Here are our tips for how to write the best invitation email which ensures that your respondents will come and participate in your research project.

1. Email subject should be short and self-explanatory

If people don’t understand the subject, they probably won’t open the email and shall miss the study.

2. Personalization

Use the respondent’s name in the greeting line. Quallie qual platform offers a very easy way to personalize bulk emails. Just put the merge tag {display_name} in the email text and Collabito will replace it with the correct name so you don’t need to write every invitation manually.

3. Quick introduction

Make the email content as simple as possible, people often skip long and complicated texts. Write only the most essential information respondents must know before the focus group starts. You can present the details during the study.

4. Motivation to participate

Ideally, respondents should be self-motivated to participate in the focus group. Take for example:

  • Motivation to improve product and services which they use or like;
  • Importance of his opinion;
  • Taking part in an interesting discussion with interesting people;
  • Reward – you can offer your product or service, cash, gift voucher, loyalty points, or any relevant gift.

5. How to join and schedule

The most important part of the invitation email is how to join the project. Usually, it’s done by visiting the URL address of your project. In Quallie, you can add a personalized URL link of the respondent with the login merge tag {url_project_login}. The emailing module will replace this tag with a unique URL address of each respondent so he doesn’t need to submit any user name or password and will directly enter the session.

Always add the date and time of the session start, its length, and other schedule details. Don’t forget to add the timezone if your study covers larger geographical areas.

6. How to prepare

There are no special needs for text-based activities, just a computer, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection. For a video session, ask them to connect in a quiet place where nobody will disturb them. The place should be light enough so that their faces are clearly visible.

A good internet connection is essential. Using cellular data can be unstable and the video transmission can quickly consume a significant part of the participant’s data limit. Headphones with a microphone are recommended to respondents.

If you need to present stimuli on a whiteboard during the focus group, ask participants to use devices with a bigger screen (computer, laptop, or tablet), not mobile phones with a small display.

Formal or informal tone?

It depends on the study topic and the target group. If your topic is serious and the target group is B2B, use a formal tone. Conversely, you can be playful and informal if your audience is young and the formal tone would make them think the study will be boring.

Avoid using too many colors, emojis and funny pictures as this can reduce the credibility of your email as well.

Images and interactive items

Images are often blocked by Gmail and other email systems because images can be a privacy risk. So make sure that every important information is included in the text and recipients will get the complete message – even when the images are turned off. Use images only as design items; and not as the medium to provide any kind of important information.

Don’t overuse the images in the mail, because too many images can increase your spam score. Don’t use any scripts or interactive items in the invitation emails because these objects are usually considered security risks and these emails are blocked.

Don’t let your email end in a spam folder

There are many different reasons why an email can fall into the recipient’s spam folder. Anti-spam filters are very sensitive to spammy words and phrases, for example, Win, Deal, Discount, Limited offer, Rewards, etc. Yes, some of these words can be relevant because participants will get incentives to take part in your study; but be careful using these words in your content.

Send a test email to your Gmail and Outlook mailbox

Before sending the invitations to participants, it’s a good idea to send a test email to your Gmail and Outlook mailbox and check it. If the email hasn’t arrived in your mailbox it was probably caught by an anti-spam filter, so you’ll need to make some copy edits so it gets through.

Tip: How to send bulk invitation emails in Quallie? After you add all respondents to your project, go to the Emails section and create a new emailing campaign. Next, add respondents and create your email content. Don’t forget to include the personalized URL. Next, send a test mail to yourself to make sure it doesn’t end up in your spam folder. Then, when everything is ready send the bulk email to respondents.

When is the best time to send invitations?

In our experience, it is best to send invitations at the beginning of the project, when the activities are already available to respondents. Some organizers send out invitations before the activities are available and when participants click on the invitation link, they only find an unavailable project, which is not ideal. They should see some invitation page at least. So our recommendation is: prepare everything, open the project and some activities, and then send the invitation.

Invitation email template to an online focus group

Hello {display_name},

Thank you for agreeing to participate in our focus group session.

Your opinion is very valuable to us! We encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings with me and other participants.

To access the discussion, please click this link:

The study will be open from ___ to ___ .

FOR DIARY/BULLETIN BOARDS: After you have completed your initial responses, please revisit the page at least once a day to respond to others’ comments, as well as answer any questions that have been posted to your own responses. You should make your initial response by __ , and make any final comments by ___ .

FOR VIDEO FOCUS GROUPS: Please use a calm place where nobody will disturb you and make sure the room is light so we can see your face. Please check that your webcam is working before the session. We recommend using a computer for this study, but you may also participate using a phone. You can use headphones with a microphone for better sound quality. A quick and stable internet connection is necessary.

When answering please keep in mind that there are no wrong answers. We expect you will have different opinions from other respondents, so please don’t hesitate to say what you really think – even if in stark contrast to what other respondents in the focus group have to say on any given question. Feel free to engage in conversations with other participants as well. The study is anonymous and other participants will only see your first name.

Each respondent who will complete the study will receive a < reward>. You need to complete all topics to be eligible to obtain the reward.

Thank you and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

I look forward to your participation!

Name, contact