Run surveys. Get insights. Unlock growth.
Free plan, no time limit
Set up in minutes
No credit card required
Share this article:
Copy link iconeCopy link icone hover
Illustration by Agnieszka Wawro
Table of contents

Any question you send to your users through emails can be called email surveys.

So even if you merely write emails to ask about customers satisfaction, we can count it as an email survey. But fortunately, technology allows us to do more and with less effort.

What Are Email Surveys?

Email survey is defined as one of the most efficient data collection methods used to collect quantitative data via email. Email surveys are based on a simple concept: you can embed hyperlinks in an email’s HTML code. This way you can send a survey in an email, and the hyperlinks are responses.

Clicking a link counts as a response to the survey.

All clicks are recorded in a database of your email survey tool, and you can efficiently analyze all collected results. You can see how many surveys were distributed, how many people answered, and their answers.

Email survey can be sent from inboxes like Gmail or integrated with e-mail marketing software or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools like:

Quite useful for collecting feedback from users and customers, right?

Let’s begin with the email survey types to give you a general overview if they might be the possible solution you are looking for.

Types of Email Surveys

Still interested in using email surveys but not sure how you can use them? Here are 6 types of email surveys, universal, and industry-specific.

#1. Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Score Surveys

Both Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are a staple of measuring your customers’ satisfaction with your company and the likelihood of your customers becoming promoters. Email surveys are the perfect venue for your standard product and service-related surveys.

NPS email surveys require little setup as you already have a list of customers’ emails available in most cases. Additionally, by placing the first scoring question in the body of your email, you are guaranteed higher response rates to at least that first question.

Free NPS Survey Template

#2. Post-purchase survey for e-commerce

Popup surveys are a great way of collecting feedback in post-purchase surveys but answers you collect are mostly about the purchase process and the quality of your website.

Email surveys have one advantage over website surveys: you can send them after a certain time since the purchase.

Example: You can send out a survey a week after the purchase is complete.

Then people have a full overview of the quality of your services, from website to shipping time, packaging, and first interactions with the product they had bought.

You can also use surveys to collect insight into your products after some time passes. Use this to locate potential issues with the quality or durability of your product and improve it.

Free Post-Purchase Survey Template

#3. Surveys embedded in newsletters

If you are regularly sending out a newsletter to your customers, you can enhance it further with relevant surveys. You can ask your recipients how useful or relevant the newsletter is to them, or suggest different topics to include in your next newsletter.

This tactic has also some profiling possibilities, as you can get an idea of what individual newsletter recipients like or want to be updated about and personalize your communication in the future.

email survey newsletter example ingeniously uses its newsletter to openly gather feedback on every issue. This feedback becomes each next issue opening content.

Free Newsletter Feedback Survey Template

#4. Trial satisfaction survey

Most SaaS companies face the same problem – trial or free users don’t convert into paying customers. It’s a huge headache and we do our best to limit it with great onboarding strategies and support. But apparently, it’s not enough.

Not so many companies want to share their results because no one wants to admit to low stats. Thus studies are few and it’s difficult to find a benchmark of conversion rates from a trial to paying customers.

Lincoln Murphy has an amazing article on why these conversion rates are not only hard to normalize but to decrypt what their true value is.

Collecting feedback from trial users can be crucial to understanding how to move forward and email surveys are great for this.

The best practice is to send such a survey at least a few days before the trial period finishes and ask how satisfied they are with the trial so far. Why?

Because this way you have enough time to act and do your best to convince the not convinced to become customers.

Sometimes a short email from the support team can completely change the way people think about you. A simple example from our experience: we sent a survey to trial users to find out why so many of them cancel accounts.

A few users were dissatisfied and likely to churn because they thought we didn’t offer UTM targeting. It took Daniel, our support hero, 5 minutes to write emails with an explanation of how to set UTM targeting. Result? Happy customers and higher MRR.

What is most interesting is the fact that our scoring system didn’t work at all for some of those users – they seemed to be achieving good results and taking all actions we considered as crucial on the way to becoming customers.

It turns out that one click in an email survey and then a few words of answers to a follow-up question can be more effective in turning trials into customers than fancy scoring systems.

#5. Satisfaction survey for events and conferences

The satisfaction of attendees is one of the crucial factors for organizers (or at least it should be). In fact, some conferences share their NPS as social proof to show people that the event is worth attending and participants love it.

And is there any easier way of collecting their feedback than via email surveys? I don’t know any. All participants are on your mailing lists so you can distribute the survey without a struggle. You can send a link to a survey as well, but as already mentioned, response rates will be usually lower.

Collected insights will show you what to improve and make the next edition of your event even better than the previous one.

#6. Increasing mobile app retention

Mobile app developers face a similar problem to SaaS companies whose trails don’t convert into customers – people download apps and then don’t use them. According to this research, only around 25% of people still use an app three months after downloading it and some studies suggest it’s even less.

Finding a way of activating and engaging more users is a million-dollar question for developers. What do email surveys have to do with that?

If you require creating an account with an email (like Endomondo does) you can use email surveys to find out why people don’t activate. Of course, you can use traditional surveys as well, but let’s be honest – how many people who chose not to use your app will be willing to sacrifice their time to fill out a long questionnaire?

I bet not many. In-app surveys won’t work either – after all, people would need to open the app to be able to take part in a survey. So use email surveys.

Come up with a few questions regarding your mobile app, send out a survey, see why people don’t use your app use the insight to plan fixes.

Email Surveys Question Examples

As listed in the advantages of email surveys, you are limited to types of questions that require just one click to answer. So you can use either scale question or single-answer ones. The first question included in an email can be either a whole survey or just the first step in a survey that appears in a new browser tab.

If you want it to be the first step, make sure this question alone provides you with insightful data.

Example: don’t ask ‘Would you like to participate in a short survey?’. Instead, ask the first survey question.

Even if people answer only the first question and then bounce off from the survey landing page, you still get their responses to the first question.

This is why the most popular questions to ask in an email survey include:

How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?

Net Promoter Score – it’s probably the most popular question used in email surveys and there are tools specializing only in it. Why? Because NPS provides companies with lots of information valuable for marketing and support teams.

Don’t forget to ask a popular follow-up question: ‘What’s the main reason for your answer?’. Using this pair of questions, you’ll not only find out how people assess you, but also what are your biggest advantages and disadvantages.

How satisfied are you with …

Ask about the trial, interactions with your support team, quality of support materials, etc. Don’t forget to ask the same follow-up questions as in the previous example – ‘What is the reason for your answer?’. You can use the same scale as in an NPS survey or smiley faces.

How likely are you to …

You can ask about anything here, like using a mobile app, buy or attend again, etc. Up to you, your industry and needs. Be creative!

Why did you …

Ask about reasons for certain actions (like not using your mobile app, choosing you over competitors, etc.)

All of these are basic choices. You can use email surveys similarly to website survey tools – for example, ask what other products people want you to offer, what you can do to improve their experience, what’s missing on the website, why they decided to quit shopping, what people want you to write about on a blog, etc.

Just remember that while most people don’t mind participating in a few website surveys if they visit your website frequently, they are likely to get fed up with email surveys if you send them too often.

A rule of thumb – don’t send more than one survey a month and stop sending to people who didn’t answer several times – you will only annoy them. If surveys are sent based on user activity (like trying new features in a SaaS tool), it can be more frequent but be reasonable.

Advantages and disadvantages of email surveys


  • High response rates since they require little effort to answer
  • Can lead into a longer survey on a landing page, resulting in larger feedback
  • Can be integrated with mailing or marketing automation software to automatically send surveys after certain actions performed by a user or customer to send a targeted and contextual survey. It also gives a possibility of enriching customer or leads profiles with collected answers
  • Can be integrated into automation software to automatically send targeted surveys to customers after they perform a specific action
  • In contrast to website surveys or live chat, email surveys don’t require adding any code to your website. Support managers can push the decision to start using mail survey more easily and the IT team won’t complain about additional work since there is none


  • Can be distributed to customers or subscribers only – after all, it requires an email address.
  • Limited to asking simple questions that require a single click to answer.
  • No possibility of using text fields in the first question sent in an email.
  • Creating an effective survey requires some knowledge about email marketing. Writing catchy subject lines is crucial for securing high open rates and it directly translates into the number of answers you collect.

How to Send a Survey via Email

You can now embed the Single Answer 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!

How does embedding surveys in emails work?

The Single Answer question has become the third survey question type that you can embed directly in an email.

The three supported survey questions that you can embed directly into the email’s body are:

  • Single Answer question
  • Net Promoter Score question
  • Smiley Scale question

If you’re using a supported question type as the first question of your survey, you can embed it in an email so customers can respond with just one click.

As soon as they click an answer in the email, we’ll automatically record the response. If there are more questions, we’ll send them to the first page of your survey so they can continue taking the survey.

How do I embed a survey in an email?

In order to embed a survey in an email, log in to your Survicate account first (if you don't already have one, set it up now - we offer an unlimited free plan).

  1. Create an email survey (also referred to as a link survey).
  2. Make sure the first step of your survey is either a Single Answer, Net Promoter Score, or Smiley Scale question.
  3. Head over to Share and copy the HTML embed code.
  4. Paste the HTML code into an email editor and send out the survey via your favorite email marketing tool.

Survicate provides templates for over 30 email platforms like HubSpot, Intercom, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, Marketo, and more.

Custom solutions are also supported. As long as your email tool allows HTML, you’ll be able to embed a survey into an email.

Why should I embed a survey into an email?

If you embed a survey into an email, you will be able to:

  • get high response rates, as email embeddable surveys are very engaging
  • identify respondents and follow up with each customer individually
  • pass what you already know about your respondents (type of subscription, event attended, recent purchases) from your system to Survicate to slice and dice data
  • run follow-up marketing campaigns and set up marketing automations based on survey responses and customer feedback
  • connect survey data to the tools you love and use to acquire, engage and retain more customers, and more!

Will I be able to embed more question types in emails?

Survicate is one of the very few survey tools to have as many as three question types embeddable in emails. But, of course, we are planning on adding more question types in the future. Stay tuned!

Choose a Suitable Email Survey Tool

Choosing the right survey software means first deciding how you are going to use it. If you are aiming to collect NPS then a lot of tools out there might seem like a good choice, until you aim to personalize every aspect of your communication towards the user with your survey.

Likewise, you need a tool that allows your users to give their personalized feedback as well as the basic score.

But do you really need to limit yourself to NPS type surveys only? Why not go for advanced capabilities from the start?

Since profile building capabilities should be your focus too, as well as possibilities to design your survey, personalize it with styles, fonts, and logos, and making it fit your email and communication strategies, make sure to choose the right survey software - such as Survicate.

Start sending email surveys as links and embeds directly from your survey software - today.

Multilingual surveys are now live,
Productboard, Mixpanel and Amplitude Integrations are