Ask an Expert: How to Use a Survey to Create Content Your Customers Actually Want to Read

All businesses and organizations want their newsletters to be something customers will actually want to read.

When customers want to read your newsletter, they will be more likely to open your emails, tell their friends about you, and most importantly—take the next step to help you grow your business.

So what do you need to do to make this happen?

You need to deliver content that’s relevant to them.

This week, I sat down with Dave Gerhardt, Associate Product Marketing Manager at Constant Contact, to learn how using a survey can help small businesses do just that.

Here is the transcript from our interview if you would rather read.

Why would a small business want to use a survey to collect customer feedback?

I think there are a couple different reasons, but you can really narrow it down to two.

Number one is to get more information from subscribers.

When you get someone to sign up for your email list, you really want to focus on keeping the form short and simple. Get the basics: first name, last name, and email address. Think about when you’re browsing the web and you have to fill out a form—chances are you’re going to just leave that form if it is too long.

But on the other hand, if you are able to get more information about your subscribers, you can send more targeted mailings because you can better segment your list. We know that irrelevant content is really the number one reason why people are unsubscribing from your emails—by getting more information you’ll be able to send more targeted communications.

So sending out a survey will give you another chance to follow up with them and get that information after the sign up. And people will be much more likely to be OK with it because unlike when they sign up, they won’t just want to get in and get out.

I think the second reason is that a survey can be a great way to get content ideas for your newsletter. Content is one of the most challenging parts about creating a newsletter and a survey is a great way to get ideas from the people who will be reading it.

What type of information can a small business collect from customers with a survey?

The most basic thing you can do is just ask people, “Hey, you signed up for our newsletter … what do YOU want to hear about.”  Asking your customers for feedback can really be that simple and a lot of businesses don’t do it.

When it comes to segmenting your list—ask customers what types of products or services they are interested in, because not all your customers are going to be interested in the same things. Give them options to choose from and ask them, “Out of these products and services, which do you want to hear about?

Or you can ask them about the type of information they want to receive. You can ask them things like: Do you want to hear about events? Do you only want to hear from me when I send out coupons? Do you want to hear about special sales?

Give them options.

How can a small business make sure customers actually take their survey?

Getting people to take your survey is just like getting people to follow you on your social networks and getting people to subscribe to your email list. The only way people are going to do it is if you make it easy for them to do so and you put it in all the places they’re going to be.

So put a link to fill out your survey on your Facebook Page, on Twitter, in your email signature, send it out in your email, pin it on your Pinterest Page—it’s really about using all of your networks and putting your survey in all the places your customers or your subscribers are going to be.

Put that link out there, make it easy for them to take it, and they will.

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