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Marketing Online: Surveys and Email Polls

So now that you know conducting surveys can be a powerful marketing strategy, how do you go about composing your own? Do you quiz customers on your products or services? Question your subscribers about frequency? Grill them for information that will be useful in creating different contact list segments? All that is up to you, but we will walk you through the process of creating an effective survey strategy. When designing your questionnaire, keep the following in mind:

Keep It Short and Sweet - The email survey gives you a chance to learn more about your audience, but you do not want to use a single opportunity to pump them for all the information you can. Be respectful of their time by keeping your survey brief and to the point. Anything more than 20 questions might be pushing it, and actually result in more harm than good in terms of participation.
Give an Approximate Time Frame - How long will it take subscribers to finish your survey? They will appreciate a rough time estimate, so it is wise to complete it yourself to give them a better idea of what they're in for. Whether it's 5 questions or 20 questions, consumers usually do not mind as long as they know what to expect.
Seek Guidance - Are your subscribers really thrilled with your content, or would they like to see something different? A good survey or online poll can help you uncover the truth. Use the questionnaire to learn what your audience prefers in terms of products, services, pricing or other areas that could potentially benefit from change. You can learn even more by asking them how likely they would be to buy or respond to new offerings or content.
Make Them Want to Participate - Even though the feedback you obtain from a survey ends up benefitting both parties when used correctly, some of the people on your contact list will need a little more convincing than others. Let's be real - people have tons of stuff to do, and answering survey questions probably isn't at the top of the list for most. Realizing this, you may want to consider coming up with a reward that compensates them for their time. The incentive could be a generous discount, a free download, a good how-to list - anything that causes them to see the value in participating.
Leave It Open - One of the most effective surveying methods is to leave some of your questions open-ended with no definitive answers. For example, you could compose your questions in a manner that gets your audience to tell you exactly what they think about the design of your holiday email templates, or reveal the weak points in your strategy that require fine-tuning. The open-ended method is your opportunity to let participants freestyle a bit and say what's really on their mind, so give your questions some thought to ensure that they deliver valuable feedback.
Share the Results - Conducting an email survey allows you to identify new insights and important trends in your business. It is information that can be used to create a better overall experience for your audience. Since your audience provided the feedback, why not let them see the fruits of their labor by sharing the results? With the right approach, this method will demonstrate the value of their participation, as well as your commitment to keeping them satisfied.
Show Your Gratitude - The feedback you get from an email or online survey can work wonders for your business performance. Your audience obviously plays a huge part in the process, so it is only right to thank them for the time they took out of their busy schedule or relaxing day to participate. Sending a simple, personalized message to show gratitude to everyone who took part could be enough to create that feeling of inclusion that leads to loyalty.