Why you Should Start Asking your Email Subscribers Questions?

How many of you have actually asked your customers questions through email?

Email can be a great channel for two-way communication, it’s private and not limited by character numbers. Yet a lot of marketers don’t use it in this way.

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service and business better.” – Kristin Smaby, Being Human is Good Business

Of course, this also implies that you’re not just asking a question, you’re also listening to the answer and taking it in.

A journey of discovery…

You’re probably thinking I’m referring to product reviews and surveys. These are great ways of getting feedback from your customers, but they’re not the only ways. Asking a question in an email can be as simple as Costa’s multiple choice vote for topics. In order to inform their content strategy for future newsletters, Costa asked their subscribers to tell them what they would like to see more of, with options like ‘barista tips’, ‘fun facts’ and ‘giveaways’.

What about using more than one channel? Boots combined a promo email and a survey to create context around their products. They sent an initial email with a single call-to-action asking subscribers to use their ‘Holiday Helper’ to get suggestions, offers and tips for their trip. Clicking through led to a visual, simple, seven step survey which took about 30 seconds to complete. The data collected resulted in a personalized email follow-up based on the answers given, and a second follow-up reminder a month before the event. Even though the emails had the look of a regular newsletter with a variety of offers, what made them stand out was the context – giving something to get something in return. An email like this can easily be setup using conditional content and decent automation capabilities so why not try it today?

…destination: relevant emails and beyond

You can tell there is a theme starting to form here. By using customers’ answers to inform content decisions, you can make the information you provide more relevant. This not only increases email metrics such as opens and clicks, but it also helps increase revenue and customer stickiness.

A different multiple choice strategy was used in an automation program created by Future to promote a range of limited edition magazines. They sent an email to their subscribers asking which of the four suggested movies or TV series they were most likely to watch that night. Based on their selection, those who clicked were sent a follow-up campaign promoting the magazine related to that movie or TV series. This granted them open rates in excess of 70%!

If you’re after a way to improve your engagement rates, or you’re stuck in what content to include in your next newsletter, try asking questions. Decide on what feedback you require, i.e. what’s useful, valuable and actionable. Afterwards, use the feedback to inform your email marketing strategy and personalise future emails.

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