I received a very good example of survey invitation. I will try to analyze why this email is effective and how it is structured by converting it to the following template. There are a lot to learn from its structure and it can help us to draft more effective survey invitation emails in the future.

Dear [Recipient’s name],

I hope this email finds you well [greeting]. I’m XXX [who I am], a student from XXX [where] working with XXX [Whom] on XXX [What purpose ]. XXX [Elaborate further on the purpose] and more information of what we found can be found XXX [Provide additional external information to make it sound more legitimate]

Note that you want to make this purpose sound important and relevant to someone.

[Next, further elaborate your purpose. One nice thing to share is what you have achieved so far. If you already have large number of participants, gently mention it here so that the recipient won’t feel alone and will more likely to participate]

[Next, tell the recipient why s/he is chosen. Make it sound privileged if possible, but also be respectful and genuine. Tell him/her the link to the online survey and how much time it will cost him/her (try to make the survey short. Less than 10 minutes is good to aim for. If can’t, make it no longer than 30 minutes. No one wants to spend a lot of time no matter how important it may sound like).

[Next, ask your recipient to recruit more participants]

[Finally thank your recipient and end with your name and affiliation]

Note: make your email short and effective. It does not waste much of the participant’s time to read it, yet it includes all the information as well as additional details if the participant wants to read more.

Written by Shengdong Zhao

Shen is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, National University of Singapore (NUS). He is the founding director of the NUS-HCI Lab, specializing in research and innovation in the area of human computer interaction.