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Jonas · 18 min read · Tips and resources · August 23, 2021

7 steps to creating survey invitation emails that get 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 dig for it.

Your email list is a customer goldmine. Instead of posting a survey on social media or your website, sending survey invitations emails allows you to send your questions to specific groups of respondents who are already invested in your business.

By the end of this article, you will have the best practices and tools you need to survey customers and get responses that will improve your business.


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 conducted our own research to find out just how effective surveys can be for your engagement and came back with some pretty insightful data.

  • Email campaigns with an embedded survey had an average click-to-open rate (CTOR) of 31.7%

  • The most popular question type among marketers is ‘Multiple choice’ (30.2%) followed by ‘Open question’ (19.4%)

  • Embedded surveys get 135% more clicks than links to external online surveys (more on this later)

  • The average survey participation rate of subscribers who opened a campaign containing an embedded survey is 21.3% 

  • The question type that receives the most engagement is, our favorite, ‘Multiple choice’ (22.4%)

When done right, survey emails can be a powerful tool. So let’s talk about how you can craft surveys that will engage and deliver results. Follow these 7 steps for effective survey emails!


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’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 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
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

Traditionally, email surveys invite people to take part 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 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 with NPS survey

Email B

Mailerlite 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 embedded surveys

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

You can choose from 7 email question types:

  1. Intro: Explain and invite subscribers to participate.

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

  3. Net Promoter Score: Measure your customer experience, 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? Are you conducting market research? Asking for a review?

  2. Explain why they were chosen to participate. Are they VIPs? 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!

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

Cigna’s embedded email survey example shows how much they care about the customer experience. In their survey invitation email, they encourage the reader to leave a review by making it simple, empathetic and personal.

Cigna 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. They also let subscribers know how much time they need to complete the survey—setting reasonable expectations for respondents.

slack survey email example

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

If you are in a rush or unsure how to format your survey email, use one of our pre-designed survey email templates! 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.

survey templates example

Templates are awesome for helping you with the layout of your survey email invitation. When it comes to what to write, we’ve compiled a list of survey email examples with great copy for you to get inspired.


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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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 subscribers 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.

survey invitation email example with rules

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

From: THINX

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

Email survey invitation example from THINX

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

Lovebox 2020 email survey request example

Embedded email surveys give you the ability 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!

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!