Using The Qualtrics Mailer


The Qualtrics Mailer provides an easy and convenient way to distribute your survey to large groups of people. By using the mailer, you can send customized email invitations to your participants, track their progress, and prevent fraud and abuse of your survey.

On this page you will learn the basics of how to use the Qualtrics Mailer.

To get the most out of the Qualtrics mailer, we recommend uploading your Panel (the list of people who will receive your survey) ahead of time. To learn more about setting up a Panel, visit our Build a Panel page.

When using the Qualtrics Mailer, by default each participant will receive an Individual Link to the survey. This link behaves differently from the anonymous survey link in the following ways:

  • By default, each Individual Link can only be used once.
  • The participant’s name, email, and other Panel information is automatically saved with their survey data.
  • This link allows you to track Responses in Progress and send out Reminder and Thank You messages to your participants.
  • This link automatically saves the respondents’ data as they progress through the survey. If they need to leave the survey before finishing, they can return to it on any computer.
Qtip: The Qualtrics Mailer allows you to send other types of links in addition to the Individual Link. The following link types are available by clicking Advanced Options at the bottom of the Email Survey page:

  • Individual Link: Each participant receives a link that can only be used once. This is the default link type.
  • Multiple Completes Per Link: Each participant receives a link that can be used multiple times. Note that Reminder and Thank You emails are not compatible with this link.
  • Anonymous Link: Each participant receives the Anonymous Survey Link.

Using the Qualtrics Mailer

The following steps will teach you how to send a survey invitation using the Qualtrics Mailer. While you’ll have the option to enter email addresses manually during this process, we recommend uploading a Panel of recipients ahead of time. Information on how to create a Panel may be found in the Build a Panel tutorial.

To email survey invitations with the Qualtrics Mailer:

  1. Open the Email Survey section of the Distribute Survey tab.
  2. If prompted, select a survey or activate your survey.
  3. Select who you will send the survey to.
    1. From the To list, select to Enter Email Addresses manually, or select the Library where a Panel you have previously uploaded can be found.

    2. If using an existing Panel, select your Panel from the list.

    3. Select whether to send to the Entire Panel, a Panel Sample, or an Individual Panel member.

  4. Select When to send your survey. By default, your mailing will be sent one hour from when you schedule the mailing.

  5. Create a Message to use for your invitation.
    1. Enter a From Name, Reply-To Email Address, and Subject for your email.

    2. Type an email message into the Rich Content Editor, or click Load a Saved Message.

      Qtip: For the simplest distribution, leave the default content in the message editor and add your own message above. For a more custom message, refer to the Customizing Your Email Message instructions below.
    3. If you’d like to edit the message HTML directly, you can click the Source button.

    4. If you’ve created a new email message, click Save.

  6. Click Schedule Mailing (or Send Now if your mailing is set to send right away).

Qtip: You can preview your email by clicking Send Test Email on the bottom-left of the message editor. The email you receive is exactly what participants will receive, except that your survey link will just be to preview the survey, and some Piped Text may not be available in your message.

Customizing Your Email Message

Beyond just typing a generic message, email invitations can be customized with the participant’s first name, last name, and any other information you have stored in your Panel. This information can be inserted into your message by using the Piped Text feature.

By default, survey invitation messages include three pieces of Piped Text:

  • Custom Individual Link: This Piped Text will be replaced with a unique link for each survey participant.

  • Survey URL: This Piped Text will be replaced with the entire web address of the participant’s link, in case they have difficulty clicking on the Custom Individual Link.

  • Opt-Out Link: This Piped Text will be replaced with an opt-out link, which when clicked will prevent the recipient from receiving any further emails sent to that panel.

To send your survey, you will need either the Custom Individual Link or the Survey URL. The opt-out link is also required to comply with emailing best practices.

To insert other Piped Text into your email:

  1. Click the Piped Text icon in the Message section.

  2. Select the type of Piped Text you would like to insert. While many options are available, three categories are particularly useful for invitation messages:
    • Panel Field: Add basic information such as First Name, Last Name, and Email.

    • Embedded Data Field: Add custom fields you have uploaded as part of your panel. Here you’ll type the name of the field from your Panel, and click Insert.

    • Survey Links: Reinsert a survey or Opt-Out link.

  3. If needed, copy and paste the code that is generated into the appropriate spot in your message body.

When you send a survey through the Qualtrics Mailer, by default an opt-out link is included.

When Panel members click this link, they will be directed to a page that confirms they have been removed from the Panel. They will no longer receive emails sent to that Panel.

Those who opt out will remain in your panel, but will be flagged as “unsubscribed,” signified by a red dot next to their name on the Panel Members page.

While they are unsubscribed, they will receive no email invitations, reminders, or thank-you messages. You can also unsubscribe a panel member at any time using the steps described on our Panel Members page.

Distributing in Multiple Languages

Through the Qualtrics Mailer you can send one invitation automatically translated into the participant’s preferred language. You’ll simply follow the steps above for sending a regular survey invitation, but before doing this you’ll first create a translated survey invitation message, and second, specify a language for each recipient in your Panel.

To send your invitation in multiple languages:

  1. In the Library tab, click Message Library.

  2. Click Create a New Message.

  3. In Category, select Invite Emails.

  4. Give your message a Description.

  5. Type the message as you want it to appear.

  6. If you’d like to edit the message HTML directly, you can click the Source button.

  7. Click Save.

  8. To the right of the message, click the Translate icon.

  9. Translate your invitation using the process described in the Translation tutorial.
  10. Create your Panel, including an Embedded Data column called Language.
  11. In the Language column, insert the appropriate language code for each contact. Click here to download a text file containing a list of supported language codes.

With a translated message and the language set in your Panel, you are ready to send out your email invitation. When the invitation is sent to your participants, each will receive it in the language specified for them in the Panel.

Email and Survey Expiration

A Note on Survey Expiration Dates

There are three different types of survey expirations that can be set. Each has its own use, and we recommend checking these before sending your survey:

  • Link Expiration Date: By default, survey links distributed through the Qualtrics Mailer are valid for 60 days. For most studies this is plenty of time, but if you’d like to extend this, click Advanced Options beneath the message editor in the Survey Mailer and select a new timeframe from the Survey Link Expires In drop-down.

    This expiration date cannot be changed for a mailing once links have been sent.

  • Survey Expiration Date: In the Survey Protection section of Survey Options you have the option of specifying a date range for when the survey will be available.

    This date range can be changed at any point before or after the survey is distributed.

  • Partial Completion Timeframe: By default, those who don’t finish the survey in one sitting will be given one week to return and finish. If not completed in that time frame, the response will be recorded as-is. This time frame can be changed in the Partial Completion section of Survey Options.

    Changing this setting only affects respondents who have not started the survey yet.