This worksheet describes how to:

  • Create email invitations and reminders to be sent out as SMS messages using an SMS messaging service.
  • Enable the respondents to access the survey directly from the SMS message.

It also covers how to test the survey links are working correctly.


You will need a custom email address associated with your WebHost account, please contact our sales team about having this enabled on your account. This email address will be used for sending all future invitations from your WebHost account and is used by your chosen SMS provider to authenticate your messages as they are sent.

Snap allows you to set up database links to an external database of respondents. When you are setting up the link you have the option to identify the respondent in Snap WebHost. This enables Snap WebHost to know when the respondent has completed the survey.

Snap WebHost identifies respondents who have completed the survey by using a unique ID for each respondent which is set up in the database link. This ID populates a variable in the survey when the respondent clicks on the link to the survey.

When the survey is submitted Snap WebHost records a completed status for that respondent and does not send them a reminder.

Summary of steps

Step 1: Include the login variable to identify the respondent in the survey data
Step 2: Create an Email to SMS service account
Step 3: Create a database containing respondent ID’s
Step 4: Set up the identification for Snap WebHost using a database link
Step 5: Publish your survey and upload it to Snap WebHost
Step 6: Test the survey and links are correct

Step 1: Include the login variable to identify the respondent in the survey data

  1. Open your survey and display the Questionnaire window.
  2. Click QuestionnairePropertiesButton on the Questionnaire window toolbar to display the Questionnaire Properties dialog box.
  3. Scroll down the options on the left to locate the Paradata section. Once selected, highlight the Respondent in the system variables selection and check the box marked Use in survey. Press [OK] to return to the questionnaire.
    questionnaire properties

    The variable will appear below the title.

  4. You can hide this by selecting the variable and then right-click and selecting hide variables from the selection menu.
    context menu

This ensures that respondents will be identified when they start the survey but they will not have to manually enter a login.

Step 2: Create an Email to SMS service account

If you have not already, you will need to set up an account with a SMS messaging service. Once an account has been set up, you will need to register your WebHost account’s custom email address, within your SMS account, as a valid sending address. Please refer to your SMS provider’s documentation on how to achieve this.

Step 3: Create a database containing respondent ID’s

The respondent email address will need to be configured in the following format: (where 07123456789 is the respondent’s telephone number and is the domain your SMS provider)

An example database set up in MS Excel is shown below:

Respondent Email Spreadsheet

Step 4: Set up the identification for Snap WebHost using a database link

    1. Open the survey in Snap Professional.
    2. Select File | Database Link to display the Database Linkage dialog box.
    3. Click [New…] to create a new database link. The Database Linkage dialog is displayed.
    4. Select the WebHost Invites/Logins/Seeding radio button and click [Next].
    5. Click [Select Database File…] and browse to the Excel or MS Access file containing the respondent ID’s, alternatively click [Build Data Link…] to build a link to an database with the same information.
    6. The Select the Table to use drop-down automatically displays a table name. If this is not the table you require, select a different table from the list. If you wish to filter the respondents so that this survey is only available to some members of the database, set an appropriate filter in the Where condition (SQL) box. Click [Next>].
      database linkage wizard
    7. Select the Log in respondent (track respondents in WebHost for emails/reminders/seeding) radio button then select the database field that uniquely identifies your respondent as the Login field. In this example the field in the database is named Respondent Email.
      database linkage wizard 2
    8. Check the Send email invitations and reminders check box and click [Next]. You will now need to set up your email/sms invitation to be displayed on the respondent’s mobile phone.
      database linkage wizard 3
    9. Uncheck Use HTML emails. The content of the email/SMS must be set up as plain text.
    10. Leave the Login from email radio button as Automatically log into survey {surveyLinkauto}.
    11. Set the email address field at the top of the window to the database field that uniquely identifies your respondent, again in this example this is Respondent Email. This will be used to provide the email address for the respondents in Snap WebHost.
    12. In the example above, the Email subject and text field contains who the SMS message will appear to come from on the respondent’s phone. This could be a company name but cannot exceed 11 characters. Support for this feature will depend on your SMS provider
    13. Construct the message. The exact format of the email will depend on your chosen SMS provider, however normally the contents of the email will be sent as the SMS.
    14. Use the [Insert…] button to insert the Survey Location. This will be made into a link to the survey when the message is uploaded to Snap WebHost. You can change or add email messages after the survey has been uploaded to Snap WebHost.
    15. Click [Next]. You will see a summary of what the database link does.
    16. Enter a name for the link and click [Finish] and then [Close].

Step 5: Publish your survey and upload it to Snap WebHost

  1. Select File|Publish to open the Publish Questionnaire dialog.
  2. Ensure that the previously created link to the respondent database is in the Database link drop-down list.
    publish questionnaire
  3. Click [Publish]. Snap creates a zip file containing the published survey.
  4. Log in to Snap WebHost and whilst in the Surveys tab click on the link Upload new survey. A new window opens.
  5. Click [Browse] and navigate to the folder containing the published survey.
  6. Select the .zip file containing the published survey and click [Open].
  7. Click [Upload] and the survey will be uploaded. Click [Close]. The new survey will appear in the list of surveys.
  8. Click the survey link to open the survey.

Step 6: Test the survey and links are correct

  1. Select the Respondents tab. You should have a Username column containing your respondents’ IDs, and a Completion column containing your respondents’ status.
    WebHost Respondents Tab
  2. Select the Messages tab. Your email/sms message should be displayed including the link to your survey. Click Test and send an email to yourself.
  3. When the email arrives, click the link and confirm that you go directly to a preview of the survey. (Note that the emails will only link to the survey when the survey has been started).

Note: To test the SMS message is delivered, you will need to upload a database containing your own email address i.e. (where 07123456789 is your telephone number).

To manage the load on our email relays, as well as the subsequent load as respondents complete their survey, we limit the speed at which emails are sent, this is primarily to make sure that each respondent has a good experience and fast response times, to encourage them to finish the survey. As per the technical specifications on our website ( , in WebHost this is ‘22,000 email invitations per survey per day (15 per minute)’. So, for example, a survey with 10,000 invitations, will  be sent over  approximately a 12 hour period, from the point at which the mailing is started.

Finally, please consider the number of characters in your survey URL as multiple SMS messages will incur greater costs from your SMS provider.

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