6 Tips on How to Use E-mail for Market Research
That said, the survey will give you a good sense of what your customers think, warts and all. Here's how to make the most of a survey delivered via e-mail:
- First, think about the invitation. A surprising number of people will fill out a survey, but where appropriate, sweeten the odds with an incentive. Good, easy-to-implement incentives include discounts for consumers and white papers for business customers. Also make sure to explain to your customers how completing the survey will help your brand meet their needs.
- Then, think about the survey body. Most of the traditional rules of survey writing apply here, with an important caveat. Your respondents will know who sent the survey, so questions about unaided awareness (e.g., "What's the first brand you think of when you think about kitchen appliances?") will be useless.
- Make it easy for the consumer to complete. As with any online survey, keep the questions to a minimum—no more than 25. Use closed-end questions such as multiple choice or ratings.
- To get the most out of the survey, work with a survey vendor to associate member-level data with responses. In other words, make it possible to identify key member-level data (purchase history, location, etc.) in the analysis.
- Analyze the data by cross-referencing the findings with member-level data. In other words, compare answers from buyers versus non-buyers. Or residents of the Northeast versus residents of the Midwest. With this kind of analysis, you will have information that a traditional survey could not get.
- Think about progressive profiling. That's when you insert a single question into an e-mail as a poll that the consumer can answer and see instant results. You can change the question with each mailing or, through the use of dynamic content, keep a question in the e-mail until the consumer answers it and then change it.
Ben Rothfeld is the global director of marketing strategy for Little Rock, Ark.-based Acxiom.