How to Select Web Survey Software for Email Invitations

Posted on : January 1, 2016 - by :

Most web survey software lets you send out email invitations to take a Web page survey.  The programs vary in how much flexibility they give you and how much you can tailor invitations to individual people.

The more sophisticated programs offer mail merge-like features.  Most of these will let you insert recipients’ names, if you have them into the message.  Some will also let you insert other information you may have about the people you are inviting at chosen points in the message.

Another feature the more capable programs offer is to let you choose whether to send plain text or HTML emails.  The latter give you much more formatting flexibility, but some people may prefer to receive plain text.

One of the key advantages of using email invitations over just posting a link on a website is that if you have a list of people in advance, you can assign them individual passwords.  Passwords provide two valuable advantages.  The first is that it prevents people from sharing the link that starts your survey with others or from taking the survey multiple times themselves, since you can tell the program each password should be used only once.  The other advantage is that passwords let people start the survey at one time and complete it at another.

Different web survey software offerings also differ in the mail management capabilities they offer.  One key feature is the ability to send out reminder messages.  The most capable let you send messages to either the people who have not started a survey or those who started but have not yet completed the survey or both.  A feature that is sometimes very useful is the ability to limit how many messages you send out at one time.  If you want to send out 50,000 invitations, your email service provider may not be happy to have you do that at one time.  The more sophisticated programs let you send invitations out in batches.  Sending invitations out in batches can also reduce the strain on your server, if you expect a large number of people to take your survey.

Another feature the most capable programs offer is the ability to maintain a do not email list.  This is a list of people who have asked you not to send them any further messages.  Compliance with that kind of request is polite, helps promote goodwill toward the research community and may be required by law.

So be sure to consider email capabilities when selecting web survey software.



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