Surveys can be an effective method of obtaining data for your email marketing software. Here are ten considerations.
1/ Is the risk worth the benefit
People don’t like them. Stand near a pinch point in a shopping mall with a clipboard and you will realise that people will bump into one-another rather than answer your questions.
2/ Size is everything
Or rather, lack of it is. Don’t ask too many questions. Most people find more than one page a bit of an effort.
3/ What do you need to know
Superfluous information is, by definition, of no use and storing it takes time and costs money. Further, if you concentrate on just a few points you will be more likely to be able to exploit them in future campaigns. Lastly, if you have just three questions then pulling them from a dozen or so will ensure that they are the best ones.
4/ Focus the questions
Wording is critical. Options such as poor, quite good, very good, excellent will tell you little. You want useful information.
5/ What way is best
The main choices are whether to have the survey on a separate email or with other correspondence. If the former then accept that this is going to take up an email marketing slot. If sent with an invoice then it might go to the wrong person.
6/ How to segment your lists
The options are to try different styles of questionnaires to segmented lists or send identical questionnaires to different groups of subscribers. It doesn’t have to be a choice: try both.
7/ Who will you ask
If you question potential customers in depth, especially when signing up, they might well go somewhere else. With new subscribers, wait until their first purchase at least.
8/ Tick box or scale
Tick boxes have the benefit of being easy to complete. A sliding scale has the potential to be more accurate. Choose one depending on the circumstances of the survey.
9/ Go on giving
Despite one iPad being sufficient for anyone, most want more I’m told. Have one as the lottery prize for completing the survey and you will get a great response. However, there is every possibility that the dependability of the results might be in doubt as people take part solely for what they can get out of it.
If you have a firm relationship with your subscribers they might well feel obliged to cooperate, especially if you word your email correctly.
10/ Free text box
The most useful feedback can come from a free text box, one with no limitations. This might disclose a problem you were unaware of. It might also show where your strengths lie, maybe even in comparison with your competitors.
However, it is labour intensive. As there are no restrictions, the person checking the results will have to make a qualitative decision for every one. Accept that results from free text boxes are expensive to collate.
Used sensibly, surveys provide useful information and quickly. They are useful for those just starting out in email marketing as well as for an established company wishing to improve performance. However there’s a fine balance to be drawn between gaining information and irritating subscribers.