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7 tips and best practices for survey emails your subscribers can’t ignore (with templates)

· 21 min read · Email marketing · Sep 11, 2023
Sabina, Customer Support Shift Lead

Ah, the survey email. Not just another email, but a golden ticket to understanding your audience like never before.

Your subscriber list is a treasure trove of hidden wisdom, and a skillfully designed survey email is the key you need to unlock it.

Sending survey emails allows you to send questions to specific groups of respondents who are already invested in your business for guaranteed genuine responses.

With inboxes overflowing with generic content, we’re here to help you unpack these 7 actionable tips and best practices for survey emails that even the most click-weary subscribers can't ignore. Plus, we'll share some ready-to-use templates to get you off to a flying start. 🚀

The surveys you create will be unique and specific to your audience but here are 5 nicely designed survey email invitation emails to inspire your own email campaigns.

✈️ Post-travel survey

Travel insurance firm World Nomads sends this survey email to customers the day after their insurance runs out. The timing means customers can give their opinion on the service while it is fresh in their minds. The email also includes offers for customers to extend their insurance, which could lead to repeat buys.

From: World Nomads
Subject: Welcome home
World Nomads survey email example on a white background with orange buttons

📢 Feature feedback survey

This survey email example from Moz is good because it asks for feedback on two specific product features. Anyone who uses these tools and has an opinion about them can complete the survey to share their thoughts. The chance to win an Amazon gift card increases the chances that people will participate.

From: Moz
Subject: Share your thoughts with Moz and win an Amazon gift card
Moz survey email for feature feedback with plain text on a white background

📧 In-content CSAT survey email

EasyJet makes it super easy to start this CSAT survey by including the survey in the email content. Clicking the link leads customers to a longer survey that allows them to provide more detailed feedback. The email is personalized with the customer's name, booking number, and flight details.

From: EasyJet
Subject: Your booking {$booking number}: {$name}, your flight to {$destination} - please share your experience with us
EasyJet CSAT survey email with a white background and orange buttons

‍💻 Product changes feedback survey email

Making changes to a product is never easy, especially one as loved as KFC. The company created this email to gather feedback on product changes to see if the company is moving in the right direction. The copy and design of this email is very on-brand and will appeal to KFC fans.

From: KFC
Subject: We ❤️ your feedback!
KFC survey email with an illustration of Colonel Sanders holding a cup phone with the title:

🕜 Survey reminder email

You can’t get 100% of your subscribers to complete your survey, but you can catch a few more by sending a simple survey reminder email. Take a look at this example from Anthropologie. They opted for a gentle, empathetic approach in their survey reminder email.

From: Anthropologie
Subject: Just a friendly reminder to complete our survey.
Screenshot of a survey email with multi-colored abstract speech bubbles titled:

The customers on your email list have opted in to interact with you on a regular basis. These subscribers are going to have valuable feedback that will benefit your business.

By asking and displaying the right survey questions correctly in your embedded survey, you can get to know what your target audience thinks while increasing your subscriber engagement.

We looked at thousands of newsletters with embedded surveys to find out just how effective they can be for your engagement and discovered some pretty insightful data, along with a few extra benefits.

Infographic displaying survey email stats collected by MailerLite (listed below)
Source: MailerLite
  • Increased engagement: Embedding surveys directly in emails increased the click-to-open rate to an average of 31.7%. This means more people interact with the content.

  • Easy to complete: Embedded survey emails get 135% more overall clicks compared to external survey links. Since the survey is right in the email, it's easy for recipients to complete it without having to go to another website. 

  • Quick to build: Creating an embedded survey in an email can be done in under 5 minutes, making it a very low-effort, high-impact email marketing strategy.

  • Real-time feedback: With embedded surveys, you can get immediate responses that are easily accessible and organized. This allows for quicker analysis and data-driven decision-making.

  • Cost-effective: Using an ESP like MailerLite that allows you to embed surveys directly into your newsletters saves you from needing to pay for expensive third-party applications.

When done right, survey emails can be a powerful tool. So let’s talk about how you can craft surveys that will engage subscribers and deliver results.

Survey invitation emails can go in many different directions. Follow these 7 best practices to stay on track and create effective messages. We’ve also included plenty of examples to get your creative juices flowing.

The hardest thing to do when putting your first survey together is to keep it focused on one thing. You have so many questions to ask, but the reality is that your respondents are only willing to give you a tiny bit of their time.

People are busy. Respect their time and they’ll be more willing to work with you.

Instead of listing a bunch of questions, identify different categories and create separate surveys for each one. For example, if you are conducting a customer satisfaction survey, you don’t need to ask detailed questions about your products. Save those questions for a product feedback survey.

Insurify adeptly creates an entire email around one question. By keeping it simple with a short survey, they can jazz it up with colors and graphics and drive engagement.

From: Insurify
Subject: Thank you + quick question
Insurify email survey example
Image credit: Insurify

When you narrow down the scope of your survey, you’ll be able to write a survey request email that is single-minded and reassures your subscribers that you aren’t asking for too much of their time.

💡 Make the survey stand out

We've found that the best way to design your email and embed the survey is by focusing the attention on the survey. You can get higher response rates if you make sure the survey is the most important thing in the email—without having other distracting CTA buttons and links.

The advantage of using email marketing for your surveys is that you can segment your respondents into smaller groups for optimal targeting.

If you want quality survey responses, you should send your survey emails to the people on your list who are most likely to respond to your questions.

By breaking up your audience into smaller groups, you can:

  • Get very specific about the kinds of questions you ask, which in turn provides better survey data to make decisions.

  • Personalize your emails to improve open rates, click rates and survey response rates. More people will complete the survey if it is targeted to their interests.

  • Avoid blasting your entire list with surveys that will annoy people who aren’t involved.

Survey via email segment infographic
How you segment your list depends on what you want to learn from your surveys.

For example, if you want to know why subscribers are buying certain products, check their purchasing history. If you're curious about the type of content they'd be interested in, add links to specific blogs and set up an automation for when that link is triggered. The same goes for finding out what services customers would be interested in.

If you're not sure where to start, you can also start segmenting subscribers in your welcome email.

Sleeknote sends an automated email survey to new blog subscribers to determine who their readers are.

From: Sleeknote
Subject: 👋 Hello, {$name}
Email survey invitation from Sleeknote with the links to segments subscribers based on their job titles.

Traditionally, email surveys invite people to take part and then provide a survey link or button to send them to the survey landing page. The problem is that you need to rely on a click-through before the subscriber gets to see the survey. 

What if you conducted the survey directly within the newsletter?

Embedded survey blocks give you the ability to start the survey directly from the newsletter. The embedded survey launches in the browser so subscribers can complete all the survey questions in one seamless step. 

To find out if an embedded survey was more effective, we ran an experiment.

We created two emails:

  • Email A allowed users to answer the survey in the newsletter itself.

  • Email B had a CTA button that took readers to a survey page.

Email A

MailerLite's email A with NPS survey

Email B

MailerLite's Email B with 10 questions survey

The results? Email A won. By a lot. It got 135% more clicks than Email B.
It was based on this insight, that we decided to build the survey email block that enables you to conduct different types of surveys directly from your email.

MailerLite's survey email block

Asking someone to take a quick survey is like asking a friend for a favor. Except your subscribers are not your friends, so you need to go above and beyond to let them know how important their participation is to you.

Here are 4 guiding principles to keep in mind when writing your invitation. We've also included examples to highlight each point.

1. Show how the survey benefits the reader

You need to show how the survey benefits the recipient. This could be through a gift, entry into a prize draw, or simply the chance to improve the product.

Shopify makes this survey all about the reader by explaining how feedback helps the product improve. The company sweetens the deal by giving each participant a chance to win an $800 Apple voucher.

Shopify survey email example offering Apple voucher

2. Clarify the survey's purpose

Clarifying the survey’s purpose ensures recipients know why they should participate and the types of answers to provide.

This email from Cigna explains how feedback allows the company to provide better service to the recipient and their family. Cigna also encourages responses by making the email simple, empathetic and personal.

Email survey example from Cigna promises better service after collecting customer feedback

3. Make the survey participant feel important

Explain why you chose the person to complete the survey. Also, consider personalizing the email with elements like the recipient’s name to make them feel special.

Slack treats the subscriber like a VIP by calling out how the reader is just one of the few to get the survey. They also let subscribers know how much time they need to complete the survey—setting reasonable expectations for respondents.

Survey invitation example from Slack with approximate time needed to complate survey

4. Show the survey won't take long

No one wants to spend a long time on a survey. Letting recipients know how little time it takes to complete your survey can encourage participation.

This email survey example from Headspace highlights the simplicity and shortness of their survey email invitation. They use a clever headline acknowledging a common truth (surveys can be boring) and reassure people that this brief and engaging Headspace survey is worth their while.

Headspace survey email example

You worked super hard to create the survey and the email invitation. Don’t forget to seal the deal with a great survey invitation email subject line.

Subject lines are often the reason emails get opened. If you put something generic like “Customer Feedback Survey”, you are doomed. Show your recipients the importance of the survey by leading with a subject line that makes it hard not to open the email.

These subject line best practices still apply to email surveys. Below we'll go into some more survey invite email subject lines and best practices.

1. Personalize it

Add a name or something personal that will grab their attention.


  • We need your feedback, [Name]! Help us serve you better

  • [First name], what do you think about your new [product]?

  • Megan, May I ask for your insight?

  • Hi Megan, have you got 3 minutes?

  • A little help, Megan?

  • We'd really love your insights!

2. Focus on relevance

You need to clearly communicate something that the reader cares about.


  • You made our Top 100 customer list. We want to know what you think

  • Thanks for shopping with us! Here’s a link to share your feedback

  • Tell Us About Your Future Travel!

  • We need you — help us improve our emails

  • Megan, Help Us Decide Where to Go in 2022!

3. Ask a question

People like answering questions. Questions draw the reader into the conversation as a participant.


  • Want to help us offer more services you love?

  • Can you answer 3 questions that will help change our company?

  • Got a few minutes to help?

  • How can Man Repeller improve?

  • Got a sec? Share some feedback

4. Offer incentives

You increase your chances for a response when there is something worthwhile in it for the subscribers.


  • Let us know how you feel and we’ll send you an Amazon gift card

  • Get 50% off for telling us what you think

  • Help Us, Help You (Chance to Win a $100 Gift Card!)

  • Let's Make Lovebox Better - Survey Competition

  • Reminder: Win a $50 Amazon gift card when you share your thoughts!

  • Share Your Insight - $25 Amazon Gift Card

When you send a survey email to subscribers, you’re not just learning about your business from the customer’s perspective—you’re also learning about your subscribers. It’s an amazing opportunity to segment subscribers based on their preferences so you can further personalize your email marketing.

For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, you might send out a survey asking subscribers what their marketing budgets are for the coming year. Then you’ll be able to send each segment specific marketing recommendations based on realistic budgets. By adding rules to your survey questions that segment subscribers based on their answers, your email content will be more relevant and valuable to each group.

You can segment subscribers based on their survey answers.

There are multiple segmentation options when it comes to survey rules, including:

  • Moving subscribers from one group to another

  • Copying subscribers to a specific group

  • Updating a specific field with a custom value

  • Updating a specific field with the subscriber's answer

In this sample survey invitation email, a bookseller asks subscribers to select their favorite genres. The bookseller applied rules to the survey so that subscribers who answer are added to groups that correspond with their selected genres.

Adding survey invitation email rules in MailerLite's drag and drop editor to segment subscribers

Sending your survey invitation email and getting feedback is just the beginning. Beyond using the survey answers to improve your business, you can also use the feedback to strengthen your relationship with subscribers.

For example, if you send a survey to gauge customer satisfaction, you can set up email automation to send people follow-up messages to address their current level of happiness.

At MailerLite, we tried this with our NPS email survey, where we gathered feedback and then used customer segmentation to collect more public reviews and points of improvement. 

An alternative option is to include these follow-up messages within the survey. You can show different survey-completion messages depending on the answer given within the survey. 

For example, in the Mailercheck NPS survey, we ask anyone who gives a positive answer to provide a review as soon as they finish the survey.

Email survey message from MailerCheck after giving MailerCheck high NPS

Likewise, we ask people who give a negative or neutral review how we can improve. This allows people to share their opinions straight after providing a negative score, which increases the chances of a follow-up.

Email survey message from MailerCheck after giving MailerCheck low NPS

It’s easy to create a survey with multiple completion pages that change depending on the customer’s answer within MailerLite. 

Using the dynamic survey rules feature, you can send customers to different slides depending on their previous responses. Check out the gif below to see this in action.

Demostration of using rules to create a personilized email survey based on subscribers' answers

You can create these surveys and embed them in your email so customers don’t have to leave their email clients. Or you can use our page builder to create a survey on an external landing page and then link to this page from within the email.

In a hurry? Use one of our pre-designed survey email templates to build your next survey email fast! Simply create a new campaign, navigate to the template gallery and use the dropdown menu to select “Survey” to find our collection of survey templates.

Embedded email surveys allow you to dig for customer feedback that will improve your business. More responses mean more opportunities to learn and evolve. 

Just remember to:

  • Keep it simple

  • Respect your subscriber’s time

  • Make it easy

  • And be grateful

What kind of questions do you ask your subscribers using embedded surveys? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2021, but has been updated with new tips and email survey examples.

Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!