Composing Email Invitations

When you create an Email Invitation to send your survey, you have a few options for how to set up the email. You can embed the first survey question in your email, choose from different message formats, or select a previously used message.

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Editing the Email Message

To edit your email message:

  1. Create an Email Invitation collector and go to the Message section.
  2. Use the toggle to choose if you want to embed the first question in your email. The toggle only displays when the first question meets certain requirements.
  3. Click Edit Message. To copy a previously sent message or use the default message, click the arrow next to Edit Message.
  4. Customize your message.
  5. Click Save.

You can preview your message and send yourself a test email before you send or schedule your message.

Header and Button Color

We automatically apply the same colors from your survey theme. If you update your survey theme after creating an Email Invitation, your changes won’t be reflected in any sent or draft messages. But, you can update draft messages to reflect your updated theme.

To change the header and button colors:

  1. Click Edit Message and use the HTML Template format.
  2. Click on the color box next to the Header field.
  3. Choose a color or enter a hex color code.
  4. Click Save.


Message Formats

There are three message formats you can choose from. You can only use one message format per message. If you make edits in one message format and switch to another, your edits may be lost or overwritten.

All message formats let you use custom data to personalize your emails.

Message FormatDescription
HTML Template

This format lets you:

  • Update the Header and Body text
  • Use the formatting toolbar to bold, underline, or italicize text, add bulleted or numbered lists, and change the font and font size*
  • Check a box to Hide SurveyMonkey Branding

You don't need to know HTML to use this template.

* Display issues may occur for survey takers when you use Symbol, Webdings, or Wingdings fonts.

Plain Text

This format lets you send emails without any styling or text formatting.

You're responsible for including required data.

Custom HTML

This format lets you:

  • Change the raw HTML or copy and paste your own custom HTML
  • Add images, embed videos, or hyperlink text

You're responsible for including required data.


Viewing & Copying Messages

Preview a Message

If you’re using the HTML template or plain text formats, you’ll see a preview of the message after you save it. If you’re using custom HTML, copy and paste the HTML into an HTML previewer to check your formatting.

You can also send yourself a test email before you schedule or send your message to contacts.

Copy a Previous Message

If you don't want to write your message from scratch, you can copy any message that was previously sent or saved as a draft. You're able to make additional edits after copying a previous message.

To copy a previous message:

  1. Create a new Invitation, Reminder, or Thank You message.
  2. Click the black down arrow next to the Edit Message button.
  3. Click Copy a previous message.
  4. Browse the messages you previously used in any Email Invitation collector in your account. Click a subject line to see the contents of the message.
  5. When you find the message you want to copy, hover over the message and click the Copy Message button.

Why don't I see my previous message?

When sending Invitation or Thank You messages, you only see previous messages of the same type as the message you're sending. For example, if you're sending an Invitation message, you only see previous Invitation messages.

When sending a Reminder message, you can also see previous Invitation messages. Next to Display message type, click Reminder to toggle to Invitation.

Set to Default Message

Whenever you Invite More, you'll see the last message sent or scheduled from that collector. If you prefer to use the SurveyMonkey Default message, click the down arrow next to Edit Message and select Set To Default Message. If you choose to reset the message, any edits to the current message will be permanently lost.

Viewing Sent Messages

You can view sent messages from your Message History.


Troubleshooting Issues

Why does the email look different than what I see in SurveyMonkey?

Your emails should look good in most modern email clients. However, email clients can display HTML messages differently, which could cause some variation in your HTML Template or Custom HTML messages, especially in older email clients. For example, fonts, font sizes, or layout may look different in Gmail than they do in Outlook.

This isn't something we can fix on our end—it depends on the particular email client. To optimize the email, you can tell contacts to:

  • Enable HTML viewing
  • Allow images to be displayed
I don't see the Begin Survey button

If you or your contacts use Lotus Notes, the Begin Survey button won't display if you chose the HTML Template messaging format. Unfortunately, this isn't something we can fix on our end—Lotus Notes isn't properly rendering the HTML. But, there are a couple workarounds you can try:

Workaround 1

Use the Plain Text message format to send your invitation instead. This will remove any text formatting and display the full survey URL in the email.

Workaround 2

Use the Custom HTML message format to send your invitation. Replace the button code that Lotus Notes can't render with code that hyperlinks text instead.

To replace the button code:

  1. Switch your message format to Custom HTML.
  2. In the HTML, find the following code:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" align="center" style="background:#4B4A3C; border-radius: 4px; border: 1px solid #BBBBBB; color:#FFFFFF; font-size:14px; letter-spacing: 1px; text-shadow: -1px -1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8); padding: 10px 18px;">
    		<td align="center" valign="center">
    			<a href="[SurveyLink]" target="_blank" style="color:#FFFFFF; text-decoration:none;">Begin Survey</a>
    1. Replace it with this code:
      <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" align="center">
      		<td align="center" valign="center">
      			<a href="[SurveyLink]" target="_blank">Begin Survey</a>


      When you create an Email Invitation collector to send your survey, you have a few options for how to set up the email. You can embed the first survey question in your email, choose from different message formats, or select a previously used message.

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