How do I use surveys on Substack?

Incorporating surveys into your posts can enhance your engagement with your readers and provide valuable insight about them. To take a survey you've shared in a post or note, readers must be subscribed to your Substack.

Benefits of using surveys in your Substack posts can include:

Understanding Your Audience Better: Surveys can help you gain insights into the demographics and preferences of your readers and get direct feedback from them. This information can be valuable in creating more targeted and relevant content to match your readers' interests better.

Increased Engagement: By involving your audience in the decision-making process through surveys, you can increase their engagement and investment in your content. This can lead to more active participation in your publication's community.

Analyzing Trends Over Time: Regular surveys can help you track changes in your audience's preferences and behaviors, allowing you to adapt your content strategy to reflect these trends.

Step 1: Create a new survey on your Substack

1. Sign in to your Substack account and go to your Stats tab. Click on "Reader Surveys":

2. A pre-made survey called "New reader survey" will appear. Click "Edit" to make changes to this default survey. If you'd like to create a new survey, click "Create new survey".

Note: If you've never edited the default welcome email templates, the "New reader survey" will be automatically included in this email. This means that when a new free reader subscribes to your Substack, they'll receive a welcome email with a survey link. You can remove this link by deleting the survey button in your "Welcome email to free subscribers" and "Welcome email to paid subscribers" templates.

Step 2: Edit the survey

Change the name of the survey

Click on the three dots and select "Edit name".

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Choose the type of question you want to ask

1. Select "+Add question" and choose the type of question you want participants to see.

  • Text: Readers can type in their answers if you select a text response.
  • Number: Readers can type in a number if you select a number response.
  • Multiple Choice: If you select a multiple choice response, readers can choose all that apply to them.
  • Single Choice: If you select a single-choice response, readers can choose only one answer presented to them.
  • Country/Region: Readers can choose from a drop-down menu if you select a country/region.

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2. Enter the possible responses to your question. To add more responses, select "Add option". To let people enter their own responses, select "Add Other".

Tip: To prevent subscribers from skipping a question in the survey, check the box next to "Required".

3. If you'd like to change the placement of a question, click on the up or down arrow next to "Order".

Step 3: Share the survey with your subscribers

Once you've finished setting up the survey questions, select "Save Changes". You can share the survey by sending an ad-hoc email (this will not appear as a web post in your publication's archive), copying the direct link, or inserting the survey in a post.

To send an ad-hoc email or copy a direct link to the survey, click on "Share" and select from the two options.

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To share the survey in a post, start a draft and select Buttons in the editor toolbar. From the drop-down menu, select "Link to survey".

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Select which survey you'd like to insert into the post and type what you want the button to say.

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Step 4: View or export results

To view your survey results, head to the Surveys page and select "View responses".  To export a .csv of responses submitted, select the three dots and select "Export results".

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Things to note:

  • If you export the results, the subscriber's email address and/or Substack profile will be included in this file.
  • You won't be notified by email or see a notification in your Activity bell when someone submits a survey.

How do I turn off a survey?

To end a survey, you'll need to delete it. A turn-on/turn-off option isn't available for surveys. When you delete a survey, all questions and responses will be lost. All links to the survey in your welcome email or posts will fail.

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