Exploring Email Surveys [+ Benefits & Best Practices]

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Do you know the key ingredient that makes a business successful? Asking questions. 

Whether you're asking questions of your staff, customers, or any other key group, the feedback you receive will empower your brand. This move can reveal information about key aspects of your company - some good, and some bad but important to know nonetheless.

A great tool to gather this data is email surveys. These surveys will be emailed to your target audience, where they will then be able to easily complete them. 

These surveys are also easy to customize, making them an easy way to improve business and marketing functions. 

What Is An Email Survey?

These surveys are taken online and sent to the respondent's email to gather feedback on a certain topic. 

From there, the respondents will access the survey as they would any other email. Email surveys are simple to take and are often short. 

Pro tip: Who wants to take a long survey? Any form of online survey should not exceed 10 minutes, as this can cause respondent drop-off. The sweet spot for these surveys, including email, is three to five minutes. 

The purpose of these surveys is to gather feedback on a specific topic, as with any other survey. 

Key objectives for these surveys include:

  • Obtaining accurate feedback
  • Using feedback to improve respondent experience
  • Measure levels of engagement

In our next section, we'll cover how email survey tools can gather unique feedback from various groups of people. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Conducting surveys via email is a quick and simple way to receive feedback on a broad array of topics. Surveys are sent via email to the recipient, where they can follow a link to the questionnaire. 

Recommended Reading: 7 Steps to Conducting Online Surveys [+ Examples]

Types of Email Surveys

Another great reason to use this kind of survey? They're super versatile. 

This kind of survey is great for:

Let's dive into each type of email survey a bit more.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are easily sent over via email. 

In this case, the satisfaction survey will cover key aspects of the customer experience. 

This is an especially important metric to keep an eye on, as 88% of companies are now dedicating positive customer experience measures to their outreach. 

To see how their company is performing, brands can ask a number of questions on how customers view their company. 

Common topics covered in a customer email survey include:

  • Areas of satisfaction
  • Product/service quality
  • Likelihood to recommend (New Promoter Score)
  • Demographic information

The customer email survey questions will be crafted specifically for those who shop at a brand to ensure relevance. Once the survey data is collected, brands will be able to see how they can improve their offerings. 

Here is an example of a customer survey Expedia sent via email.

Expedia customer email survey

Product Feedback Surveys

Another way email surveys can be used is to measure product success. 

Product feedback surveys can be conducted before and after a new product has launched. 

For a product to have success, consumer input is necessary--and surveys are a fantastic way to measure this. 

This is a very strategic move for businesses to make, as only 66% of current companies are employing product success measures. By sending out email surveys to gather product feedback, brands can give themselves an edge against competitors. 

In these surveys, consumers will share their honest opinion about the quality of a product. From there, brands can use that data to improve current products. 

This can certainly be done for products that have launched, but it's especially advantageous for products that haven't hit the shelves yet.

Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee satisfaction rates are the highest they're been in a while at over 60%. 

A great way for companies to be at this level is through employee engagement surveys.

Employee surveys gather staff sentiment about their current company. By sharing their thoughts, leadership and management teams can improve working conditions. 

As with our other examples, the survey is sent to the employee's email. It's especially important to hire a third-party market research team for this one, as they will ensure all answers remain anonymous.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Surveys sent via email can cover many topics. Some of these include customer satisfaction, product feedback, and employee engagement. These surveys are highly versatile due to their simple nature. 

Benefits of Email Surveys  

It's no secret that these surveys are simple to construct and distribute. They're able to effectively reach a target audience in a short amount of time and gather actionable feedback. 

Let's go over some of the top reasons you should invest in email surveys, shall we?


Surveys sent through email are significantly cheaper than other methods like phone or paper surveys.

Because everything is done online, the cost of additional communications is zero. This makes them ideal for businesses that are on a tight budget but still need to run surveys. 

Wide Reach

Everyone has an email (or most people do, at least.) And for those who want to reach a large number of people quickly, email surveys are the way to go. 

It's an easy (yet high-quality) option for businesses that need fast feedback from a big audience. The key is crafting the ideal email list, so the survey gets to the right people.

An experienced market research team will target specific groups of people based on the needs of the client. This will ensure only relevant addresses get through and no survey will be wasted. 

With good email survey questions, businesses can get data from:

  • Customers
  • Clients
  • Stakeholders
  • Employees 

Convenience for Respondents

Respondents provide better answers when they feel at ease. 

Email surveys are a low-pressure way to gather feedback without the respondent panicking due to short time constraints. They're able to answer the questions at their leisure. 

The obvious benefit here? 

The more relaxed respondents are, the better answers they'll provide. After all, no one gives solid responses when there's a time crunch. 

Speed of Data Collection

Email survey response rates are typically quite high, due to how easy they are to complete. 

And we already covered that these surveys don't take long, assuring responses will come in quickly. In some cases, clients may begin to see responses flowing in within minutes of the survey being sent. 

The faster results come in, the faster clients can receive their data and begin positive changes! 

Automated Processes

Lastly, a big benefit of email surveys is that they include automotive functions. 

For instance, respondents will receive automatic reminders and scheduled sending features. It's normal for respondents to get sidetracked with other duties and forget to do their survey. 

With surveys over email, they will be gently reminded to complete the survey. This also takes the pressure off of the client, as they don't have to worry about manually sending the reminders. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Sending surveys over email offers a number of great benefits. Not only cost-effective and convenient, these surveys have the ability to gather quality data insights. 

Email Survey Best Practices

There's always a right way and a wrong way to do market research. Below, we'll cover the right steps to conducting a survey to send over email but for a more in-depth perspective, I recommend reading our blog post, 10 Tips to Build a Better Email Survey Invitation.

Choosing the Right Questions

A good survey is made up of good, thoughtful questions. It's pretty simple: the two main styles of survey questions are open-ended and closed-ended questions

Open-ended questions allow respondents to type in their answers and expand on them. A close-ended question forces the respondent to choose from a set of answers. Chances are, you've answered both styles of questions at some point. 

open-ended vs close-ended questions

Well-written email survey questions will also never lead the respondent to a particular conclusion. The goal is to avoid bias of any kind to ensure the most authentic response. 

While this may seem obvious, keeping personal bias out of survey questions can be difficult. This is why it's so important to partner with an experienced team, like Drive Research. 

Survey Length and Structure

No one likes a long, clunky survey. 

And yes, it is possible to make surveys fun to take! The key is keeping it short--which we all know by now--and good sentence structure. 

Think of it as telling a story. An email survey should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. This makes it easier for the respondent and avoids confusion. 

We also recommend adding in some personality to the survey questions, as it keeps respondents engaged! 

Personalization and Branding 

Email surveys should also take on the tone and overall message of the client's company. 

Not only does this help with engagement, but it also makes the survey more authentic. The more authentic the survey, the better quality responses will be. 

A significant amount of time should be spent on this step to ensure the survey matches with its brand. 

Crafting Compelling Email Subject Lines

Did you know that 64% of recipients will choose to open an email based solely on the subject line? This is why it's so important to spend time on this step! 

Since this is an email that needs to be opened, creating catchy subject lines can make all the difference. But good subject lines need to be more than catchy. 

They should...

  • Be personable
  • Contain accurate information
  • Trigger curiosity

Wrap this all into one subject line, and you're guaranteed high open rates. 

Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Including a CTA in the email survey will motivate respondents to take it, instead of putting it off. 

CTAs can look different depending on the survey, but they all work to encourage the respondent to begin the survey, continue on, and finish it. Including easy, direction-motivated steps like this will have a positive effect on response rates. 

Timing and Frequency 

Choosing when to send survey invites and reminders is a delicate space. 

On one hand, these prompts need to be sent more than once (in most cases) to motivate the respondent. On the other hand, it's important to not bombard the recipient with constant reminder emails. 

Consider how long the survey window is open, and then choose how often to send these prompts accordingly. 

What's more, sending something like a pre-invite email is a good way to alert the participant that a survey is coming. With this move, participants will be primed to expect a survey invite in their inbox. 

Maximizing Survey Response Rates 

There's no point in sending an email survey if it's not going to reach the respondent. 

Unfortunately, this can happen sometimes--but it doesn't have to. A solid market research team will make extra efforts to ensure that the emails used are active. From there, they will begin to build out segmented email lists that only include active addresses. 

It's also important that the email survey invite isn't "spammy" in nature. This not only means the quality of the sending address but also the language. 


Surveys and incentives go hand-in-hand. 

It's easy: respondents are more likely to take a survey if there's a reward (often monetary) involved. We find that gift cards are a great way to motivate respondents. 

When they see there's a chance to get a sizable gift card to a store like Target or Walmart, they just become that much more motivated to not put the survey off. 

Follow-Up Strategies 

And last but definitely not least: nailing those reminder emails. 

Again, the amount of reminder emails and how many you send depend on your timeline and the urgency of the email survey. Typically, there will be two to three reminder emails encouraging the respondent to take the survey. 

It's also important to get the language down. The reminder shouldn't be overly pushy. Instead, think of it as a gentle nudge--and create the copy accordingly. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: There are a number of best practices to follow when sending off an email survey. Prioritize areas like subject lines, reminder updates, and different ways to motivate respondents. 

Contact Our Email Survey Company

Uncover hidden customer preferences, measure satisfaction, and drive meaningful improvements with our full-service online survey company. Drive Research partners with organizations across the country to custom design, program, and field email surveys.

Plus, we add a layer of consultation to every project so you walk away with more than just charts and graphs, but actionable recommendations for how to implement the data into your business and marketing strategy.

Interested in getting a quote or learning more about our services? Contact Drive Research today.

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  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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