You’re probably familiar with email subject lines that say something like, “Customer satisfaction survey,” “Let us know what you think,” or “Feedback about your recent purchase.”

But how many of those do you actually open?

You already know that subject lines can make or break any email campaign you send out. The tricky thing about survey emails is that you need your subscriber to do something for you once they open the email.

But before you get that far, you need to actually get them to open the email. In this piece, we’ll go over nine key tips and examples for creating solid subject lines for survey emails that will actually get your emails opened.

9 survey email subject lines your subscribers will open

There’s nothing like raw and honest feedback from your subscribers and customers. Unfortunately, if you’re sending out survey emails with lackluster subject lines, your data probably isn’t accurate.

According to a recent report, only 22% of marketers believed customer loyalty for brands has increased over the past two years. 38% of customers, however, consider themselves loyal to brands they love. This shows a very discouraging disconnect between marketers and the people they want to reach.

Why is this happening, and what can we do to bridge that gap?

Well, like we mentioned in the intro, who are the people responding to your surveys? If you’re sending generic “Let us know what you think” survey email subject lines, it’s likely that only angry or frustrated customers are going to respond. That’s not good if you want to collect honest data about a wide range of customers—both happy and unhappy.

When it comes to survey email copy, you have a lot of strategies and tactics to make it work. None of that work is worthwhile though if no one actually opens the email. Use the tips and examples below to send out emails that actually get opened.

1. Trigger an emotion.

Imagine all the survey email subject lines in your inbox right now. What emotions come to mind?

Are you having trouble coming up with an answer? That’s probably because most of those subject lines don’t trigger any type of emotion. They’re forgettable.

Just like with your other email campaigns, you want to invoke some type of emotion in your subscribers when they see that Gmail notification. Emotion always trumps rationale. “Let us know what you think” will not produce an emotion unless the customer had an extreme experience with your company.

While extremely positive reviews are great, it can take a lot to counteract extremely bad reviews, so you want to aim for customers who had a pleasant experience but may need extra reinforcement or reward to write a review.

The easiest emotion to trigger in your survey subject lines is empathy. People tend to identify with other customers as the “us” and brands as “them.” That’s why word-of-mouth marketing is so important.

Let subscribers know that they can help their fellow comrades make informed decisions about your company or organization by replying to the survey.

Example: “[Name], people have questions about [insert product]. Can you help?”

2. Make sure it’s personal.

“Quick customer feedback survey” doesn’t necessarily pack the punch you’re looking for. Not only is this email subject line dry and boring, but it’s also extremely robotic and impersonal. Your subscriber isn’t an inbox—they’re a human. So in your subject lines, speak to them like a person.

According to research from Accenture, 75% of customers are more likely to spend their hard-earned money with brands that recognize them by name and remember information about them. Plus, personalized emails are vital for customer retention.

You’ve heard us talk about the importance of personalization, and it’s extremely important to use it when you can in subject lines.

You can also take it a step further by sending personalized automated emails.

If you’re requesting feedback about a recent purchase, make sure to incorporate the day, location, order number, and any other unique information you have to help the customer recall their experience.

Uber does a great job of personalizing their automated feedback emails with a friendly tone and specific information about the purchase.

Example: Your Saturday afternoon trip with Uber

3. Pose a question.

Even if you go the route of “Well, how did we do?” you’re still engaging with the subscriber instead of simply reacting to their purchase. A question forms the beginning of a conversation with a real human being—it’s not simply a robotic response.

Questions are excellent survey email subject line choices both for past purchases and general surveys about your brand as a whole. Time automated surveys about products to go out after the subscriber has had a chance to experience the item.

Example: Hi [name], how do your new sneakers fit?

Amazon does a great job of engaging their customers when asking for feedback.

engage customers

Image Source: Really Good Emails

4. Mention the word “survey.”

Specifically asking your customers to take a survey in the subject line is a great and clear CTA right off the bat.

However, you should still word your subject lines in an intriguing way. “Take our survey today” probably won’t deliver the results you want. Instead, use personalization or some kind of incentive along with the word survey to boost your subject line’s potential.

Example: Take a quick survey, earn 25% off.

5. …or don’t mention it at all

This isn’t carte blanche to completely dupe your subscribers. You can, however, entirely avoid even mentioning the survey in your subject line.

Get creative. Consider how you would start a conversation with a trusted friend you’re asking for advice, and write your copy from there.

Focus on developing a one-on-one relationship with your subscribers in your survey email subject lines.

Example: “Hi [name]. Can we talk?”

6. Focus on the benefits.

Following up with the previous point, you can avoid mentioning the survey in your subject lines by mentioning the benefit instead. To do this, however, you need to offer some kind of incentive for taking the survey.

For longer surveys, offer a bigger incentive—like 50% off a one-time purchase. This may seem like quite a large give, but remember the value of a customer’s time and feedback.

Even quick product reviews on your website could warrant a smooth 10% or 15% off.

Example: Looking for 40% off?

7. Make sure your copy lives up to the survey email subject lines.

This point is crucial for several reasons: avoiding spam filters, upholding your brand’s (and email service provider’s) reputation, and getting the results you want.

If you make promises in your survey email subject lines, make sure you follow through with it in the copy.

Likewise, you should also create engaging copy inside the email.

Example: Penny (or more) for your thoughts?

clever messaging

Image Source: Really Good Emails

8. Keep it short.

According to research from Campaign Monitor, over 53% of emails were opened on mobile devices in 2015 and that number has only increased since. Survey email subject lines need to be short so they fit into app notifications.

How short? You should be safe with 50 characters.

You should also keep it short so that your subject line copy is concise, straight to the point, and easy to understand.

Example: Well, what do you think?

9. Encourage some kind of urgency.

If you don’t discuss anything about time constraints, your subscribers might not respond. They’ll think about responding. They’ll have every intention to respond. But they won’t actually respond.

Expressing urgency can be as simple as using the word “now” in your subject lines. You can also let subscribers know that the coupon for taking the survey will expire at a certain time.

Example: Hey [name]. Time is almost up to earn 50% off.

Wrap up

Survey email subject lines are rough because, by nature, surveys aren’t the most interesting pieces of content. Marketers really need to use their creativity to come up with something unique that will spark interest.

We could write an entire blog post on survey email copy but you need to actually get subscribers to open the email first. Otherwise, you’ve just wasted your time creating something amazing that no one will ever read. Focusing on your subscribers’ wants, needs, and state of mind can help you develop subject lines that hit home. Just don’t forget to A/B test a few.

Need help creating rock-solid subject lines or embedding beautiful surveys directly into your emails? Campaign Monitor can help with customizable templates.