How To
7 min read

How to Write Irresistible Survey Email Subject Lines - With Examples

Nicole Hankey

July 27, 2022

Introduction

How many times have you actually participated in an email survey? If you’re like me, the answer is not many. In fact, I delete survey emails so routinely that I hardly even notice them unless they have a particularly striking subject line. 

Turns out this isn’t just true for me—research demonstrates that 64% of people choose to open an email based on the subject line alone. And not only will the subject line determine your open rate, it also heavily influences which emails get flagged as spam. According to another study, 69% of people mark an email as spam based solely on its subject line. 

I’m assuming you don’t want your survey emails deleted and filed in spam folders, otherwise you wouldn’t bother sending them out. We’ve compiled this list of tips and examples to help you get the most out of your survey campaigns and achieve the results you want (emails opened and surveys completed!). 

Tips for writing the best survey email subject lines

Crafting the perfect subject line goes beyond simply describing what your email is about. To get the most engagement from your surveys, you need to keep a few different things in mind. Follow this list of handy tips for writing your survey subject lines and watch as the results pour in. 

Make them personal

One surefire way to get someone’s attention is to use their name. This will immediately capture your reader’s interest, giving the rest of your subject line a chance to keep it. In fact, personalizing your subject lines can result in up to 50% higher open rates

Personalization goes beyond just using a customer’s name, however. You can also refer to their customer/loyalty status, purchase history, or other characteristics. 

Connect to the reader’s emotions

Connected to personalization is appealing to people’s emotions. A cold, robotic sounding email subject line is more likely to get ignored, while a warm, engaging tone encourages a response. The specific type of emotion you want to invoke will vary based on your business and content, of course, but most likely, you’ll want to strive for a tone that inspires, excites, or motivates. These are the feelings that ‌drive us to take action.

Ask a question

Our brains are wired to respond to questions, so this is another great way to grab your reader’s attention before they automatically press delete. Luckily, this is quite a natural tactic to employ with survey emails, since you’re probably already asking a question with the survey itself.

The key is to rephrase the question in an enticing way to pique the person’s interest and prompt them to respond. For example, your survey topic might be “How can we improve customer satisfaction?”, but that would make a terrible subject line. Something like, “Nicole, how did we do?” would be much more effective.

Offer an immediate incentive

When you send out an email survey, you’re vying for people’s time and attention. So, you need to make it worth their while. An unfortunate feature of human psychology is that we’re unlikely to do something unless we know what’s in it for us.

You can use this to your advantage when crafting your subject lines and offer an immediate incentive for responding and completing the survey. What you choose to offer will vary based on your business and goals, but including something for free is a proven way to increase engagement. 

Avoid triggering spam filters

As we touched on earlier, 69% of people are all too eager to send your email straight to the spam folder if your subject line sounds fishy. But before they even have a chance to do so, their email’s spam filters may beat them to it.

It’s a waste of your time and resources if your emails never even see the light of day in your customer’s inbox. So, how do you avoid triggering spam filters? You’ll want to make sure you steer clear of “spammy” terms and formatting—using all-caps, exclamation points, “URGENT”, etc. Even if your email clears the spam filters, your reader is likely to delete it immediately, anyway. 

Let common sense be your guide here. If it sounds like spam to you, it’ll probably sound like spam to them.

Use A/B testing to your advantage

A/B testing is a highly effective way to try out different subject lines to optimize their performance and improve your results. Companies that take advantage of A/B testing significantly improve their open and response rates

This is a simple way to find out what works and what doesn’t, without having to pause your campaign for research. Simply split your audience into two groups and use a different subject line for each group to determine which gets the best results.  

Include the word “survey”

Confusion is the enemy of engagement. You want to make it clear what your email is about—if you’re sending a survey, you should say that in the subject line. Clarifying what you’re wanting from your readers will create a sense of transparency and trust that will subtly influence their likelihood of responding. 

If you want a workaround for explicitly saying “survey,” you can imply it in the way you phrase your subject line. For example, using phrases like, “share your thoughts,” “fill out our form,” “answer a few questions,” etc., all accomplish the same goal of letting your readers know what your email is all about. 

Create a sense of urgency

You may not want to use the word “urgent”, but you do want to make your customer feel a sense of urgency to respond. The easiest way to do this is to make your survey time-sensitive. To make this even more effective, tie it into your incentive as well.

Use emojis for added personality

Marketers have differing opinions on if emojis are effective, but if you use them correctly, they can definitely help your email campaign succeed. The key is to use them sparingly, make sure they relate to the topic, and don’t use them in every subject line.

Using multiple emojis in the same subject, using random emojis that have nothing to do with your survey or business, or relying on emojis in every email can lead to your emails coming across as annoying instead of engaging. 

Optimize for both desktop and mobile

You’ll want to make sure your subject line looks great on any device. If you’ve followed the above tips and created a killer subject line, the last thing you want is for half of it to be cut off on your customers’ mobile devices. 

According to one study, 41 characters (around seven words) is the ideal email subject line length. However, with so many factors determining subject line success, you don’t have to treat this as a hard and fast rule, but rather as a loose guideline to help keep you on track.

Example survey email subject lines to inspire your next campaign

Now that you have a handle on survey email subject line best practices, check out this list of specific use case examples for extra inspiration.

Remember that it’s impossible to incorporate all of the above guidelines into every single subject line. The key is to choose a couple of points to focus on at a time (this is where A/B testing can really help you out!).

Incorporating incentives

If you’ve chosen the route of emphasizing offering incentives for completing your survey, here are some examples to get you started. 

  • Want 50% off your next purchase? Share your thoughts with us!

  • Answer a few questions and get a free 🎁!

  • Help us help you (and win a prize)!

Gauging customer satisfaction

If you offer a product or service, you’ll want to know what your customers think of it. You might also want to know what the customer experience is like navigating your website or app. Regardless of the specific aspect of your business you’re aiming to improve, getting a feel for customer satisfaction is vital. 

  • [Recipient name], be honest! How was [experience or product]?

  • How’d we do?

  • How can we make [product/service] better?”

Asking for feedback

Collecting and evaluating customer feedback is a crucial part of any business. Here are some effective ideas to prompt your customers to share their thoughts.

  • Can we pick your brain 🧠?

  • Penny for your thoughts?

  • Your voice matters! Let us know what you think.

B2B survey format

When your customers are other businesses, you may want to tailor your subject lines to them. 

  • [Recipient business], tell us about your goals 💯!

  • We want you to succeed! How can we help?

  • B2B survey—let us know how we’re doing!

Gauging employee satisfaction

Sometimes you may want to get feedback from your employees instead of your customers. This can be valuable for improving your workplace culture and processes and increasing employee morale. 

  • We can’t do this without you! We need your feedback.

  • You’re a valuable part of [business], let us know what you think.

  • Survey—how was our recent [event/meeting]?

How to make your survey inviting 

If you want to move beyond simply announcing your survey, try framing it as an invitation to make it more appealing for your readers.

  • [Recipient name], you’re invited! Help us answer a few questions.

  • Survey invitation: We need your opinion ✅!

  • Survey invitation & free reward!

How to use questions

If you want to encourage a response, try phrasing your subject line as a question instead of a statement. 

  • [Recipient name], how does a free gift sound?

  • Do you mind giving us a hand 🖐?

  • [Recipient name], how can we make your experience better?

Surveys for product/service reviews

Maybe instead of trying to gauge overall feedback on a service or product, you’re aiming for a specific rating. Here are some ways to ask for reviews specifically.

These can be especially effective if you include a rating system or review field directly in the body of the survey email. This can also help increase the response rate if your customers don’t have to take the extra step of following an external link. 

  • 🤔 We’re curious—how would you rate [product/service]?

  • [Recipient name], your opinion matters! Leave us a review?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how was your recent experience?

Research surveys

Occasionally, you might be sending out a survey for research purposes. In that case, you’ll want to spell out what you’re collecting data for. People will be more inclined to respond if you make your work sound interesting and exciting. While that might be difficult within the confines of an email subject line, make sure you give more details in the body of the email. 

  • [Recipient name]—we’re researching [topic]! Help us out?

  • We need your thoughts to help us research [topic]!

  • 🤓 [Recipient name], are you interested in [topic]? So are we!

How to craft the best subject lines with the least amount of work

Hopefully, if you stick to the tips and examples we’ve included in this guide, you’ll be crafting irresistible survey email subject lines in no time. But don’t stop reading yet; we’ve saved the best tip for last! 

Chances are, you want to increase your productivity and reach your goals with the least amount of effort possible, right? Well, there’s a simple (and free!) tool that can help you do just that. 

AI is your new best friend

Copy.ai is an AI generation tool that you can use to write anything from survey email subject lines to full blog posts. They have 45 dedicated tools and templates you can explore, and they also have a freestyle tool you can customize to your specific needs. 

Here’s a screenshot of their Catchy Email Subject Lines template:

All you have to do is fill out a few details about your brand/product (and in our case, survey), and let the AI generator do the rest! If you like the gist of one of the suggestions but want to edit it a bit to be a better fit for your needs, you can use the handy editor on the right-hand side of the screen to make it perfect. 

Conclusion

Email surveys are an important part of your business—whether for marketing, research, or to improve your customer engagement and satisfaction—so you want to ensure they’re getting the response they deserve. 

By following this handy guide to writing irresistible email survey subject lines, you’ll be raking in survey results in no time. 

Remember to keep it short and sweet, personalize it to your reader, phrase it as a question when possible, use incentives to your advantage, and use emojis for added flair and personality.

And, don’t forget to give Copy.ai a try to make your job even easier! 

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