead in the competition. If you are still not using the power of email surveys, now is the right time to take the plunge. 

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