How to Write a Survey Introduction that Works

Trustmary teamTrustmary team
Last edited: August 7th, 2023
lead generation in digital marketing

You’ve created a survey for your business, and now you need answers. 

Do you want respondents going, “Nah, this can wait,” and never bat an eyelid at your survey again? Or rather have them say, “Mm-kay, let’s see what you got….”

It all boils down to the first few words they read — the introduction. This, to a great extent, influences their decision to read any further. 

But, surveys are often overlooked. Why? As stated in this chapter by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “nonresponses are often related to the perceived burden of participating in surveys.” 

People need the right motivation to participate in a survey, as what motivates one group might not motivate another. While several things can motivate intending survey participants, good survey introductions are just as crucial. 

Ready to drive your business forward? Write winning survey introductions that soar your response rate by following these best practices.

7 Tips to Help You Write Effective Survey Introduction

Like email subject lines, survey introductions only have one chance to make an impression. Your introduction should be reassuring, compelling, and informative, whether offline or online.

You should also employ effective distribution methods to ensure people participate in your surveys. Many marketers distribute customer satisfaction surveys via email. However, it’s possible to embed an online survey link in a website pop-up. 

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As a result, you gather data instantly from visitors based on their actions on your website. And the best web hosting providers will ensure you serve these popups and surveys without hurting your site speeds and user experience.

Here are seven tips to consider when writing an effective survey introduction for your business.

1. Introduce your Brand or Organization

Think of it this way: You’re asking a favor from someone you barely know. It’s uncourteous to go on about your pitch without introducing who you are or work for, right?

That’s why you must begin your survey with an introduction about your brand or organization carrying out the research. It sets the stage and spurs a feeling of familiarity, albeit slight, between the respondent and the brand. 

Here’s a quick one on how to introduce yourself in a survey: 

Hey there! 👋 

We’re Oriental Bloom, manufacturers, and suppliers of the finest blends of Arabian Ouds and Bahkoor-infused perfumes. 

We’ve curated this survey to know what you think of your last purchase, Desert Lily. As this is one of our new products this season, we’d like your honest feedback on the product and how it has influenced your style. 

This survey should take three minutes tops. And to show our utmost appreciation, here’s a 15% discount on your next purchase when you’re done with the survey. 

Thanks,

Oriental Bloom

Introducing yourself also improves brand recognition, increasing your chances of getting responses then and in the future. 

As always, moderation is key. A succinct brand introduction will do; don’t go ham on it, or your survey will be biased. 

But, if you prefer, you can link to the “About You” section of your website in the Thank You pop-up after the survey. Thus, your respondents can focus on your survey without distractions and still learn about your company. 

In a nutshell, just briefly describe your brand or organization and move on to other essential tidbits.

2. Focus on the Purpose

Every survey has a purpose, either as a standalone campaign or as part of a larger one. Whichever, it’s a great idea to be clear on the purpose of that specific campaign.

Why are you conducting the research? And why should your respondents care? This lets your respondents appreciate the reason behind the survey or decide if it’s even worth the effort. 

Now is the best time to make a strong impact. 

Example: “We’d love to hear your thoughts about our product!… Don’t worry, this information is safe with us.” 

Here’s how the above statement sits in a complete survey introduction: 

Greetings!

Thank you for being such an amazing customer! As an integral part of our community, your feedback is precious to us.

Hearing from our users like YOU is the best way to improve our product experience. So we’d love to hear your thoughts about our product! It‘ll take only five minutes — promise! 

Your insights will help us improve customer experiences. Don’t worry; this information is safe with us. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Oriental Bloom.

In this survey introduction example, the company aims to gather customer feedback from existing users on the company’s products to improve them.

Of course, to understand the purpose of a survey, you must be strategic with your market research. The foremost benefit of this is it provides a structural framework to base the purpose of your survey. 

Your business will also gain insight into your customers, which will augment your content strategy.

Introducing the purpose early in your survey encourages potential respondents to complete your questionnaire, improving survey response rates.

3. Keep it Concise

An increasing number of web users struggle with a short attention span. In fact, many research studies claim that it’s shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. 

To avoid a snoozefest, or worse, tanking response rates, keep your introduction and the entire survey length within the attention scope of survey participants.

Scott’s Cheap Flights gets this.

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See how short and straightforward their survey is? They didn’t need a 200-word survey introduction to convey their message. Likewise, no one would fault a two-line survey introduction that hits the point like the example above. 

Cut out the extraneous information and dive straight into it. Additionally, skipping industry jargon and using simple, friendly words humanizes your survey introduction and keeps it concise. 

4. Mention the Time it Would Take

Do you know what’s worse than a long survey intro? An even lengthier survey that creeps up on respondents’ time. 

You’re asking a favor. The least you could do is tell potential respondents what to expect upfront. 

Will it take them five minutes? Or will it be a little longer — maybe, ten

Make sure that whatever time you tell them doesn’t extend arbitrarily. They’ll feel cheated and impatient and inevitably bounce. 

While it’s impossible to know how long each participant will use to fill out the survey, we recommend telling them the average time. This accounts for excesses and gives survey participants a time range to work with. 

Meaning you get a pass even if the survey takes 2-3 minutes above or below the estimated time, giving respondents the motivation to go on. 

A Fintech firm, Vesti, informs potential respondents in their survey introduction how long the survey will take.

Apart from the short timeframe of two to three minutes, the survey introduction also follows best practices of being concise and giving other relevant information.

As a follow-up, consider numbering your survey questions so participants can know how far they’ve gone and how many more questions are left. 

You’ll also significantly reduce the number of nonresponses if your form has an autosave feature. Why? Anything can happen, really — from network interruptions or an incoming call(s), depending on the device they’re on. 

If people have to start from Question 1 each time they’re distracted or get an impromptu interruption, you’ll have more than creeping time scopes to worry about. As a result, you may end up with half-baked, inaccurate responses that sound like an afterthought.

5. Use the Right Tone

Survey introductions are sometimes laid back to make intended survey participants feel comfortable. That’s why some surveys are more conversational than others — with colloquial, interjections, and emoticons. 

But what if the brand tone and, most importantly, the purpose of the survey don’t allow it? 

See these examples to understand what we mean;

This first example below is laidback and light-hearted. Safe to say, the language and tone fits the theme of the survey for St. Patrick’s day, and their Irish audience.

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The colloquial, “Let’s get shamrocked!” might sound awkward to a non-Irish audience and would probably get a low survey response rate. That’s why the introduction uses a more relatable tone that is right and relevant to the survey’s purpose.

But wait — here’s another example that’s not so laid back: 

Several things stand out with the above example. For instance, some texts are bolded, and some aren’t. Nevertheless, what is more noticeable right away is the serious tone that lends it a corporate vibe. 

Due to the type of survey, a laidback tone (as in the first example) would be inappropriate, right? That’s the point! 

As much as you consider your brand tone when drafting your survey introduction, also consider your intended survey respondents as well as the purpose of the survey. 

6. Maintain Anonymity (Link to Privacy Page)

You’re talking to people who care about their privacy rights as much as they do the information they give out. So, it’s a pretty big deal. 

If your survey isn’t going to be anonymous, best to state it at the beginning, not the end of your survey. Don’t be vague — emphasize it. This’ll ensure you get respondents that go all in with honest responses from the onset.  

However, if your survey offers anonymity, say that as well. 

For instance, the survey example below explicitly states what respondents’ answers will be used for. It also stresses that all references in the final reports will be anonymous.

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When you state your terms like so, stick to your end of the bargain, or your business could face legal repercussions. 

Ensure your questionnaire links to your company’s privacy policy page so people can see how their rights are protected when they partake in the survey. 

Moreover, you can collect information for surveys like market research without asking for personal data. By contrast, onboarding surveys might require names and other contact information, like emails, to get accurate results. 

In that case, you’ll need to integrate your survey with email software to help sort results. The best email marketing software helps with sorting, segmentation, and other marketing automation features, saving you time and effort. 

7. Thank Your Respondents

Once a respondent fills out your survey, you’re one step closer to fulfilling your goals — so thank them. It’s courteous and shows appreciation for their time. 

Below is a survey that thanks survey participants and offers a free copy of the report that will be compiled from the survey. As a result, customers may feel more comfortable about what the data will be used for if offered this incentive to complete the questionnaire.

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Thanking respondents also humanizes the survey experience. Depending on the survey campaign, you may sign off with your company’s name or your name (if you’re the lead organizer). This personalizes your survey and leaves a memorable impression on respondents. 

Ready to Write Your Survey?

How you ask is everything.

Keep in mind that it’s not mandatory for customers to express their opinions of your products or service. If they provide feedback, consider it a gift. They were generous enough to take time off their schedules to help with your survey. 

You want to appreciate their time and keep your survey introduction short and sweet. Thank them when they complete the survey and protect their privacy rights. Be courteous enough to introduce your brand or company, and be mindful of time creep. 

Make your introduction compelling by using the right tone and language. Well-written survey introductions are crucial to your business success!

Written in collaboration with Matt Diggity, CEO of Diggity Marketing.



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