Composing Email Invitations

You can email your contacts an invitation to take your survey and track who has responded using the Email Invitation Collector.

To compose a message:

  1. Create an Email Collector.
  2. Click Edit Message in the upper-right corner of the message preview.
  3. Choose a message format.
  4. Use the text editor to customize the message.
  5. Click Save to save and preview your message.

Message Formats

There are three message formats you can choose from. Toggle between the options to choose the message format.

Message Format
HTML TemplateEasily send messages using this customizable template—without needing to know HTML. You can edit the text in the Subject, Header, Body, and Button fields, and change the colors of the Header and Button. Required data is included for you when using this message format.
Plain TextSend the message without any styling or text formatting. You need to include certain required data when using this message format.
Custom HTMLThis feature is only available on some paid plans—see if it’s on your plan. Tweak the raw HTML of the HTML Template, or copy and paste your own complete custom HTML. The entire message needs to be written in HTML. While we don't offer HTML support, we recommend using w3schools.com. You need to include certain required data when using this message format.
You can only use one message format per message. If you make edits in one message format and switch to another, the edits may be lost or overwritten.

Editing Messages

The below info should help you with editing your message, depending on the message format you're using.

HTML Template: Formatting Text

When you're using the HTML Template, you can use the text formatting toolbar to:

  • Bold, underline, or italicize text
  • Change the font and font size*
  • Add bulleted or numbered lists

It's not possible to hyperlink text or add images in the HTML Template.

*Display issues can occur for respondents when you use the following fonts: Symbol, Webdings, or Wingdings

HTML Template: Editing the Theme

You can edit the Header or Button color of any draft or new message at any time:

  1. Click Edit Message in the upper-right corner of the message preview.
  2. Click the square color block and choose a color or enter a hex code.
  3. Click Apply.

When you create a message, we automatically apply the same colors you use in your survey theme to the HTML Template.

If you make updates to your survey theme after creating an Email Invitation Collector, the changes are not reflected in existing sent or draft messages. However, if you open a draft message, you can check the box under the Header and Button fields to apply recent changes to your survey theme.

Custom HTML: Adding Images & Links

You can use the Custom HTML message format to add images, embed videos, or hyperlink text in your message. This feature is only available on some paid plans—see if it’s on your plan. For info on how to hyperlink the survey link or opt out link using HTML, see: Required Data in Email Invitations

If you need additional help with Custom HTML formatting, we recommend using w3schools.com.

HTML Template, Plain Text, or Custom HTML: Inserting Custom Data

You can use custom data to personalize messages. When a recipient reads the message, the merge tags are replaced with their personal information from Contacts.

Viewing Messages

Previewing Messages

After you're done composing your message, click Save to preview it.

You can also send yourself a test email when scheduling your message.

It's not possible to preview a Custom HTML message in SurveyMonkey, but you can copy and paste the HTML into a free online HTML previewer to check your formatting.

Copying Previous Messages

You can copy any message you previously sent (or currently have saved as a draft) to use in a new message. Then you can make any necessary changes, or send the message as is.

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 on the right.

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 instance, if you're sending an Invitation message, you only see previous Invitation messages you've used.

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

Set to Default Message

When you Invite More, you’ll see the last message sent or scheduled from the collector. If you prefer to use the SurveyMonkey Default messaging, click the down arrow to the right of 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. Click . to the right of the message to view a snapshot of the message or to view the recipients for that message.

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

We develop our emails so that they render well in as many modern email clients as possible. Email clients can render HTML messages differently, which can cause HTML Template or Custom HTML messages to display differently than what you expect. For example, fonts, font sizes, layout, and more may look different in Gmail than they do in Outlook.

It's more common for older email clients to have trouble rendering modern HTML emails. Unfortunately, it's not something we can fix on our end—it depends on the particular email client. However, there are a couple things you can ask recipients to try:

  • Enable HTML viewing—they'll need to view the email with full HTML in order for it to render correctly.
  • Allow images to be displayed—occasionally, some email programs don't load images by default.
Where did the Begin Survey button go?

There's an issue with Lotus Notes where the Begin Survey button won't display if you send your message using the HTML Template. Unfortunately, it's not something we can fix on our end—it's a limitation within this email client since it can't properly render the HTML being used. However, there are a couple workarounds you can try.

Workaround 1

If you use Plain Text to send your invitation instead, this will remove any text formatting and display the full URL to the survey in the email.

Workaround 2

If you have access to Custom HTML message format, you can try the following steps to replace the code for the button (the code Lotus Notes can't render) with code that hyperlinks text instead.

  1. Switch your message format to Custom HTML.
  2. In the HTML, find the code outlined in the first grey box below and delete it—you can find the code easily by looking for [SurveyLink].
  3. Replace the code you deleted with the code in the second grey box.


<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>


<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" align="center">
		<td align="center" valign="center">
			<a href="[SurveyLink]" target="_blank">Begin Survey</a>

Standard or Embedded

The Standard option allows you to write a custom message and provide a button or link to your survey. Make sure the Embed first question checkbox is unchecked to send a Standard message.

The Embedded option allows you to embed a supported question type in the email so people can respond with just one click. Check the Embed first question checkbox to send an Embedded message.

When you send messages via Email Invitation, you can select your preferred message format: HTML Template, Custom HTML, or Plain Text. You can also copy a previous message you sent.

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