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illustration of a bunch of open envelopes with a computer cursor – how to write compelling UX research study invite emails with templates and examples

How to Write Compelling Research Invite Emails (with Templates & Examples)

How to invite participants to studies via email—with best practices & sample templates to help you boost response rates and recruit faster.

Our team at User Interviews sends over 2,000,000 recruiting emails per month, while our customers send over 150,000 of their own recruiting emails per month. After recruiting millions of research participants via email, we’ve learned a thing or two about writing study invite emails that people will actually respond to.

To help you boost response rates and fill your study with high-quality participants faster, we’ve rounded up:

  • Best practices for effective UX research study invite emails
  • Templates and examples of great research recruitment emails 

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the roundup of templates and examples—or go straight to the deck now

What is a UX research study invitation email? 

A user research study invitation email is a recruiting letter sent with the goal of soliciting applications to participate in a study. Typically, it provides an overview of the study focus, methods, time, location, and incentives, as well as a link to an initial screener survey

Often, your invite email will be the first impression participants have of you, your UX research team, and/or your company. Writing consistent, professional, high-quality emails is key to building and maintaining participant trust. 

🍾 Struggling to successfully recruit participants for UX research? Learn How to Break Open the Recruiting Bottleneck

How do you write a compelling research recruitment email? 

You don’t have to sweat over the keyboard in an effort to write the perfect email. There are concrete email invitation best practices that you can follow to ensure a high response rate and, ultimately, a successful study.

Learn how to write a compelling recruiting email with the following tips:

  1. Know (and segment) your audience. 
  2. Determine how many emails to send, and when.
  3. Set up a trustworthy “from” email account.
  4. Include the essential study information. 
  5. Write like a person.
  6. Catch their eye with an attention-grabbing subject line.
  7. Include a clear call-to-action or description of next steps.
  8. Always send at least one test email to yourself or a co-worker.
  9. Keep track of your response rate and adjust accordingly.
  10. Send follow-ups to folks who didn’t respond. 
  11. Pair email recruitment with alternative recruiting methods as needed.

1. Know (and segment) your audience. 

Successful research recruitment does not involve ‘blast’ emails. 

Before you even sit down to write, you need to know who you’re writing to—and whose inboxes to avoid. 

At this point in the user research process, you should have already created a user research plan. Your user research plan delineates, among other things, the specifics of your participant pool or target user personas: who you need to talk to and their defining characteristics, as well as who should not be contacted.

For example, you may want to talk to current customers (aka ‘B2B participants’) with high product usage, but filter out anyone who’s already participated in a study within the past 6 months. 

To avoid over-contacting people or blasting your entire email list, segment your audience according to:

  • Whichever participant characteristics you defined as being your ideal audience (e.g. customers vs. non-customers)
  • Whichever participant characteristics you defined as disqualifying people (e.g. if they’ve participated in a study recently)
  • Your needed sample size for statistical significance

For example, if you only need 10 participants, but you have 500 emails matching the criteria, send your first batch to 100 people and see who replies. 

Related reading: Learn how to spot low-quality recruits to avoid invalid data and wasted resources.

🛠 You can do this segmentation using a dedicated panel management tool like User Interviews or a CRM tool like Salesforce

2. Determine how many emails to send, and when.

When is your target audience most likely to check (and respond) to their emails? Your answer to this question will be the ideal time to send your study invite email.

For example, if your target audience includes working professionals, Monday afternoon through Thursday morning might show better results than on Fridays or weekends. If you’re targeting a general consumer audience, you might find that the opposite is true. Play around with it and see what reaps the best results for you. 

💡 Remember to:

  • Stagger recruitment reminders to be every 2+ days so you are not overwhelming people with emails.
  • Keep time zones in mind when doing outreach for international audiences.
  • Start recruiting early to give participants plenty of time to respond before the target start date. 

3. Set up a trustworthy “from” email account.

Often, user researchers gain access to sensitive participant information over the course of a study—so gaining (and keeping) participants’ trust is critical.

But trust is a delicate thing, and even small details like a wonky reply-to email can shatter it. Whenever you’re sending emails to participants, your “from” account should be an authorized, company-associated domain. Not your personal hotmail account. 

Ideally, your emails should be sent from a research-specific account such as “” 

🧠 Did you know? User Interviews’s Research Hub allows you to set up a custom email domain for communicating with participants. Once you've authenticated your domain, you can create sender profiles so emails come from specific teammates, like “”

4. Include the essential study information. 

Obviously, people need to know what they’re signing up for before they’ll apply to participate. 

In your study invitation email, be sure to mention:

  • The general topic of the study (but be careful about how much you reveal—sharing your actual research question could lead to biased answers from participants)
  • How to participate (including logistical requirements, such as whether or not they’ll need a Zoom account for remote studies)
  • Where and when to participate 
  • The benefit of participating (a.k.a the incentive—whether monetary or otherwise, you have to pay people for their time)
  • A link to your screener survey

5. Write like a person. 

Even if you’ve jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon, you still need to write like a person, not a robot—that is, with a professional, yet approachable tone. 

Participants are more likely to respond to an email when the sender has written it with warmth and simplicity. If you’re not sure whether or not your writing fits this criteria, reference this Handy List of Human Words from Content Designer Deanna Horton

6. Catch their eye with an attention-grabbing subject line. 

Your recruiting email subject line is the first impression you make on participants. 

If that impression is dull, suspicious, or off-putting, they likely won’t even open the email, let alone apply to your study. 

Here are some recruiting email subject line samples you can use for inspiration:

  • Tell us about your experience and be entered to win $150
  • $50 for your thoughts on [research topic]
  • You can contribute to research on [topic]
  • Take a 5-minute survey for a $30 Amazon gift card
  • Share your feedback. Get a 25% discount on your next purchase
  • Help us improve our product by participating in research
  • You’re a high-value customer—we’d love your input

7. Include a clear call-to-action or description of next steps.

Your recipient has received your email, opened it, read the study information, and is interested in participating. What next?

Using clear, bold statements, tell people exactly what you need them to do to apply. Typically, the call-to-actions you see in recruiting emails are things like:

  • Click here to take our screener survey and see if you qualify
  • Reply to this email to let us know you’re interested
  • Book a session with us using our Calendly link

8. Always send at least one test email to yourself or a co-worker.

Remember when that intern from HBO accidentally sent out an empty email to a large portion of their mailing list, and the internet responded by sharing their biggest work mistakes

It’s clear from the #DearIntern tweets that interns aren’t the only ones to make mistakes, be they small typos or major, reputation-damaging errors. 

To avoid your own #DearIntern moment, send a test email (or two) to a coworker for a quick copy edit before sending it to your entire recruitment list. 

9. Keep track of your response rate and adjust accordingly.

In step #1, we discussed sending small batches of emails initially (e.g. if you need 10 participants and have 500 emails matching your criteria, send your first batch to 100 people and see who replies).  

If you send that first batch of recruitment emails and the response rate is lower than anticipated, you can experiment with small changes in the next batch. Try some of the tips below to see if you can increase engagement:

  • Increase the incentive amount. If you’re not getting responses, you might not be offering enough. Get a customized, data-backed recommendation for the ideal incentive amount with our UX Research Incentive Calculator
  • Revisit your recruitment criteria. See if there are any low-risk criteria you can be more flexible on to widen your pool of potential applicants. 
  • Reach out to your Customer Success team. If you're trying to recruit your own customers, they may be able to reach out on your behalf! Learn how to make Customer Success Teams a valuable resource—not a roadblock—for UX research.
  • Simplify your invite emails. Try cutting out unnecessary information, making the language more fun and engaging, or reaching out to your in-house copywriting team to help edit it. 
  • Extend the deadline. You might not be getting responses because it’s late notice, so give your participants more time to prepare. Alternatively, try offering more session options by adding more dates and times. 

🧠 Did you know? User Interviews makes it easy to schedule sessions with participants. Block off available dates and times for participants to choose from, and easily add or extend your session slots if need be. Learn more about updating your calendar in User Interviews.

10. Send follow-ups to folks who didn’t respond.  

Still haven’t received enough qualified applications? It’s okay to gently nudge people who haven’t responded. Just be sure to:

  • Stagger your reminder emails to go out every 2 or more days. Emailing folks more often than this could get you marked as spam. 
  • Use a new subject line every time. Try adding elements of urgency (“one more day left to apply”) or personalization (“you just purchased X from us. How are you liking it so far?”) to make people click.
  • Don’t send follow-ups if you suspect your target segment is wrong. If you’re not emailing the right audience, you’ll likely be marked as spam. Reconsider your target segment to make sure you’re reaching out to the right people. 

✨ Pro tip: Create email templates to streamline (and standardize) recruiting across teams. See tips for writing custom email template sets and making them available to your team in the User Interviews platform. 

11. Pair email recruitment with alternative recruiting methods as needed.

If email just isn’t working for you (or you don’t have enough emails in your database to successfully fill a study), don’t fret—you have other options! 

Try alternative recruitment methods like:

17 research invitation email templates and examples

Looking for some inspiration? Below, we’ve rounded up research recruitment templates and examples for:

  • Usability testing email invitations
  • User interview and customer interview email invitations
  • Survey email invitations
  • Multi-day study email invitations

Browse the deck to see examples of the best UX research recruiting emails and subject lines. 

Expedite email recruitment with User Interviews

📈 User Interviews is the fastest and easiest way to recruit participants for user research, with: 

  • A pool of more than 2 million (and counting!) vetted participants
  • Smart targeting and segmentation to reach any audience
  • Automation to streamline the not-fun parts of recruiting, like scheduling and incentives distribution
  • Customizable email themes, templates, and domains
  • Personalized support from a dedicated project coordinator
  • A growing suite of integrations and API to support any testing tool or research method

Check out our pricing page to explore paid plans or sign up for a free account today!

Lizzy Burnam
Product Education Manager

Marketer, writer, poet. Lizzy likes hiking, people-watching, thrift shopping, learning and sharing ideas. Her happiest memory is sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain in the summer of 2020, eating a clementine.

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