how to optimize email surveys

Optimizing Your Digital Marketing With Email Surveys

In today’s world, there are several methods that businesses use to get an insight into their customers’ opinions and thoughts about their brand. One tried and true method to collecting this important information is through a simple survey.

A survey allows you to collect customer feedback in an organized manner. These surveys will provide you with valuable insight into consumers and their thoughts surrounding your eCommerce business.

Why Customer Feedback is important

The biggest reason why customer feedback is important is that it can help grow your business. Collecting and studying feedback from your customers will help you improve your customer experience (CX).

The collected feedback can help guide your business decisions. Collecting feedback also makes your customers trust you more, as they will feel that they are being listened to.

Are Email Surveys useful?

Email surveys are incredibly useful. In the modern social media age, email may seem antiquated, but this is far from the truth. Email marketing has an incredibly high ROI and is far less intrusive to consumers than a phone call or text. People are already used to receiving marketing emails.

How to structure an email survey

Subject line

Every successful email, whether it be marketing or not, begins with the subject. It’s the first thing customers will read and it can make or break the whole email. Think of the subject line as a mission statement. If the subject isn’t enticing enough, then they won’t open the email.

When writing your subject, make sure that is not too generic. Personalizing the subject line will grab the reader’s attention and make them feel valued. A personalized email has a 41% higher click rate and a 29% higher open rate than a non-personalized email. 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to personalize an email is to use the recipient’s name. This will catch their eye when they’re scrolling through their emails and make them more likely to open the email. 

Testing out different subject lines will help you further refine your marketing. Here’s a list of steps you can follow that will guide you when testing out subjects:

  • Write two different subject lines
  • Send one subject line to one test group, send the other to another
  • Ask the different test groups if they would have opened an email with that subject line
  • If not, ask if there are any ways it could be changed so that they would have opened it
  • Take this feedback into account when creating new subject lines

Keep track of the click-through rate (CTR) and response rate of emails you send. These metrics are incredibly important when optimizing your marketing efforts. 

Examples of subject lines

We’ve included a few examples of subject lines for email surveys so that you start with an idea of subjects that work.

  • Hi (name), do you have time to review your (product purchased)?
  • (Name), take our survey and receive $30.00 in free products!
  • How was your recent experience with (company)?
  • Enjoying your new (product)?
  • (Name), we want your feedback to improve your experience.

For more email subject line tips and examples, check out this post from Chattermill.

Write with mobile users in mind

email surveys

60% of emails are viewed on a mobile device, according to 99 Firms. Subject lines and the rest of the email need to be easily scannable on a phone. People receive a lot of different emails each day. If yours is too long then the receiver likely won’t read it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your subject line at or below 60 characters or 10 words.
  • Subject lines that are are 41 characters or 7 words have the highest open rate, according to Marketo
  • Optimize images and text to fit on a phone screen.
  • Make sure that your survey is easily taken on a phone.

Other tips for a successful email survey

Beyond optimizing your subject line and for mobile users, there are many other ways to get the most out of your email survey.

Incentivize the reader

Create some type of reward for the completion of your survey, whether that be a coupon code or entrance into a contest. Give out a prize to a random person that completes the survey. If you offer a reward to each person completing the survey, then more will take it. The chance to win something will draw less participation.

Make sure the respondent knows what they are going to receive by completing the survey.

Create a sense of urgency

By creating a sense of urgency with a deadline, more people will likely take your survey. Put a deadline on either the survey itself or any gift obtained through taking it. 

Pro tip: Don’t overuse urgency, if you do it will lose its effect and respondents will stop caring.

Tap into emotions

Don’t worry about getting too emotional in your email. Remember to keep a consistent tone among all of your marketing efforts, but don’t leave emotions out.

Even a formal-sounding email can have hints of emotions. Here are a few subtle ways to humanize your emails:

  • Speak in first person in your subject lines and emails.
  • Don’t refer to your company in the email, refer to an executive by name.
  • Use words such as family and community to build a sense of unity among your customers and build brand loyalty.
Ask a question

One of the most effective ways to grab someone’s attention in any email is to ask a question. By starting with a question in the subject line or beginning of an email, you’re grabbing their attention immediately and starting a conversation.

Asking the correspondent to simply take a survey likely won’t be enough to grab their attention. Instead, ask an open-ended question.

Don’t sound like spam

Many words and phrases can trigger automatic spam filters and get your email marked as spam. Your email will then be sent directly to the spam or trash folder in your recipient’s inbox. Even if no filters are triggered, the reader is more likely to skip over this email or manually send it to their trash.

Avoiding spam is important in any email, but especially so when sending a survey. The wrong word or phrase could make all of the efforts you put into building the survey worthless.

We’ve included a list of a few words to avoid when writing your email, as well as words to replace them with.

email survey

Be clear

Whenever you’re writing any marketing email, whether it be a survey or not, remember to be clear and concise. All of the other tips stated here mean nothing if the purpose of the email is not clear.

The reader of the email should immediately know the purpose of it based on the subject alone. Do not be vague. If the respondent does not know what they are being asked or informed of, then they won’t take the time to read the rest of the email let alone take a survey.

There are two major things the respondent should know after reading the subject line and email:

  • They are being asked to complete a survey.
  • Why they should complete the survey.
  • (Optional) – What they are going to receive by taking the survey.

Mistakes to avoid

Don’t abuse the subject line

While you want your subject to be enticing and draw the recipient in, you don’t want to sound overly “clickbait-y”. 

If your subject line is even a little off, it’s more likely that your email subscriber won’t open the email at all.

Don’t send too many emails

The last thing you want to do is flood someone’s inbox with unwanted emails. Your recipients are more likely to unsubscribe from your email list and move on from your company or brand.

Don’t send too little emails

On the flip side, you want to be utilizing your list of email addresses. Everyone on that list is subscribed for a reason, and you should keep them informed if you want them to answer your surveys. 

Building an audience without using it and interacting with it is essentially useless.

Don’t forget to test your emails

Sending out emails without testing them first can be disastrous. When a consumer receives an email that was not professionally made or reviewed, they lose faith in the company that sent it.

Here are a few things to look out for before sending any email:

  • Broken/wrong links
  • Grammar/typos
  • Images loading correctly
  • Buttons and social icons working

Before sending an email, send it to someone else to review it. This will save you a headache in the long run. If you’re looking for more email marketing mistakes to avoid, check out this other post from our blog.

We’ve also included a helpful infographic for improving your email subject lines for your survey below. 


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