Posted October 3, 2007 4:39 am by with 6 comments

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MarketingSherpa, a research firm that tracks what works and what doesn’t in marketing, came out with a special report on using email to conduct customer surveys.
One benefit of email marketing is that it’s a low cost way to do some research.

Also, using email to poll your customers is quick – the majority of responses (75%) are returned in just three days. You can also track and report on the results of your campaign.

Perhaps you want to know why people abandon their shopping cart. Were they trying to find out shipping? Did they change their mind? Was the cost of shipping a factor? Surveys can help you pinpoint the answer.

Surveys can also be a good way to get feedback on what you’re doing right. You can put a comment box and the end. You may get testimonials or uncover problems you didn’t know about. Just get permission if you plan to use their words in your marketing.

Response Rates
People often ask me questions about what to expect as a response rate (completed surveys). MarketingSherpa says:

• For prospects – between 1% and 5%.
• For customers – anywhere from 20% to 55% — depending on the brand.
• For a consumer marketer – open rates above 15% and click-to-completions greater than 25%.
• B-to-B marketers – higher than all these.

Of course it varies depending on your market. Test. Test the call to action, the graphics, the layout, subject lines, etc. One effective subject line is “Take Our Brief Survey on [topic] and Enter to Win XXX,” according to CMP Media.

Here are some quick tips when designing a survey
• The email should be short 2-4 paragraphs with a strong call-to-action. Provide a well-placed link to the survey and then make it easy to fill out. You don’t need another link except one to unsubscribe. The survey be taken on a web site, not within the email.
• No more than 12 questions. Make it quick.
• The subject line matters – keep it 5 words or less and give them an idea on how long the survey will take.

Make the questions fun and reflect your style and branding. Read the report on email surveys from MarketingSherpa

  • The biggest problem I find with emails is that, because of the large amount of unsolicited email we find in our mailbox, people are quick to dismiss things as spam or unwanted and not give them a second look.

    Sending your customers a poll can quickly fall into this category, even if it’s one of the hundred companies you’ve expressly given permission to contact you.

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  • I agree with Owen. Plus, your regular newsletters could be affected by this is people mark that one mail as spam.

  • I have been on both sides of the street and now believe that this is as good or as bad as any market survey done. The responses on house to house or tele-research or exit interviews all can give similar responses from the person addressed. Since cost will be a significant factor, this method can be useful for certain types of researches.

  • I can see Owen’s point. I get so much spam and many legitimate emails get flagged as spam that I really need to pay attention so as not to delete them. I could easily see myself deleting emails even if they are from companies I’ve let contact me.

    However assuming I notice the email and open it I’m usually happy to help companies I like by filling out a survey as long as it’s not too time consuming.

    Keeping the email and survey short would be key.

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