How to Write Effective Hello Messages

Your survey's hello message sets context.

Context is important. You wouldn't simply say to someone, "Take this survey." They need to know what it's about, who's running it and why they should take it. 

Without context, there's no incentive for a participant to spend their valuable time helping you.

Optimize the Hello Message

An optimized hello message has three parts. Let's look at them from the participant's point of view:

  • Why does this survey exist?
  • Who is asking me to take this survey?
  • What impact will I have?

Instead of the usual Ice Cream demo, let's use a public pairLab survey that was looking for America's favorite sandwich (read the results of that survey).

I had to craft this hello message carefully because I solicited participant through a Facebook ad. Potential participants had no incentive to take this survey -- it was strictly voluntary, so my hello message had to be good. Here's what I came up with:

It's National Sandwich Month and pairLab is conducting this poll to find America's favorite sandwich. Make your appetite heard by voting now.

Let's break this down:

  • Why: "It's National Sandwich Month ... "
  • Who: "pairLab is conducting this poll to find America's favorite sandwich"
  • What: "Make your appetite heard by voting now"

The last part is critical because it invites the person to participate. Like a good question, a good hello message takes the form of a personal invitation

Keep It Short

Long hello messages are distracting -- a big block of text is like a wall that keeps people out. Plus, the page were your hello message appears doesn't have unlimited space. The hello message is preceded by an introduction and followed by instructions and a call-to-action. You don't want your message to displace them.

Let's see what the sandwich hello message looks like on an iPad:

The first screen of a pairLab survey
The first screen of a pairLab survey on an iPad.

Here, a pairLab manager speaks directly to the participant. First he welcomes the participant to the lab by asking for their help: "Welcome to pairLab. I'm the lab manager and I need your help." Then comes the hello message followed by instructions and a CTA.

There's more room for text on this view, but it gets tight as the screen size shrinks. Keep that in mind as you write your hello message.

You can check your work by taking your own survey. You should take your own survey before you send it to participants to be sure everything you wrote makes sense.

Posted by Christian
on March 3, 2022