Email surveys are among the most popular quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. It is based on administration survey questionnaires via emails to a specific target audience. 

Email surveys are a direct way to retrieve feedback from your customers.

There are two ways of administering email surveys; The first method involves embedding hyperlinks in an email’s HTML code.

This way, email surveys are sent via email, and the hyperlinks are the responses. In this case, clicking on the link counts as a response to the survey, and all clicks are recorded in a database for efficient analysis of the results.

The second method involves sending emails from your inbox or using a range of software or CRM tools like;


These tools are very useful for garnering feedback from users. However, with the volume of emails that people receive daily, it’s easy for email surveys to get lost in the crowd and stay unopened.

The key to unraveling this mystery is irresistible email subject lines that would push the recipients to click the open button and ultimately evoke a response.

Here is how to write email survey subject lines guaranteed to be opened by your target audience.


Why Survey Email Subject Lines Affect Response Rate

Understanding how email subject lines affect your response rate is important. This is because the email subject lines are the second most vital indicator of the success of an email, right after the sender’s name. 

Everyone wants to avoid recipients hitting the delete button once they receive your email.

Statistics have shown that 69% of people use the email’s subject line to identify spam quickly. Certain factors trigger the desire to trash your email immediately. The first is the length of your subject line. 

Subject lines with fewer than 10 words give you a better chance of getting your emails opened. A research study based on the book E-mail Subject Lines and Their Effect on Web Survey Viewing and Response by Stephen R. Porter and Michael E. Whitcomb shows that the response rate for emails was higher when the word survey was not included in the subject lines.

This was followed by a certain amount of suspense evoked by keeping all the details of the email message out of the subject line. It was discovered that this technique piqued the curiosity of high school and university students, and a higher response rate was recorded compared to emails with subject lines that had the word survey and left no room for suspense.


Factors That Engage Email Survey Recipients

1. Evoke a sense of urgency 

When pressed for time, people usually respond spontaneously and take action immediately. Employing words that depict a time restriction instills a sense of urgency and eliminates any desire to procrastinate or delay responding to the email survey.

Here are some effective examples;

  • Urgent; Have we helped to solve your problem?
  • “One more day left to subscribe to [a webinar].”

2. Personalization

Personalizing subject lines by inserting recipients’ names have shown to increase the open rate of such emails by up to 50%. You could personalize your emails by;

Using the word “you”: For example, “Abel, could you help….?”

And also refer to recent interactions that they will be sure to remember. For example, if they recently bought a swatch writs watch from your online store, you could say

“We saw you bought a swatch wristwatch from our online store, and we hope you are happy with your purchase?”

3. Use Incentives

Using incentives is a great tool to evoke responses from recipients. Referencing this in the subject line draws attention to your email surveys. 

For example, offering discount codes, freebies, and other benefits upon survey completion works like wildfire. However, this method should be applied cautiously to avoid attracting irrelevant audiences.

Here are some examples of adopting.

  • Share your feedback and get rewarded.
  • You get free pizza and your favorite drink when we get your feedback.

4. Communicate the amount of time for completion

Time is of the essence, and managing people’s expectations on how much of their time is required to complete your survey is a deal breaker. 

This can be communicated in the subject line and can push the response rate higher, as they can decide if they have much time to complete the surveys. 

However, it is important to note that the shorter the time, the better the response rate.

5. Associate the survey with a cause your recipient aligns with

This way, your email would beckon to the recipient by aligning your survey with the cause dear to your heart. For instance, if you are selling vegan products, you can say, “Please give us feedback, and we will donate ….…to stop Elephant poaching for their hides.”

6. Trigger Emotions

Make your target audience feel an emotion via your subject line by using statements that pique their curiosity, for instance; How did we do at our book launch? You can also evoke excitement or encourage them to get heard by leading their voice via their feedback.

How To Write Effective Email Survey Subject Lines

1. Be Clear

Clear subject lines increase response rates by up to  541%. The research by Marketing Sherpa validates this claim.

The clarity, in this case, means aligning the subject line with a clear reason that made you pick out the recipients. For example, 

“Jane, you are a fantastic surfer; we need your opinion.”

This way, the reason for your asking is not vague but spelled out. 

2. Ask Questions

Question-based subject lines are an effective tool for engagement. They help attract the recipient’s attention, and the brain is wired to spot questions, bringing them closer to your message.

This works best when you link the question to a product recently purchased. 

For example, “How did you find our Mac book Air?”

3. Use Emoticons, Make it Fun

Using emoticons and humor usually ignites a feeling of well-being and causes the recipient to be interested in your email.

This can be achieved by replacing some words with emojis and cracking jokes that speak to your surveys.

4. Keep It Brief

Going straight to the point and keeping things short and sharp fosters a better connection with your audience. This is so because people are usually impatient with long lines or sentences. Hence to get their Input faster, use short sentences.

5. Avoid Spam Triggers

Certain words trigger the spam filter in emails. There are free online resources to consult to stop your email from landing in spam. Examples of such triggers are : 

  • Free Installation
  • Amazing stuff
  • Cash bonus
  • Free preview
  • No investment

6. Measure your results against email open rates for your industry

Email open rates depend on the industry. Hence, it is ideal for researching the industry standard for your sector. That way, you can gauge the effectiveness of your emails based on the industry standard. Industry open rates for the previous year can be found in  email statistics for 2021, showing average industry-specific open rates:


Survey Email Subject Line Examples Worth Copying

Here are some precise survey lines you can use as a template to create yours:

This                                                             Instead of This

Did we do great?                                                                         Rate your experience

Did we make your day better?                                                    Tell us what you think

Your Input                                                                                    Your opinion matters

Any feedback?                                                                             Share your thoughts with us.


Subtle differences in word choice help for clarity and precision on your subject lines.

Using emojis like these is a good thing to adopt for your email subject lines.

Want to see what it looks like in an email? Send yourself an example.

  • Examples using personalization

  • “[NAME], we have questions about [insert product]. Can you help?”
  • “Hi [NAME]. Can we talk
  • “Hi [NAME], how do your new [brand] pants fit?”
  • “Hey [NAME]. Want to earn 50% off?


Examples using incentives

  • “Take a quick survey, earn 50% off.”
  • “Looking for a discount on your wishlist items?”
  • “10$(or more) for your thoughts?

Examples using second-person POV

  • Your Monday afternoon trip with Uber” 
  • “Well, tell us what  you think?”
  • “Your feedback makes us great.” 

Examples that create a sense of urgency

  • “It’s now or never to  win a $200 Visa gift card.” 
  • “Last chance! Survey freebies end at midnight.”


How To Send Successful Email Surveys

Embedding emails directly into the email body is an effective way to record success. You can embed the question directly into the email’s body for high response rates. And that’s not where the benefits of embedding a survey in an email end.

Formplus provides templates for over 30 emails that can interpret seamlessly with various platforms. Embedding emails provokes high response rates, enables tracking and personalized follow-up, and allows you to connect survey data to various tools that foster engagement and retention.

1. Use a Suitable Email Survey Tool.

Choosing the right survey software that is straightforward to use without any hassles is crucial. Be it an NPS or any other kind of survey. It is important to use software that allows customization, real-time tracking, and data analysis as one of the free or paid features. The ability to customize your survey to fit your personal brand style, color logo, etc., is also a deciding factor for your choice of the email survey tool, like Formplus. This way, you can send out email links, QR codes, and more from your survey software today.


2. Craft Compelling Survey Email Subject Lines

In a bid to state the obvious, email subject lines are the deal breakers for your email surveys. To avoid a checkmate in your email responses, adopt the steps highlighted in this post. That you are well on your way to surpassing the pass mark in your industry standard open rate mail subject lines is arguably more important than the actual content of your emails. Email lines either ignite curiously or initiate the ignore or delete tab, depending on the tackiness of the subject lines. While a delete button may count as read or action is taken, the email was unsuccessful as long as it doesn’t affect your response rate positively, the email was unsuccessful. Personalization, clarity, brevity, and emotional triggers are some proven methods that guarantee success. 

3. Follow Standard Survey Best Practices

There is a science to surveys generally, and it is known as standard survey best practices, which apply to all kinds of surveys.

  • Use a simple, easy-to-read design with clear and engaging brand images. Avoid cluttering your survey design.
  • Optimize for mobile and desktop. That way, your recipients can switch effortlessly between their phones/computers.
  • Avoid double-barrel questions
  • Let the options for answers be minimal, and the aim is to get feedback and not a Ph.D. thesis evaluation.



Email surveys are one of the most effective channels for gathering quality feedback. The subject lines of the emails are the triggers that ensure you get a response. The more knowledgeable you are on crafting compelling email subject lines, the better your chances of winning.

Whatever your aim is, from customer feedback to NPS surveys, transactional or relational, etc. Email surveys can deliver actionable insights that refine your customer journey regarding a product, customer service, and customer experience.


  • Angela Kayode-Sanni
  • on 9 min read


You may also like:

What Are Audio Surveys?

Introduction Audio surveys are surveys that play audio clips instead of having text on them. This means that instead of reading out loud...

6 min read
Public Opinion Research: Definition, Types & Templates

Introduction Public opinion research is the scientific study of public attitudes and opinions about a particular issue, event, or topic....

9 min read
The PR Pros Guide to Public Relations Surveys

Introduction We all know that public relations is a crucial part of any business’s PR strategy. But how do you know when and how to use...

7 min read
In-Store Surveys: Definition, Benefits, and Example Questions

Introduction If you’re in the market for a new product, it’s important to understand how well your customers understand your concept....

6 min read

Formplus - For Seamless Data Collection

Collect data the right way with a versatile data collection tool. Try Formplus and transform your work productivity today.
Try Formplus For Free