Nuts & Bolts: Buck the Learning Curve with Surveys
To keep pace with today’s consumer-driven marketplace, you have to achieve relevance with your customers. E-mail marketers are answering the call for more precisely targeted customer communication by taking the lead from their marketing-researcher counterparts and including surveys and polls in their campaigns, says Elaine O’Gorman, vice president of strategy for Atlanta-based e-mail marketing services provider Silverpop.
“People are somewhat reluctant to fill out the types and depth of information that is really going to allow you to market to them well at the point of opt-in, either because they don’t have time to or because, frankly, they’re just beginning a relationship with you,” she explains. Surveys can help fill in database gaps because they gather preferences at a more manageable level over time. But to properly implement these tactical tools, there are some advance measures you need to take. O’Gorman identifies a few ways to help your survey perform as expected, and reap the results you desire:
• Frequency. There’s no magic number when it comes to how often surveys should be included in your e-mail campaign, but it helps to know your customers and what motivates them. Depending on your frequency of contact, you might want to consider adding one every third, fourth or even sixth mailing. However, if your industry has a high level of involvement, using a one-question poll in a daily e-mail might not seem intrusive or strange.
• Follow-through. Since the addition of an e-mail survey often requires turning to a third-party provider to collect and organize results, it’s important to determine in advance how your newly acquired information is going to relate back to your database. Marketers should designate a “key,” or unique customer identifier, that must be provided to match information back into their housefile.
• Foundation. Let customers know that you’re interested in their responses so that you can provide them with more meaningful content and well-tailored offers and promotions.
• Fine Points. Keep in mind that there is an art and a science to question development. Consult with your marketing research team and read up on best practices regarding survey development before jumping in with both feet.