Jonas · 13 min read · Tips and resources · August 6, 2020

How to create survey invitation emails that get more responses

Customer feedback is like business gold. While there’s plenty out there, it’s not easy to get—you need to know how to mine for it.

Survey emails are an excellent way to learn what your customers think about your business. Instead of posting a survey on social media or your website, emailing surveys allows you to send your questions to specific groups of customers who are already invested in your business.

Your goal is to get as many customers as possible to take the survey. In this article, we're sharing the six steps on how to create effective survey emails. 

By the end, you will know the best practices and have the tools to invite customers to complete your survey and get responses that will help your business improve.

The customers on your email list have opted in to interact with you on a regular basis—there's no doubt they'll have valuable insights for your business. By asking the right survey questions, you can gain knowledge about your target audience.

The reason why you should send survey emails is that they are quick to set up, easy to distribute, and if you ask the right questions, your business can benefit from the real-time responses.

Let's get into the six steps to setting up a quick survey email from scratch.

The hardest thing to do when putting a survey together is to keep it focused on one thing. You have so many questions to ask, but the reality is that your subscribers 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.

💡 Most popular question types

When we looked at our own data collection on surveys, we found that the most popular question types are multiple choice (63.4%) and open questions (34.3%).

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

insurify email survey example

When you narrow down the scope of your survey, you’ll be able to write a survey 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

From our own research, 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 subscribers 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 and click 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
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 figure out who their readers are.

Sleeknote survey email example

Below is a quick video tutorial to group by link clicks.

Traditionally, email surveys invite people to take participate and then provide a survey link or button to send them to the survey link. 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 unofficial 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 email a

Email B

Mailerlite Email B

The results? Email A won. By a lot. It got 135% more clicks than Email B.

While you can argue that this might not have been the most statistically valid experiment, it's clear to see why more people would answer the embedded email survey rather than wait for a web page to load.

Based on this insight, we decided to build several survey email blocks that enable you to conduct different types of surveys directly from your email.

mailerlite embedded surveys

The questionnaire email templates works like a carousel and the experience is much more enjoyable than sending people to a completely different survey site.

You can choose from seven email questionnaire templates:

  1. Intro email template: Explain and invite subscribers to participate.

  2. Satisfaction score: Take a temperature read of overall happiness.

  3. Net Promoter Score: Measure your subscriber satisfaction and loyalty.

  4. Multiple choice: Ask a question with multiple answers.

  5. Open survey question: Open-ended questions with write-in answers.

  6. Like/Dislike: Subscribers answer with just one click.

  7. Outro: Finish your survey with a thank you message & next steps.

If your survey requires more than embedded email blocks, just make it as easy as possible for your users to click through to the survey. 

For MailerLite users, check out our integrations that will make the user experience more seamless.  

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 some guiding principles that you can keep in mind when writing your invitation:

  1. Clarify the purpose of the survey in super simple language. What is the singular goal of the survey?

  2. Explain why they were chosen to participate. Are they a VIP? Did they buy a specific product?

  3. Show them how it benefits them. Do they get to influence an aspect of the company? Do they get an incentive?

  4. Tell them how long it will take. Take the survey yourself so you can be honest about the timing. Tell readers whether it'll be a short survey or longer survey.

  5. Thank them and show your gratitude!

Instead of over-explaining how to write a survey email invitation, we’ll show you examples of survey emails with great copy.

Shopify makes this survey all about the reader. And they sweeten the deal by giving each participant a chance to win an $800 Apple voucher.

shopify survey email example

Airbnb shows how much they care about the user experience. In their survey invitation email, they encourage the reader to leave a review by making it simple, descriptive and personal. 

airbnb survey email example

Slack treats the subscriber like a VIP by calling out how the reader is just one of the few to get the survey. Everyone likes to feel special.

slack survey email example

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 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 invitation 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 2020!
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.


  • Please respond 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

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. 

This strategy contains three different types of emails.

The first email is for happy customers, those who rated MailerLite with at least a 7/10. We sent this group a survey email invitation asking them to publicly leave a review about their MailerLite experience. Those who did could be among the lucky ones to win an iPad.

This is the first email, signed by our COO Ilma.

MailerLite survey invitation follow-up up email

Those who were more neutral about their MailerLite experience received this email from our Support Lead Remis:

MailerLite feedback follow up email 2

And finally, customers who were not happy received a slightly different version of the email above. The email encouraged people to reply directly if they had any further comments or suggestions to improve MailerLite.

MailerLite feedback follow up email 3

Whatever your goal is for a follow-up email, the most important thing is to always show your appreciation. Every response leads to more insights for you.

Before we wrap up, we want to show you a couple of nicely designed survey email invitation emails to inspire you for your own email campaign.

From: KFC

Subject: We ❤️ your feedback!

KFC survey invitation email


Subject: Answer some q's, get some free ish


From: Really Good Emails

Subject: Got a few minutes to help?

Really Good Emails survey email example

From: Lovebox 2020

Subject: Let's Make Lovebox Better - Survey Competition


Helpful, focused feedback from customers is the equivalent of business gold. 

Email surveys give you the ability to mine for customer insights 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's been your biggest challenge when sending surveys?

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!