8 of our favorite and most effective survey email subject lines

Survey says: The subject line can make or break the entire email.

Surveys are a perfect way to keep email from becoming a one-way street. They incentivize the reader to provide a response and let them know their information is valued.

They help businesses know what to sell, how to improve, and how they’re doing overall with their customer base. But to get the customer to take the survey, or even open it in the first place, you have to have a compelling subject line.

Here we’ll show off eight of the most effective survey email subject lines and explain what each has going for it. 

8 of the top survey email subject line examples to follow

Did you know over a third of email recipients will choose whether to open an email solely based on the subject line?

From emotional, actionable statements to interesting questions, there are plenty of strategies for crafting the perfect subject line. Knowing how to structure yours can set your next survey campaign up for success.  

1. How likely are you to recommend us?

The customer who had the best experience and the customer who had the worst experience aren’t that different — in one regard. Both may be quick to let the company know just how fast they’ll tell others about their experience. 

Insurify recommendation example

Source: Really Good Emails

This email subject line usually follows a pretty standard formula. It can start off by giving thanks, then transitions right into the question of how likely the customer is to spread the word.

The survey itself may have one or several questions. Depending on the rating, it may follow up with “What made you give this rating?” or even “What could we do to make you raise your rating in the future?”

Incentivizing referrals and reviews is a sure way to take customers from just buyers to full-fledged promoters who spread the word about your brand. 

2. Respond and get a complimentary gift

Completing a survey isn’t exactly hard work. However, some people still view it as cumbersome, and they won’t want to spend their time on it — without an incentive.

Frye email example

Source: Really Good Emails

This can be a smart strategy for boosting the sale of a particular product line or service category. For example, a gift card can be given at the time when a new product line is launching. Or, a person could be given a free trial of a new service. In either case, it’s a way to reward a person for completing a survey and nudge them toward future purchases.

3. Give us your thoughts

It may sound simple, but people appreciate being asked for their opinion. This is especially true for customers who put down their hard-earned money at a business. When you’re asking their opinion, don’t forget to get creative. 

Food52 email example

Source: Really Good Emails

The “food for thought” line is perfect for restaurants and culinary companies. One of the main strategies for creating an effective email subject line for sales and engagement is to say something interesting. Getting clever with your phrasing can be the difference between a click and a pass. Other examples could be:

  • Fitness facilities: “Help us pump up our service.”

  • Universities: “Give us the knowledge needed to grow.”

  • Nonprofits: “Donate your feedback to help us help others.”

What makes this example effective is that it doesn’t automatically scream “this is a survey request.” The clever line piques the reader’s interest, and after they read the preview or body text, they know what’s being asked. By that time, they may appreciate the creativity and complete the survey. 

4. We value your feedback

People appreciate being appreciated. While they know that businesses are out to sell a product or service, they like being valued.

Not only should a customer’s money be valued, but their time and opinion should be valued as well. Shifting the focus here takes the emphasis away from profits and puts it on people — effectively humanizing the brand and making the customers feel like individuals, not numbers. 

Lyft feedback email example

Source: Really Good Emails

The strength of this example lies in its versatility. While this particular email asks about the experience this person had, this approach can be used for anything. This email could ask whether a customer’s issue was resolved successfully, how easy it was to sign up to an online portal, or even how the company rates after a certain period has passed. 

By opening up with value, a company immediately makes the recipient feel important, giving them a reason to keep reading. 

5. Tell us how we did

This approach flips the perspective. Usually, it’s a customer who’s impacted by the company. The amount of value they get for their money depends on how well the company does, the quality of their products, and the willingness of their staff to go the extra mile.

dropbox feedback email example

Source: Really Good Emails

How many customers would love the chance to tell a company exactly what they thought? This email gives them the opportunity. 

The difference between this entry and the ones before it is the fact that the company isn’t asking about something that would benefit them. They’re purely interested in the customer’s perspective. As for the subject line, it’s all about phrasing: “How satisfied were you?” “What did you think about your experience?” 

When the focus is put solely on the customer and their satisfaction, the survey comes across as more genuine — and, in some cases, more worthwhile to complete.  

6. How’s your experience so far?

The feeling of newness takes some time to wear off. Though it can be exciting in some ways, there’s also something a little awkward about it. People may not be completely comfortable in a new setting, and it’s nice to have someone ask how they’re acclimating. 

This is also true for customers who’ve recently signed up, subscribed, or made a purchase. 

Bellroy email example

Source: Really Good Emails

It’s a casual approach. The subject line can be anything from the above “Settled in yet?” to “How’s it going so far?”

This subject line also sets you up for an array of options. You can ask about a customer’s sign-up process, their experience navigating the site, their time with customer service, and much more. These emails can also be sent at various frequencies. While the above was sent 30 days after sign-up, other emails can be sent every few months, quarterly, or annually. 

7. Would you rather…

A survey doesn’t always have to come across like a survey. While it’s all about making choices, it can be narrowed down to a simple “this or that” selection.

WYR survey idea

Source: Really Good Emails

These emails are less about gathering data for the sake of feedback or performance improvement, and more about keeping the user engaged.

It’s a fun way to get the reader used to interacting with the brand, so when a more pertinent question does come up, they’re already comfortable responding. 

Common ways to phrase this type of subject line include “Which is better,” “Would you rather,” and “Pick your favorite.”  

If you’re looking to use this approach to gain insights you can use, consider posing questions about which product should go on sale, or which type of service package should be offered next. This can be even more effective at convincing people to get involved, as it’s a choice that could impact their purchasing habits later. 

8. Got a minute?

One reason it’s tricky to get people to fill out a survey is that they often worry it’ll take too long. Over half of people said they would refuse to finish a survey if it took longer than three minutes

wirecutter short survey example

Source: Really Good Emails

By opening up with a time frame, you can show readers your survey won’t take too much of their day. This example is focused on getting insight on performance improvement, but this opening line can be applied to any type of survey. Consider the following ideas for various industries:

  • Franchises: “A few minutes can help our franchise.”

  • Restaurants: “A few questions to help feed you better.”

  • Fitness: “A few minutes can improve our fitness facility.”

With a quick mention that the survey itself is brief, you increase the chance people will engage with it and complete it. Not only does this show that you value a reader’s time, but it shows a concise approach, which is indicative of a more efficient brand. 

Brands that value their customer’s time say more with less. If they value your time, they’re more likely to value your business.

Wrap up

The survey is one of the most tried and true forms of email out there. You should get good at it and use it to gather the feedback you need from your audience. Remember:

  • Subject lines can convince a person to open an email they may have otherwise passed on

  • Show customers you value their time and consider rewarding them for their participation

  • Subject lines and surveys can be adapted to various industries

Now, if your surveys aren’t getting answered, you may have inactive subscribers — try winning them back with these effective strategies.

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