When it comes to email surveys, you have to tread lightly. About a third of survey recipients tend to leave them unfinished, and the majority will dump them in their trash folders if they contain the word “Survey” in the subject line.

However, surveys are critical for remaining competitive. They’re a necessary component in understanding your consumer’s needs and making improvements to your products and marketing plans.

It’s not just that surveys run the risk of being time-consuming and boring for the recipient; spending time putting them together can be futile because marketers aren’t sure how many people will actually fill them out.

So, to simplify things and assist you in gaining critical consumer feedback, here are some best practices that will not only encourage your consumers to open your survey emails but also complete them.

13 Best Practices To Get Your Customers to Fill Out Your Email Surveys

1. It’s All About the Subject Lines

The email subject line is the first impression your recipients have of your email.  It can be the deciding factor in whether or not your emails are opened. It’s important to make the subject line stand out to set the tone for your survey.

Before you craft your subject line, take note that surveys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. No one wants to answer those “Make the Company Better” surveys, and if your subject lines mention the word “Survey,” I’m afraid to say that you’ve already lost half the battle.

Try to write a subject line that involves your customer in the process, or, better yet, make it all about them.


Instead of: “Help us improve.”

Try: “Your expertise required” or “Let’s chat.”

You can easily see how the above subject lines involve the customer in a conversation and pulling them involving them. 

2. Personalization Is Key

74% of marketers say personalization increases customer engagement rates. But, email personalization isn’t just about using their names in the subject lines or within the email body; it’s more than that. It’s about taking advantage of details like your user’s demographics, their purchase history, how much money they’ve spent on your platform, etc., and using it for a highly targeted and personalized user experience.

Collecting and organizing this amount of data requires a versatile platform, so make sure you’re investing in a sophisticated email marketing platform that also comes with robust automation, and CRM capabilities built-in or that integrates well with other CRM platforms.

To personalize your email surveys, try sending one with their most recent purchase, asking them what their experience with that product is. 


Hey [Name],

273 customers love the [product] you also bought. We must say, you’ve got incredible taste!

Here’s what others are loving about this product:

[Customer testimonials on product]

We would certainly love to hear about your stories and experience with the product too.

What you’ve got to say? We’re all ears!

[link to survey]


3. Don’t Be Boring, Get Creative

Marketing is all about creativity.

Whether you’re creating an email survey, the subject line, or just writing your marketing content, you have to be creative. Otherwise, there’s no point in expecting any kind of return at all. 

Creative approaches get remembered and see results.

Remember that Pepsi commercial where a child is at a vending machine and buys two Coca-Cola cans, stands on them, and then buys a Pepsi can?

Creativity can take many forms: imagery, video, text, or any other media format. It hooks your customers, and when you have their full attention, they’re more compelled to take action.

And if you’re not an expert at writing creative email copy, you can always outsource your content creation by either an agency or a newsletter writing service.


A survey email by Just Right.

4. Use the Fact that People Love Incentives

Business is all about giving and then receiving. If you need a little extra help getting someone to complete a survey, try providing a discount on a product or service offering. 


Offer a 15% discount on their next purchase for taking the survey, and see how many survey responses you get. You can also try sending a unique discount code to those who completed the survey. 

Not everyone will redeem their offers, but this survey for money approach will show you the top-performing offers so you can adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. You’ll be able to see what products and services have a higher survey response rate and apply this knowledge to future survey efforts.

5. Brevity Never Goes Unappreciated

More than half of your customers will not go beyond the first few survey questions. Why?

People’s attention spans are only so big. If they don’t find the current item on their screen interesting enough, they’ll continue to scroll or move along to the next item on their to-do list. Keeping this in mind, create surveys that are short, simple, and as engaging as possible. 

One to three minutes should be the maximum time limit for filling out a survey, containing 10-15 questions maximum. This also shows your survey takers that you respect and value their time. 

6. Make it for Them, Not for You

If you mention how the survey will help you or your company to grow, it’s not going to keep your recipient’s attention very long, let alone encourage them to fill out the survey at all. Instead, show them how filling out the survey will benefit them.


Instead of: “This survey will help our company improve and grow.” 

Try: “By filling out this survey, you will help us to serve you better.”

7. Mention How Much Time Filling Out the Survey Will Take

If you want people to respond to your questions, make sure you state how long it will take them to do so. If the survey is lengthy and may take 10 minutes or more, tell the truth.

More than likely, survey takers will be more than happy to start this survey if they know how long it’ll take them. As stated earlier, this shows them that you respect their time, which builds trust and authenticity for your brand.

8. Combine Urgency With Incentives 

We already mentioned the power of offering incentives, but pair that with a sense of urgency, and you have a winning survey strategy. Adding urgency can increase your conversion rate and provide the feeling of FOMO, which a lot of people can’t refuse. 


“You’re eligible for a 20% discount on all our products. Complete this 5-step survey to grab it before midnight.”

You can also embed countdown timers in your emails and on the survey page to get people to take action fast.

9. Use Embedded Email Surveys

Using AMP-enabled embedded email forms or simply writing a question and then sending it can improve response rates because it’s more straightforward. The likelihood of getting people to participate in surveys increases since they’re not redirected to any external link.

10. Make the Survey Mobile-Friendly

Make sure your surveys render on mobile and are responsive on all devices.

Otherwise, if you send a survey link to people and it doesn’t work on their mobile devices, you run the risk of getting full participation. Make sure you check your survey beforehand on multiple devices to maximize your conversion rate.

11. Use a Powerful Call to Action

Like the email subject line, the call to action you include in your survey email may make or break whether or not your recipients fill out the survey.

Including a strong call to action is an important practice for email marketing. Why? Because it’s highly probable that readers will skip the email body and go directly to the CTA.

Since it may be the only thing your readers see, it’s crucial that it’s compelling enough to inspire action.

12. Be Thankful 

A good business always practices gratitude. Make sure you always thank your customers for their time.

First and foremost, it’s the polite thing to do. Second, it makes people feel acknowledged and special because, in reality, they’re doing you a favor. Third, this is also a way for you to confirm that you’ve received their answers. 

If possible, also deliver a custom message with a funny image or a video clip to make them laugh. This will surely make their day.

13. Track Engagement and Send Follow-Ups 

Implementing tracking for your surveys will help you analyze which questions your survey takers dropped off at, what your success rate is, and what questions are converting the best or worst. By analyzing this data, you can always come up with new and improved strategies to level up your survey game.

Moreover, using tools like Thrive Quiz Builder can help you both put together surveys and track each and every step of the flow.

It also minimizes your efforts by displaying all the necessary data you need to analyze, like which questions have a higher drop rate, what’s the completion rate, how many reached the results page, and how many shares your survey received.

Wrapping Up

An email list for your business is the most important asset you can ever have.

And to further maximize your efforts, you’ll always need to have a feedback system so you can see which changes have to be made in order to bring in more revenue and customers.

Surveys aren’t easy to conduct, so you have to make sure you’re using the appropriate survey software and tools, asking the right questions, keeping a check on whether your customers will answer them, and then interpreting their responses correctly in order to take actionable steps towards success.

I hope these little pieces of information will help your business craft out a better survey strategy so you can stay informed on what your customers like, what they don’t like, and areas your business can improve upon. 

Author Bio

Palash Nag is a B2B freelance content writer who loves to write about SaaS, online marketing, and productivity for online blogs and also sales emails and newsletters. If he’s not reviewing SaaS products on his main blog The Mistaken Man, you can find him, binge-watching TV shows. Connect with him on LinkedIn.