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How To Send Surveys via HTML Email

Using online survey tools with i-Emailer

A lot of people ask us if they can embed surveys into HTML emails. The answer is "yes, sort of."

Surveys are basically web forms. And forms don't work so great when you send them in HTML email. Sure, coders have found crafty ways to rig web forms into HTML emails (mostly, this involves using "GET" instead of "POST" in your form code), but this really only works with very, very simple web forms (like a one-field "Search" box). You shouldn't embed big surveys into your HTML emails for a number of reasons:

Buggy Email Programs
For instance, let's say you received an HTML email with a survey embedded in it. You type in a response into one of the fields. Oops, you just made a typo, so you hit your backspace (delete) key. Instead of deleting the text in that form field, the email program thinks you want to delete the entire message from the inbox.

Anti-Virus Programs
There are also anti-spam and privacy programs that will want to block users from submitting forms inside of emails. And don't even think of making a JavaScript powered form.

Logic, Multiple Pages, etc.
What if you want to send a survey with logic? Or multiple pages? Sending a survey inside an HTML email wouldn't work, because you'd be limited to one single page.

How to Properly Send Surveys in HTML Email Campaigns
Even though there are ways you can send simple forms embedded inside HTML email, embedding an entire survey into the email is just not the way to do it.

The proper way to deliver surveys is:

  1. Build an online survey, using a service like SurveyMonkey makes it extremely easy and affordable to build your survey. You can use their built-in templates, customize them with your company logo, create multiple-page surveys with logic, and generate Excel reports.
  2. When you're finished building your survey, SurveyMonkey will generate a link to your survey.
  3. Use i-Emailer to send an HTML email with that link to your survey.

When people click the link in your email, the survey will open up in their web browser, and they can take the survey.

SurveyMonkey will generate reports for your survey results. i-Emailer will generate reports on how the email campaign went (who opened, who clicked, who bounced, who unsubscribed, etc).

If you run future email campaigns with surveys, you can actually use i-Emailer to segment your lists to send only to people who have clicked previous survey campaigns.

Why We Love

If you want to get serious about creating surveys and getting feedback from your customers, you should look into a hosted survey tool like (no relation to i-Emailer, but we use them all the time). has been around for ages, so it's a really smart, powerful, flexible tool. And their pricing just can't be beat. You can host small surveys for free. Then, when you get the hang of it, you can pay $200 per year for unlimited surveys.

Example Uses:
Don't just stop at one little survey. SurveyMonkey makes it easy to do dozens of surveys, constantly. At i-Emailer, we use SurveyMonkey to do the following:

  • An annual "Customer Feedback" survey, where we ask customers how we're doing, and what kind of new features they'd like to see in future i-Emailer versions.
  • A "Comment Box" survey that's permanently linked from our footer
  • Surveys to our beta testers. We roll out new features, ask beta testers to comment on them
  • Research - We poll audience segments about how they use i-Emailer to find out if new features are worth rolling out
  • Exit Surveys: Whenever someone de-activates their i-Emailer account, or unsubscribes from one of our mailing lists, we ask them to take an exit survey

More Useful Resources About Sending Email Surveys: