HTML vs. Text Email Invitations

You've written all your survey questions, finished determining sample size appropriate for your survey, crafted an email invitation. Now, you're finally ready to send your online feedback survey and start collecting your data!

One decision still remains: do you send your survey email invitations in HTML or plain text when using internet survey tools? 

One major reason for opting with the text only version of survey invitations is using embedded links to your survey site. Lately more and more, high security systems (such as the systems used by the military, government agencies, and some private organizations) strip 3rd-party links from emails before they are even seen by your potential survey respondents. This may leave your participants with access to their invitation to participate, but with no way to actually access the web questionnaire itself. This enhanced security is increasingly the case with commercial (personal) email accounts as well.

Using plain text format for your email survey invitations with instructions for pasting link text into address bar of web browser will ensure your email invitation AND the link to your survey location is included. You may not be able to add fancy pictures or images in your email invitation if you use plain text , but you will be ensuring your participants will have the opportunity to participate in your survey project.

The main idea is to keep in mind who your target population is for any particular effort before you send your invitation out and tailor the invitation format accordingly. If your market research sample includes military or government personnel, or academic institutions, text formatting should be considered.

For more email survey tips, check out some of these posts on designing survey invitations:

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