FAQs: Sending emails to panel members
Frequently asked questions. Click on any question to see the answer.
Panel email invitation overview
PEO01 Can I use the Panel Manager for mailing lists as well as panels?
Yes, you can upload a mailing list into a panel and use this to send emails. However, every email must have a survey link in it. This could be a simple one-question survey, asking about satisfaction levels for the newsletter.
PEO02 Can I attach files to invitation emails?
No. For security reasons we do not allow users to attach files to emails sent through our system. However, you could include a link to a webpage or PDF (served from your own server) within the email or the survey.
PEO03 What are the advantages of using the Panel Manager over blind-copying an email in Outlook?
There are many advantages, including not needing to worry about unsubscribes and bounces as these are handled automatically by our system. Reminder emails are only sent out to those who have not already answered the survey (hard to manage this in Outlook!). Also, you can select an option in the Survey Properties to restrict people from answering the survey unless they are on the panel, and this ensures they only reply once to the survey and cannot pass the email on to others to use.
PEO04 How do I create an email invitation for my panel?
Once you have assigned a survey to your panel, you can either click on the survey within the Assigned Surveys tab and create a new invitation from here or do it from within the Invitations tab. Give the email invitation a unique description (this name will appear in the Sources of the survey later so you can filter on it), fill in the name of the sender and the subject line, then choose either plain text or HTML for your email. Note that there are certain placeholders which can be used, and will be personalised for each email sent out. These are: [firstname], [surname], [surveylink] and [unsubscribelink] – the last two MUST be included in the email text. Then schedule your email date and time. We recommend selecting Send test email after saving in order to check the email before it is actually sent out.
PEO05 What does the Invitations tab show me?
This is where you can see any invitations that have already been set up for this panel and their status (under creation, scheduled or sent). For invitations that have been sent, you will see a breakdown of the number of individual emails sent, responses received, bounced emails and unsubscribe requests, all denoted by icon column headers.
PEO06 Can I send out an email without an [unsubscribelink] placeholder?
All emails must have an [unsubscribelink] placeholder in them, to allow panel members to exercise this option whenever they receive an email.
Panel email invitation management
PEC01 What's the difference between a plain text and an HTML invitation?
A plain text email is just text with no logos, images or special formatting and is easier to create. If you want something more visually appealing (e.g. to include images, brands, colours, etc) you have to create an HTML email. Demographix Helpdesk can help annual subscribers develop and use HTML emails as part of the all-in annual subscription training and support. But HTML emails have one drawback – many email readers (such as Outlook) allow users to turn off imagery in emails, and a lot of the images will not be automatically shown. So never use an image with the words "Click here" for the survey link – people may not see the instruction. Note: if you upload an HTML email, a plain text version will automatically be created (for those not able/not wanting to receive HTML emails) so do check this version to make sure it reads correctly.
PEC02 Can you help me with creating an HTML email template?
Yes, we can provide you with a template HTML email which will then need editing in a Text Editor (not Microsoft Word) to customise it to your requirements. We provide this service free of charge to annual subscribers, and for a small charge to pay-as-you-go subscribers. Graphics used in HTML emails can be served from your servers, or be a graphic that is included in the design of the survey (they will then be served by Demographix). Note: HTML emails will automatically create a basic plain text version when uploaded to our system but check it to make sure it reads correctly.
PEC03 What email address does the panel email get sent from?
The default email address is email@example.com. If you prefer a more tailored address please request this via the Helpdesk e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. The email editor also requires a persons name or group name to go with the address. For example, Joanna Smith (email@example.com) or Team YourBrand (firstname.lastname@example.org). The former is recommended as it is more likely to bypass spam filtering.
PEC04 How do I schedule my email?
Scheduling can be found at the bottom of the Invitation Editor. Select a date and time for your email to get sent out – times are available in one hour intervals. Consider your audience and the best time for them to respond. You can change scheduled times and resave at any stage.
PEC05 How can I check what my email will look like?
At the bottom of the Invitation Editor, select the "Send test email after saving" option and click Save. This will then send a copy of the email to you to check. We always recommend using this option once an email is created.
PEC06 Can I duplicate an email invitation, for example to send out a reminder?
Click on the invitation you want to duplicate in the Invitations tab. This will bring up a pop-up box with an option to Duplicate Invitation. You can then edit this invitation to your specifications. There is also the option to Duplicate an Invitation for another survey attached to your panel – tick the checkbox "For another survey" and select the survey from the dropdown menu.
PEC07 Will people who have answered the survey get any reminder emails?
No, once a member of the panel has submitted a survey response, they are automatically excluded from subsequent email reminders.
PEC08 How do I select only certain respondents for an email invitation?
The default is for all panel members to receive your invitation. To narrow down your audience go to the Select Respondents tab within the Invitation Editor. Here you can choose an existing condition (set up previously) or create a new condition. You can choose panel members based on the following conditions:
• Answers to a question in another survey
• Was or was not invited to a specific survey
• Was or was not sent another email invitation
• Did or did not complete another survey
• Did or did not complete a survey within a specific time period
• Was or was not sent an email invitation in a specific time period
Depending on the option you've chosen, you then need to supply further information, as prompted. Once you've done this you need to give the condition a name and save it.
PEC09 Can I send out an invite to a random subset of a panel?
If you only want to send out a certain number of emails to random panel members, you can limit the number of emails sent to a specified number (e.g. 300). This option can be found at the bottom of the Invitation Editor underneath where the email text is created.
Panel email invitation best practice
PEB01 Any tips on wording of invitation emails?
In the subject line of the email, have a call to action, such as: "We want to hear from you about xxx". Make the email concise – you want them clicking on the survey link as soon as possible, not wasting too much time reading the email. Remember to be polite, state what the survey is about and what the benefit/incentive is for completing it. Watch out for spam triggers – there's a separate FAQ on this. It is also prudent to put in a note that this is a NO REPLY email at the bottom of your email, and that reply emails are not monitored.
PEB02 Do you have an example of a plain text email?
Yes, see below for an example and remember to include the two compulsory placeholders in square brackets.
Email subject header Please give us your views on subject XX today
Email content begins
Thank-you for being part of our panel for XXX. We have sent you this invitation, because we would like to hear your opinion on the subject of xxx. The incentive for doing so is xxx.
To fill out our questionnaire, please click on this link: [surveylink]
• Unsubscribe: If you no longer wish to be a part of this panel please click on the following link and follow the instructions: [unsubscribelink].
• Don't miss out: Ensure our emails reach your inbox by adding email@example.com to your address book or white list (to ensure emails don't get added to your junk email folder).
• Notification-only email: This email was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply directly to this message. If you wish to contact the Panel Owner, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email content ends
PEB03 Any tips for avoiding SPAM filters when sending out emails?
The subject line of an email has to show the benefit or value to the respondent, but be careful not to word it so that it gets trapped as spam. You may want to search online for lists of "Spam trigger words". These will often include words like "Free, win, offer and save $". For example, "Can you help us research opinions about XXX?" will get passed spam filters better than "Win a free XXX in our prize draw!"
PEB04 How can I ensure my survey goes to panel members only?
If you want to restrict your survey so that only people on the panel can answer it (i.e. stop them from forwarding it to non-panel members) go into edit the survey. The last option on the Details tab in the Survey Properties is "Restrict access to survey" – click on the "panel members only" option. The default is set to "No restriction".
PEB05 How do I delete an unsent invitation I have created?
Click on the invitation you want to delete in the Invitations tab. This will bring up a pop-up box with an option to Delete Invitation. You cannot delete invitations that have been sent out.