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Getting it out there (Part 3): Creating your survey invitation links

“Teaching your links new tricks.”

So I’ve harped on incessantly re the benefits of using personalized survey invitations and links (see Pro Tip 6 – How are people going to hear about and access the survey?) but here are some tips whether you do it one way or the other.

If using one link for everyone:


If you are running the survey internally (and so hopefully using one link for everyone) there are still some things you can do to make it more useful and secure.  I won’t go into the technical details here (though contact me any time and I’d be a happy walk through it all) – but the short version is:

Demographics: You can add demographics to the link (if the groups are big enough), like “location=London” or “department=Q Branch”, and then send the links out in groups based on these demographics.

Add a password (if you can): If possible you might want to add one, single (easy) password, like “vesper”, to the survey – which you can then communicate separately and internally only to those you’d like to have access.  That way, just having the link alone doesn’t let any Tom, Dick, and Harriet in.

If using personalized links:

Example: (not a working link) … where “Island21_150238291” is the personal and internal identifier (ID) for that one individual.

Once again, you can only do this if you are running the survey externally, as anyone with access to one of these links will have access to that individual’s survey and responses.

The primary benefits of using a unique identifier like this are that you can now control things on a granular level – such as:

  • Matching demographics to the individual PRIOR to sending out, rather than adding the demographics as questions in the survey
  • Focusing the send out to include only the people you’d like to participate
  • Preventing multiple submissions by one person
  • Allowing a respondent to return to the survey and edit/complete it later
  • Tracking and reporting out on responses by whatever demographics you’d like
  • Sending personal reminders ONLY to those who have not completed the survey

And finally, a quick tip on the IDs you create: Make sure the IDs are randomly generated (and unsorted), and that the gap between the IDs is large enough that I can’t start typing in random IDs and get a lucky hit (we make our IDs about 250,000 apart on average).

So that rounds out “Getting it out there” on setting up your communication and invitations (more on that in Pro Tip 6 – How are people going to hear about and access the survey?), and next up? “Paper surveys?  Do they still have their place? (Part 1): Distribution and Collection

We love to engage in curious conversation! Grab a time on my calendar if you’d like to elaborate more on this topic or anything else
Maureen Simons

Maureen Simons is a senior human resources and communication consultant with over 25 years of experience helping clients achieve their business and organizational objectives through their people. (Linkedin)

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Adam Hunter has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, and 35+ years of technical and programming experience, resulting in a broad mix of analytical, statistical, project-related and business skills. (Linkedin)