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How to send effective survey reminder emails that boost responses

How to send effective survey reminder emails that boost responses ​Anastasia Sviridenko Partner post
· 13 min read · Email marketing · Jan 5, 2022

You want to know what your subscribers are thinking, so you send off an email survey to get their opinion. But what happens when they don’t respond to the initial email? 

There’s a workaround! If your first survey email invitation goes unopened, additional reminders could bring the responses you need. There’s a fine art to this, because you don’t want to annoy your customers, but equally, you don’t want to waste the opportunity to get valuable feedback.

Let’s see how to send reminders for your email surveys the right way, so you can maximize responses for a more insightful overview of what your subscribers want. 

Your job is not over when you send your survey invitation email

A survey follow-up email will remind subscribers about a survey, and prompt them to complete it or finish it if they’ve already started.

For example, take a look at this initial survey email from Lifesum.

Lifesum survey email example

You’d think that a chance at winning an Amazon Halo, 6 months of Halo membership and Lifesum premium for a year would be enough of an incentive, but nope! We’re all busy and forgetful, and even with the best discounts and giveaways, getting people to complete your survey email can be difficult. 

That’s why a follow-up email is just as important as the actual survey. It gives your subscribers a gentle nudge to actually click the survey link, like this first reminder email with a net promoter score survey below.

Reminder email with NPS score

These can be extremely effective. In fact, sending a survey reminder can boost your chances of a response by 58%.

Email survey reminders are especially powerful in the first 42-78 hours after sending the initial invite. Any sooner, and you might be nagging people who are already willing to participate. Any later, and you risk them forgetting why you’re nudging them altogether.

Other ways to optimize your send time methodology: 

  • Surveys sent on Mondays tend to get the most responses, while those sent on Fridays get the least

  • Hilton Hotels sends out customer satisfaction surveys between 24-72 hours after someone’s stay, and they get responses within 24 hours 

  • The timing depends on the subscriber. While normal work hours (10AM—2PM) are effective for most, specific groups such as nurses and shift workers may have a wider window, like 10AM-10PM

It depends on the response rate for your original invitation. 

If you already have lots of responses from the initial email survey (for perspective, 33% is the average response rate), then you may only send out one extra email reminder. If it’s lower, you may decide to schedule reminder emails over several days. But the general consensus is that you shouldn’t send out more than 4-5 reminder emails, or it can get overwhelming.

When done right, survey reminder emails can help you to collect the information you need to take your business to new heights. Here’s how to do it…

1. Use the right survey reminder subject line

First off, you want to prompt people to open the reminder email—and that starts with a punchy subject line. Did you know that you should avoid using the word ‘survey’ at this point? It can actually be off-putting, so here are some other subject line ideas to motivate people to open your survey reminder.

  • Hi, [name], can we chat about [product]?

  • How does 30% off sound?

  • Can we talk for 15 seconds?

  • How can we take things to the next level, [name]?

  • Win free delivery for a year… 

  • What did you think about the [product] you recently bought?

  • Can we hear your thoughts on [topic]?

  • Your opinion matters. Share it with us now

  • How did your [experience] go, [name]?

2. Be persistent without being annoying

While the majority of responses will come from the first reminder email, follow-up emails will push extra respondents into action. It might take a few rounds, but persistence is worth it—as long as you don’t bombard people with constant emails.

Aim to keep the message light and conversational. Avoid long-winded explanations or using jargon. A good rule of thumb is to use 2-3 sentences to remind the customer that they haven’t responded to your survey yet, like this one from Deliveroo.

Deliveroo survey reminder email

Remember to keep it simple. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you value their time.  

3. Remind customers that you value what they have to say

If a client ignores your first request for feedback, don’t assume they aren’t interested in sharing their thoughts. It never hurts to make a client feel important.

Keep in mind there are several follow-up strategies that you can use to increase your response rate. Find one that works for your niche and use it.

One excellent strategy is to explain that you are reaching out to VIP clients for feedback.

VIP survey reminder email example

Simply put, explain that you want to hear from those who you value.  

American Airlines is leveraging this VIP ideal by revamping its rewards/frequent flier program. The more a passenger spends on flights, the more they earn. This has caused some controversy among fans of the old system, but VIPs will now get a better value as the points cost for some flights will be reduced by as much as 40%.

This strategy includes sending email reminders on reward program benefits and survey participation while providing a means to upsell the customer so that they can earn more points.

4. Personalize the email

Perhaps your emails are too bland and formulaic. A personalized email makes the customer feel valued. Generic emails are a guaranteed way to drive off survey respondents. In fact, 70% of millennials become frustrated by mass emails that don’t contain relevant or targeted content.

Try something like this:

Graduate outcomes survey email example

The trick is finding a balance. You need to be persistent without becoming annoying. Personalization can be more than just the customer’s name in the subject line.

easyJet ran a promotion celebrating their 20th year in service by using customer data to remind people of their past flights, destinations, and other bits of trivia like how often they requested a window seat coupled with a “book now” call to action. These personalized emails had a 100% higher open rate.

These case studies show that a personalized approach will catch your subscribers’ attention, and increase the likelihood of them responding.

5. Offer a reward

If at first you don’t succeed, offer them a better incentive. A study found that people who got a $10 voucher were 11% happier than those who didn’t. Coupons and special offers are good for oxytocin levels! So, if your brand loyal customers are not responding to your email surveys, offer them something like a coupon to entice them to change their mind.

A reward not only invites customers to complete the survey. It also says “thank you” and offers them an incentive to strengthen their brand loyalty.

Starbucks followed up with customers via an email that contained offers and rewards, including a reminder that the more they spend, the bigger their reward.

starbucks email coupon example

The Seattle coffee titan saw an 18% year-to-year growth of their rewards program. The rewards program was met with widespread criticism at first but has since caught on.

The same can be done with your surveys. Offer rewards in your email and you are likely to see growth in your response rate.

Some quick bonus tips… 💡
  • Remind people why you’re emailing: Some context can be helpful, in case they’ve forgotten why you’re following up with them

  • If there’s a special offer or prize, specify a due date: This can create a sense of urgency and inspire people to take action

  • Use an eye-catching email design: With the right color scheme and imagery for your brand, you can catch people’s attention and they’ll be more likely to respond

With MailerLite, you can set up email automations to take care of all the manual work for you. You set it up once, and then you don’t have to think about it afterward—it’ll run along automatically in the background! 

Automation is especially useful for email survey reminders (check out this Net Promoter Score survey example for inspiration). 

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to your MailerLite dashboard, click Automations and then select Create workflow.

  2. Select the trigger When a subscriber joins a group (more on that here).

  3. Add your initial survey email. Insert a Delay step, and select the number of days you would like to wait before sending a reminder email.

  4. Select a Condition and click Define condition. Choose Workflow activity, select the email with the survey, and click the rule Had specific link clicked. Add the link for the survey here.

  5. The automation will check if this link was clicked within the delay time frame. If it is not clicked, then subscribers will be moved to step 6 at the end of the delay.

  6. Under the Thumb down branch of the condition step (for those who did not click the link), add your follow-up email 

  7. Repeat steps 4-6 if you want to send more than one follow-up.

Bonus tip: Did you know that you can create your own email surveys directly with MailerLite? This video tutorial from Marcin will show you the ropes.

Get as much feedback as possible—it’s worth it!

Don’t give up on getting feedback from your customers. They are your best source for figuring out what you are doing correctly and what needs improvement. The trick is to develop your survey correctly to facilitate optimal interaction; making it timely, short and personalized. After all, the more information you are able to obtain from your customers, the better the service and product you can provide for them.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2019. It has now been updated with new insights and examples to help you get the most out of your email survey reminders.

​Anastasia Sviridenko
​Anastasia Sviridenko

Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketing manager at TextMagic, a bulk text messaging service provider. She is always striving to create insightful and actionable content for the readers.