Email Based Surveys
Surveys are a great way to find out what your customers think and want. Hiring and engaging your customers about your products and services is critical to the future direction of your business.
Similarly, you can ask very specific questions about specific products – possibly a new product that you have just put on the market or that you are considering putting on the market.
Or do you want to find out what customers think of your employees and your customer service?
When sending a survey, there are three important aspects to consider:
What will you say? Ask yourself:
The timing is crucial and can do or what do you change?
What are you leaving?
Why are you sending this survey?
What do you want to find out?
To whom do you send it?
Who are your goals? Why?
This last question refers to your original strategy. Why are you doing this?
When should I send the survey?
Break the success of your survey.
What will you say?
The information obtained from a survey is only as good as the questions asked. This means that something that seems relatively simple at first glance requires a lot of thought and knowledge about your product / service and your customers. The questions and how to phrase them – are your survey.
Tips for formulating your survey
Keep phrases short – long, confusing phrases and questions confuse respondents and lead to ambiguous answers and / or answers that do not answer the question correctly. Keep the number of words to a minimum. Less is more. Your customers are very busy people, just like you. You do not have time to read and complete long surveys.
Tip: Once you’ve written your survey, go through it again and see what words you can filter out. You will be surprised at how many words are duplicated and how many words you can remove. Use a simple, easy-to-understand language. Imagine talking to a student who knows nothing about your product or business.
You can not assume that your customers have complete knowledge of your product or service, even if they are customers. If they are confused by too much “technical” information, they end the survey.
Set up your survey. To whom should you send them?
Focusing your survey on the right people is critical to the survey’s outcomes and overall success. For example, you may not want to send it to all your customers. Suppose you are a restaurant and have put together a new, fast lunch menu to address the store market during lunch breaks. They want to find out what kind of “quick and easy” food tempts them and whether they’re interested in being pre-ordered via a special email address to save time.
In that case, it is best to send your survey to those who have already been to the restaurant for lunch.
Tip: Try to build your database to match the type of research you will be doing later. For example, if you collect your customers’ contact information, ask them if they are primarily interested in lunch and / or dinner.
You may also want to track where they live – often most conveniently by asking customers for their zip code – and often (more than once a week) eating out, not so often (every 2-3 months) or only on special occasions.
By segmenting your database primarily by “key criteria”, your surveys become more targeted and therefore the results are more useful.
At the end of your survey, you can ask respondents to provide you with basic information that will help them get an idea of your customers or potential customers. Demographic information allows you to interpret your survey results by market sectors. Information that is usually asked in surveys includes age, gender, location, and often salary levels. Use ranges for age, salary, etc.
For example, you are:
18 – 25 years old?
26 – 40 years old?
41 – 55 years old?
56 – 70 years old?
You may also want to send surveys to non-customers if, for example, you have a new product that you believe addresses a new market segment. The fact that you are considering bringing such a product to market means that you should do some research which individuals are considering buying it. If you do not have a market, there is no point in bringing the product to market!
To test the reaction to a new product, you might want to send it to a brand new database (and of course to your current customers). You can create your own database – for example, the above restaurant could search the local phonebook and track all e-mail addresses in company ads near the restaurant – or you can shop in databases (see Echoplus Help) if you have want us to create a mailing list for you).
Time of polls
There are two things to keep in mind when timing e-mail surveys. The first is the timing of the campaign in relation to other activities and the second is the timing of the specific target customer.
When you decide to send the survey depends on your overall marketing strategy and what you want to find out. Suppose you are a florist and want to find out which products your customers like the most, when they prefer shopping, how often they shop and how much they spend per visit. It makes sense to send this survey in time for your next purchase cycle. For example, if you visit two large fairs a year, you can use the information from the survey to make your purchasing decisions.
This is a good reason for a 12-month marketing strategy. So important decisions, many of which are cyclical or seasonal, are related and help to create a synergy effect for your business. Another factor influencing the timing could be the new legislation. For example, suppose you are an accounting firm and new laws come into force that you think will affect your clients. It’s best to send the survey in due time before setting up the legislation and ask customers what they think so that you are prepared to help the affected customers.
Timings – customer-oriented
The other timing aspect is when to actually send the survey to best suit your customers? Should you send it on a weekday or weekend? Morning or afternoon? Or maybe after hours? There was a lot of research, but unfortunately the jury is still not there! For example, some polls say Thursday and Friday are better for business customers than the beginning of the week. Maybe by the end of the week, workers will feel they deserve more “downtime”?
The most important consideration is your own goals – who are they? When would you be most receptive to your survey? When is it a logical time to send it? For example, if you are a sailing holiday company asking specific questions about a proposed new destination, submit the survey in a timely manner before your customers go on vacation. This is another example of a diagnosis that will help your survey. The more information you have about your customers (such as their preferred holiday dates), the more targeted the results.
Chatting with your customers can help – the results are not scientific, but often what a handful of customers say about your products pervades many of your customers. Informal feedback often gives you a starting point for the customer survey in your survey.
Qualitative versus quantitative surveys
You will undoubtedly have heard the words qualitatively and quantitatively when it comes to surveys. In summary, here are some of the main differences:
Qualitative is where you ask the respondent more detailed questions about how they feel, what they think. Questions that require longer, more verbose answers. Good for more in-depth surveys where you try to measure perceptions, attitudes and opinions. You can ask open questions – questions where the respondent must formulate his or her own answers – or multiple-choice answers (you can still measure attitudes and perceptions, but you must be very careful in formulating the questions).
Tip: Never ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, as this does not say anything, unless this is all you need to know, eg. Would you try this new lunch menu if it was offered for a total price of $ 19.95? Yes No?
Qualitative samples (the number of respondents) are usually small – the value is in the answers, not in the numbers. Qualitative research requires a careful interpretation of the answers, as they can be subjective, emotional and sometimes undecipherable!
For quantitative investigations, a minimum number of respondents must be interviewed so that the results are “statistically significant”. In other words, if you ask 5 people and say 4 out of 5 they like it, it’s not statistically significant (the next five respondents might as well say they do not like it). However, if you ask 100 people the same question and 80 out of 100 people say they like it, you would have asked enough people to reasonably believe that you might be on the winning side. You interviewed a statistically significant sample of people. The number of people you need to interview to make sure is different – there are some very complex sums you can do to figure that out! – but for a small business 100 to 200 people would be a good start.
If you think you have something to do – or want to be more specific about a particular aspect of your product or question – you can send another survey specifically to those people who said, “Yes, I would agree interested in a new lunch menu offered for $ 19.95. ”
Test your survey
Testing your survey is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success. Whatever you think is a simple question, it can cause all sorts of difficulties for respondents because of the wording (see tips on wording your survey). Ambiguous phrases, jargon, acronyms – all this will put people off. Just because you understand jargon does not mean that your customers want it (or should!). You can do a cheap and quick test by sending your survey to five friends or acquaintances. Ask them to complete the survey as if they were a customer and then provide feedback. You will be surprised about which areas you are stumbling across!
If you are satisfied with the survey after your first test but really want to consolidate it, send it to 20-30 of your regular customers (customers who forgive you some mistakes) before sending it to your entire database. The great thing is that testing is free! It only takes time and patience and a willingness to change when receiving feedback
Gone are the days when busy people filled surveys for nothing! Give your respondents a reward for taking the time to complete your survey – thank them (but you should still thank them and give them a reward). Rewards can be anything, but clever marketers make their reward relevant and attractive to their target audience. Think carefully about what you want to achieve. With the restaurant example, a voucher would probably work for a free meal. If you are an accountant, is a free tax return quite so attractive?
Money (in the form of coupons), money rebate, discounts – everything works, if a reasonable amount is offered. Alternatively, you can offer respondents the opportunity to participate in a raffle for something “big”, such as vacation or cruise.
Use surveys as a PR tool
Survey results are a great material for media releases. The results could be relevant to other industry members as well as customers – the “man in the street”. In fact, many companies consult customers for this reason. You do not have to share all the information – just the answer to a specific question or questions. You might consider adding a slightly controversial question to the end of your survey to get a “perspective” on a media release.
For example, a restaurant might ask guests if they agree to the city council’s new regulations for eating on sidewalks. If you decide to follow this path, you must carefully report your survey results and be prepared to substantiate your release with facts if the journalist calls. For technical information on creating and creating your databases, see Echoplus “Database Engineering Techniques”.