Email Receipt Issues

When you send email invitations to complete a survey using a contact list, there can sometimes be issues which prevent recipients receiving email invitations or the messages being moved into their Junk folder.

This can also apply to Email Triggers, Save and Continue mails, and report notifications. 

To ensure that emails are sent with the best chance of being delivered, it's important to focus on these elements of the message.

Contact List

  • Ensure your contact list data is valid and up-to-date. If your address books contain lots of old email addresses or those that were obtained in an indirect way, it will increase the chances of people using the "Mark as spam" button, which greatly increases the chance of your messages being blocked.

Sender / Reply Email Address  

  • This must be a valid email address for responses to be sent to. You will need to verify the email address before you can send any emails.
  • Verifying the sending domain can also be very helpful. in particular, be aware that for Test email sends, many mail servers will automatically reject mail that is tagged as coming from their own domain that the server knows it did not send. Verifying the domain with DKIM and SPF will resolve this issue.
  • If this is not possible, or if issues persist after doing the above, contact support. We have smartsurvey addresses and a domain that can be used, but we need to activate this for you.


  • Avoid long subjects with mixed numerals and capital letters, as these can be picked up as spam by recipients’ email filters.
  • Try and avoid words and phrases that would commonly be used in Spam emails. Phrases that include urgency such as "complete these as soon as possible" should be avoided.

Message Contents

  • Ensure any images used in the email have alt text.
  • For email tool survey invitations - Do not remove the [SURVEYLINK] tag. This will automatically be merged with the unique survey link for that respondent so they can be tracked correctly. If you need to add a custom variable to the link, or otherwise control how it's displayed in the email in detail, replace it with [SURVEYLINK_NL]
  • Check that any other URLs used in the email content are complete and load their targeted pages.
  • Try and avoid words and phrases that would commonly be used in Spam or Phishing emails.
  • Ensure your message is not too short. For example, if sending to your own staff where you might not need a large introduction, short messages like "Here is the link I mentioned" could trigger a SPAM trap.
  • Try and personalise the email with e.g. "Dear Simon". This makes the message less likely to be detected as a mass mailing and also helps the recipient know that you have their real contact information and haven't just stolen an email address, which reduces the chance of a recipient marking the email as SPAM.
  • It can help, if it is not obvious, to indicate to the recipient why they are receiving the survey link e.g. "Since you recently purchased an item from Acme, we would really appreciate it if you could spare 5 minutes to give us some feedback". This, again, reduces the chance of having your emails marked as SPAM.
  • If SmartSurvey is not your main contact list, you should provide any legally-required opt-out in each message. Although SmartSurvey includes an opt-out for our systems, a recipient will be happier to see e.g. "You can opt-out of any further emails from Acme by clicking this link".

Sending Frequency

  • For survey invitations, the system will send these in batches with a delay between each batch to avoid hitting any rate-limiting mechanisms. This is especially troublesome if you have many contacts that use the same email provider.
  • You should avoid sending too many survey invitations to the same people on the same day. Getting multiple similar emails from the same email address or email server will look suspicious to a SPAM trap.

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