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​Anastasia Sviridenko · 8 min read · Partner posts · March 7, 2019

How to follow up your email surveys to get more responses

You value feedback from your subscribers, so naturally, you email them a survey to see how things are going. But what do you do if you don’t get responses?

The truth is, 66% of customers prefer to give feedback by actively reaching out instead of being asked to participate in a survey. In simple terms, they reach out when they are upset. They rarely offer feedback to help you prevent them from getting upset.

So what is a marketing director to do when clients send their survey emails directly to the recycle bin? You don’t want to annoy your customers, but you don’t want to waste the opportunity to get valuable feedback.

In this article, you’ll learn how to follow up your email surveys with messages that will help you get more responses.

How to create follow-up emails to your surveys

Your job is not over when you send your survey email. A follow-up email is just as important as the actual survey. Here are five tips to make the most of your follow-up emails:

  1. Be persistent without being annoying

  2. Remind customers of their value

  3. Personalize the email

  4. Offer a reward

  5. Figure out the right time to send

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

1. Be persistent without being annoying

While slightly less than one-third of recipients answer the first email, 21% will answer the second, 18% the third, and 14% the fourth.

It may take five or more follow up emails, but persistence is worth it.

Ambition, a team management software startup, put this theory to the test. They sent emails persistently and found that 80% of all customer responses occurred within the first five emails.  

Just keep in mind 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.

follow-up survey emails

You know how the old saying goes: keep it simple. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you value their time.  

2. 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 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.  

example email 1

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

American Airlines is leveraging this VIP ideal by revamping their 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.

3. 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.

Janrain found that 74% of customers become frustrated by mass emails that don’t contain relevant or targeted content.

Try something like this:

example email 2

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.

The lesson you can learn from these case studies is that if you create a more personalized subject line when asking for a survey response, the chances of your email getting opened are much higher.

4. Offer a reward

If at first you don’t succeed, offer them a better incentive. Remember 83% of customers think that coupons and rebates are a great savings opportunity. 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 which included offers and rewards, including a reminder that the more they spend, the bigger their reward.

starbucks 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.

5. Figure out the right time to send

Since the goal is to get more people to respond to your survey, it only makes sense that you send it when people are in a good place to respond. The trick is finding the right time to send out your survey.

Of course, this will differ depending on your business’s niche. A good rule of thumb to remember is surveys sent on Mondays tend to get the most responses while those sent on Fridays get the least.

It’s not always the day of the week that will boost response rates. Hilton Hotels sends out customer satisfaction surveys between 24-72 hours after a guest stays at one of their hotel chains. And, they are getting responses within 24 hours. What they’ve learned is that by sending out an email faster, their response rate increases.

Timing of an email often depends on the reader. While Mondays during normal work hours (10 am to 2 pm) work for most, specific groups may keep different hours. Nurses, shift workers, and professionals with odd hours might have a wider window like 10 am to 10 pm.

Find what works for your customers and stick with it. Consistency creates an expectation that your emails are coming.

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 on figuring out what you are doing correctly and what needs improvement. Send out timely, short, and personalized emails to your customers.

The trick is to develop your survey correctly to facilitate optimal interaction. After all, the more information you are able to obtain from your customers, the better the service and product you can provide for them.

​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.