A Guide to Sending Surveys Via Email

An email campaign allows you to quickly send out your survey to a list of contacts via an email. If done within the SurveyKing platform, email campaigns send a unique link to each contact, so you'll have the ability to track respondents and send reminders to people who have not taken your survey.

Two Methods for Email Surveys

Using the SurveyKing Platform

This option only requires a few steps. Navigate to the "Distribute" page of your survey, and buy default you will see the email invitation settings. From here you can upload a list of email addresses, change survey settings, and even create your email message for the invite. Each respondent will be given a link that is unique to them, allowing respondents to be tracked.

The email collector type on our platform will also enable you to upload "custom" attributes to each email invitation. For example if you have a list of employees with email address, first name, last name, and department, you can upload all of those attributes. Not only does this allow you to segment the results based on these fields, but you can also include this information with in the email invitation. (e.g you could address each employee by their name and include their department to make the email invite more personal)

Using Your Own Platform

This method could include either generating a web link for your survey, or using a transactional link to embed within your email template. Most often we see these types used when someone wants to capture data after a certain action is triggered on their own website (e.g a customer makes a purchase, which triggers an email, and that email has your survey links.)

If you would like to send email invitations from your own Outlook account, and be able to track your recipients, navigate to the "Transactional" collector, and download the "Email Wizard" Excel file. This file will automate the process for you!

SurveyKing Address Books

Under the "My Account" page you have the option to add an address book. You can use an Excel file to upload the book or manually enter addresses. When you go to send out a survey, you will be able to use this address book and send email invitations at a single click. This is ideal if you need to send a survey on a regular basis, such as to employees.

Why use these? Address books are used to store contact information for different sets of clients, employees, or customers. (e.g One address book could be used for the New York Office Employees, the othe for the Los Angeles, CA employees)


Upload your contacts either in our spreadsheet-like grid, or use a simple input box to upload a list of emails. Our upload feature can quickly take an Excel file and upload a list of emails. The input box needs to have either a space, comma, or semicolon separating each email. This box will populate the email address grid, and you can easily track respondent information.

Click the "Message" tab to edit how the email invitation will look. You can add variables, custom text, and formatting to email.

Once a respondent takes a survey, if they click the email link again they will receive a message saying they completed the survey. If you wish, you can enable response editing and they will be able to view and update their answers.

Sending Reminders

If you used the SurveyKing platform to send invitations, you can send email reminders to people who have not yet taken the survey. To reduce spam, only one email reminder per day can be sent. This grid can be exported to a spreadsheet to further manage your invites.

Respondent Tracking & Statistics

You can view the number and percentage of people who open, clicked, and completed your email invivsations. To do thid visit the "Manage" page. You can export this data to do further analysis. The "Manage" page also will have the IP address and meta data for each email invatation.

What is a Good Response Rate?

Response rates can vary based on who you're are targeting (e.g current employees vs past external customers). Most often large scale email surveys are sent to past customers or to a varying population (such as a local government unit emailing citizens on their mailing list) to conduct research.

On SurveyKing, the average response rate for those types of campaigns is roughly 12%. Since 2016, a 25% completion rate for these types of surveys is in the 90th percentile. Internal surveys such as a small scale internal employee survey, can easily see completion rates north of 60%.

To get an idea of open and click rates, Mailchimp tracks releases email benchmark data on their website.

You can see roughly 20% of people open marketing email, and roughly 3-4% click on the email. Since a survey is a little more interactive and asking for feedback from known people and not directly just selling, it makes sense the click rates will be a little higher.

How to Maximize Email Response Rates

  • Keep your email short - No one wants to read a wall of text. Keep the email short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Send on the right day- According to Mailchimp, the best day to send emails to maximize open rates is Thursday. The best time of day is 10:30am.

(Image courtesy of Mailchimp)

Best day to send emails - Mailchimp study

Email Delivery Issues

If respondents are not getting your email invitations, there could be a few different causes. First ask your respondents to check their spam or junk folders. Spam filters are customizable and can block emails containing specific words. While you can't fully prevent your email invitations from being marked as spam, there are some guidelines you should follow that can help you craft a good message and avoid spam filters.

Some filters may block your messages since the IP addresses we use to send messages don't match the IP address of the email domain you used in the "From" field of the message. Allow SurveyKing IP addresses to keep our messages from being blocked by your servers. Contact us for IP address help!

No luck? If you need to send out the survey quickly and email is not working send it out via a web link!


Option Description
Anonymous Responses Surveys will be labeled as anonymous to give respondents confidence that their answers cannot be tracked. For embedded surveys, this means hiding the IP address of the respondent.
Response Editing With this option, if a respondent clicks a survey they have already taken, they can edit their responses and re-submit a new, updated form.
Sender Email Address You can edit what the email message will display as the "From Email Address". For example, if you create a survey for the office, the office manager may want to have the survey look like it came from him/her. For that example, you would enter in manager@office.com. Any reply to the message will be directed to their manager.
Redirect URL You can enter in a URL for the respondent to be redirected to after they complete their survey.
Close Collector
(Based on Responses)
This will close the collector after a specified number of responses have been received.
Close Collector
(Based on Date)
This will close the collector on a certain date. You cannot accept new responses to a closed survey. You can re-open the survey at any time.
Password Protection A password must be entered before the respondent can access the survey page.