It’s All About Timing –When to Send your Survey Email Invites?

Okay, your questionnaire is ready and your sample group’s email list is set. You’re officially primed to launch your survey and start collecting those all important responses. But before you click that send button, you may want to think about how the timing of your emails could affect your participation rates.

A poorly scheduled survey launch can decimate a survey’s chances at a good response rate, leaving all your hard work in survey design wasted. Unfortunately there are no set in stone rules about the best times to send out survey emails, however there are a couple of guidelines that you can stand by in order to optimize response rates. Let’s take a look!

The first 2 questions you should ask yourself

When choosing a time to send your invitations, your decision should be based on two main questions:

1) When do my respondents usually check their emails?
This question seems like a no-brainer, but the answer can be trickier than you think. Depending on your sample group’s attributes, your optimal launch time could vary dramatically. The key takeaway here, the longer a survey invite gathers dust in an unattended email inbox, the less chance there is of participation.

2) Will my respondents have time to answer my questions?
Here’s another catch, just because your respondents are checking their emails doesn’t mean they have the 5-15 minutes to fill out your survey. And chances are if the potential survey taker doesn’t have time, it is the delete bin for your response rate. Sure people who open the email invite may not outright delete it with hopes of finding time to respond later, but once an email is discarded to the viewed pile your odds are slim to nil that they will remember your survey in the future.

The challenge here is finding the answer to these two questions which best fits the specific lifestyle of your sample group. Keep in mind that many groups will differ due various reasons like their schedules, age, and employment. That being said, there are a few standard rules of thumb that can help bring the best out of your email opens and response rates.

Launching your email invites

The best times to send your survey invites, will usually come down to whether your sample group is employee based or the general public. Let’s take a quick look at both:

General Public: When looking at the average person’s lifestyle, most people are least busy on Sunday. It’s the day that closes off the weekend and is the time people are most likely to catch up on their personal emails. Sending your survey invites on Sunday afternoon will ensure your email gets the most eyeballs and survey responses.

Employees: When launching a survey targeting employees, you’re probably going to be sending the invitation to your sample group’s work email. Because of this, it’s crucial to choose a time in the work week that is least jammed packed. So that throws the Sunday strategy out the window! Instead, try sending your email invites on Friday. Fridays are when most employees are winding down their week and avoiding becoming invested in any long term projects. This is the day they’ll be most likely to have 15 minutes to spare for a survey.

When to Avoid: So if Sundays are best for general public surveys and Fridays are best for employee based surveys, which days are kryptonite to your response rates? The answer: those frantic middle days of the work week, Tuesday through Thursday. In the middle of the week people are most busy and are waist deep in projects and activities they want to complete before the weekend approaches. Keeping to Mondays, Fridays, or weekends is going to be your best bet.

Sending your reminders

It’s been a couple of weeks since you launched your survey and you’ve had a decent amount of responses off your initial email. Now it’s time to give your response rate a boost by sending out a reminder email to those in the sample group who have yet to answer the survey.

It is important to acknowledge that reminders are not designed to convince those who had no interest in completing the survey the first time to have a sudden change of heart. Instead, a reminder is meant to give those people who didn’t have time during the initial launch a second nudge to participate in the survey. This being the case, your reminder’s effectiveness will depend almost completely on the day and time you send it.

Your key to a successful reminder is to send it on a different day of the week than your initial survey launch. Humans are habitual people, all those potential survey takers that were busy on Sunday night of the first email will most likely be busy again the second Sunday you send the reminder. Instead, change it up and go with Monday or Friday. As long as you choose another low stress day for your sample group, you should be optimizing the number of eyes on your email and responses to your survey questions.

Set up email invites and reminders on FluidSurveys

You’ve got your invite strategy down and FluidSurveys is ready to help you roll out those emails so you can start raking in that essential data. For information on how best to format your email invites check out FluidSurveys University’s article, “How to Get People to Take Your Online Surveys: Email Edition.” And if you want to learn more about FluidSurveys’s revamped email invitation collector, click here. Until next time, happy surveying people!

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