Best Practices for Survey Email Invitations

It is important to capture the respondent’s interest in your survey immediately. If you are sending email to people within the United States, it is also important to follow the rules set forth by the CAN-SPAM Act.


To help ensure your survey experience is as successful as it can be, we at SurveyRock offer the following best practices for survey email invitations:

  • Ensure that the targeted recipients have agreed to receive offers from your company
  • Confirm how the list was gathered and how it has been managed since then. For example, how are opt-out requests and bounce backs handled?
  • Confirm that opt-out requests from prior use have been processed appropriately
  • Subject line (by law) must not mislead the recipient about the subject matter or contents of the email. In addition, to avoid being filtered as SPAM, do not use the words “win”, “prize”, “sweepstakes” or have a dollar amount (i.e. “$1000”) in the subject line. Do include the topic of the survey and survey sponsor whenever possible.
  • The From and Reply To addresses (by law) must be accurate and identify the person who sent the email

The body of the message (by law) must include the following:

  • Opt-out information. A valid email address or other method for recipient to be removed from mailing list. For example, ‘To be removed from future mailings of this type, please send a reply to this email and include in the subject line – ‘Remove from XYZ Study’.
  • Sender’s physical street address

The body of the message should include all of the following:

  • The first sentence should be compelling, and it should communicate the reason why taking the survey is worthwhile. Be as specific as possible.
  • Name of company or individual who is sponsoring the survey
  • Brief explanation of the purpose of the study
  • Amount of time it should take the respondent to complete the survey. Be honest; a time range is okay.
  • Explanation of where/how the recipient’s email address was obtained
  • Clear instruction on how to access the survey
  • If there are screeners within the survey, include a statement around how the respondent must fully qualify and complete the survey. This is especially important if an incentive is offered. For example, ‘We are looking for a specific target market.’
  • Incentive information (if applicable) must be clear. Sweepstakes rules or link to the rules should be included

The body of the message should not:

  • State that it is “not SPAM” (or use the word SPAM at all)
  • Sound anonymous or vague
  • Have lengthy text explaining the way the data will be used
  • Use pressure language such as “must” or “hurry now”
  • Use “scam” type of language or offering

Reminder emails should:

  • NOT be sent to people who opted out of the first mailing
  • Have the word “Reminder” in the subject line
  • Be an abbreviated version of the first email

With SurveyRock, you can quickly and easily create online surveys and receive the fast feedback you need to make important decisions. The information you need is only a survey away.


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