31 Mar Invitation Wording for Event Survey Email



Event Survey Email Content


Generating a strong response rate for an online event survey relies on a thought out strategy to deliver the event survey invitation. Event producers often ask what tactics are most effective in stimulating email open and clickthrough rates. The ultimate goal of the event survey email is the clickthrough. So, what are best practices to cause the survey clickthrough?

This entry looks at email content. The entry is based on observed clickthrough rates and a review of best practices developed by email service providers like Constant Contact, ExactTarget, and MailChimp.

Customizing a Salutation

Is a salutation necessary in an email? Customizing a salutation with “Dear FirstName” is not necessarily best. If nothing else, the “Dear” greeting line takes up space. Adding space could push the event survey link below the viewable screen (below the fold). The primary purpose of the email is to create clickthroughs. Even if it’s only a small percentage of potential respondents who do not scroll down, that small group is excluded from seeing the survey link. Conversely, clickthrough rates could be higher if the event survey link is visible without scrolling.

According to a MailChimp study an email should avoid using the word “Dear” if possible. MailChimp suggests that the word “Dear” influences whether an email is filtered as spam. It may be better to replace “Dear” with “Hi” or some other alternative.

If a salutation is included than it’s important to thoroughly review the list of first names. This review can be a time consuming process, but it’s important to be certain each first name begins with an uppercase letter. Also, that each contact actually has a first name associated with it. If a first name field is empty the output in your email send will look something like “Hi ,”. This does more to alienate a prospect than excluding personal salutations all together.

For these reasons it may be best to skip the “Dear” salutation and simply begin the email with sentence number one.

First Sentence

In the first sentence thank the delegate (attendee, exhibitor, sponsor, etc.) for attending the Blank Show. The Blank Show name is likely in the email subject line and using the Blank Show name in the email’s first sentence reinforces the connection to the event. Thanking the prospect in the first sentence is a disarming tactic. The prospect feels comfortable being thanked, and is connected to the event. Hopefully they feel receptive and continue reading the email.

First paragraph

After the first sentence it’s important to get right to the point. Within the next two sentences the email should ask for the prospect’s participation in the survey and explain how it benefits the respondent and also the event producer. Be clear and direct in the call to action. For example:

“Please click the link below and complete the Blank Show survey”.

The survey URL or href attribute that specifies the survey URL should be placed as close to the first sentence as possible. There is a balancing act since it’s necessary for the letter to flow easily. The path can be as short as (1) Thank you (2) Reason for email (3) Call to action.

Above the Fold

Above the fold may also be considered above the scroll. Many marketers will suggest that the most important information should go above the fold. It’s reasonable to expect an immediately visible call to action will have a higher clickthrough rate than a buried call to action. The use of mobile devices to read email has arguably diminished the need to place the most important information above the fold. That’s because prospects may be more agreeable, or at least more accustomed, to scrolling on their mobile device than a desktop.

More important than placement above the fold is optimizing the email for mobile devices. Images/logos should resize by proportion of screen size. Before sending the event survey email it is a good idea to test the email on a desktop as well as several types of mobile devices. How does the email look on a tablet compared to a mobile phone?

Adding Deadline and Signature

In the initial survey invitation it may be better not to include a deadline. Under normal conditions the event survey email campaign will include reminders. When reminders are sent the event producer will have a better feel for the response rate and how long the survey should remain open. Simply put, holding off on a survey deadline provides flexibility to the event producer.

In most event surveys the bulk of the responses arrive after the initial survey invitation. Based on various observations this has more to do with either event loyalty or complaints than time urgency.

Providing a deadline in a survey reminder email offers the event producer a new message. The fact is the deadline to complete the event survey would be drawing closer with each survey reminder. Delivering that message should have meaning for prospects.

In concluding the email a signature from an individual associated with the event is a powerful reinforcement that there is a real link between the event and the survey respondent. The name of the person in the “From” field should be in the email signature. For example:


Bob Smith
Blank Show Director
Blank Association

Whether or not direct contact information is provided is up to each event producer.

Incentives and Spam Filters

Incentives are often used to increase response rates, particularly in consumer event surveys. However, too many spammy references can activate spam filters. Try to avoid using “free” and “$” sign in the same sentence or even the same paragraph. Also announcing a “CONTEST” or “SWEEPSTAKES” can be seen as a sales gimmick and turn off readers.

Much like tactics for the email subject line, straight forward announcements can be best.

Last Thoughts

In many cases the event survey invitation is emailed to prospective survey respondents without enough care. Last minute planning can negatively impact email open and clickthrough rates. This can result in low survey response rates. Event producers conducting online surveys benefit from higher response rates and meaningful survey data by carefully mapping an email campaign. Email tactics begin with a pinpoint email subject line, identifiable “from” name, and properly constructed cover letter.