Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma6 min readTips & resourcesDecember 13, 2016

7 tips to improve your email surveys

7 tips to improve your email surveys

To build a successful email list, you need to know what your subscribers are interested in. Where do you start?

Create a simple email survey. Armed with the answers, you can improve your content, products, and marketing strategy to serve subscribers better.

Dave from Typeform will share 7 tips with you. He is a freelance digital producer and strategist and looks after customer lifecycle email for Typeform.

1. Respect your respondents

The amount of time and effort subscribers are prepared to spend on your survey will depend on their existing engagement with your brand, and their interest in the topic.

The general rule is to keep surveys as short as you can, and make sure the questions are of interest to respondents. If you want to ask more questions, there needs to be a clear value to them. Quartz magazine had a very high completion rate for a 65 question reader survey because they gave respondents a compelling reason to answer.

Only ask questions you can act on, otherwise, you’re wasting their time, and yours.

2. Segment wherever you can

As with any kind of email campaign, you’ll get higher click-through rates when you segment subscribers and tailor your copy. It’s the same story if you tailor your survey questions for each segment.

If you’re using Typeform, pass merge tags from your email list (like a segment name or signup source) with Hidden Fields and use Logic Jump to skip or display different questions. This will make your survey more relevant to each respondent.

3. Reuse information and personalise

Do you find it frustrating when someone asks you for details you’ve already given them? Since you’re linking to your survey from an email list, you already have some data about respondents that you can use for personalisation. Maybe it’s just their name and email, or maybe you have details like products they’ve purchased or topics that interest them.

Whatever you do, don’t ask for this information again – it’s annoying and unnecessary. If you’re going to collect personal data, use it to make people’s experience better, then watch your results improve like magic.

4. Be conversational

A survey is really just a way to ask people about themselves. You do this all the time in your day-to-day conversations, and it feels natural. Somehow that experience doesn’t carry over to most surveys, which is why they can seem cold and lifeless.

This is part of Typeform’s secret sauce: respondents are presented with one question at a time, so it feels more like a natural conversation. Write questions as if you were asking them at a cocktail party or customer meeting, making each one flow smoothly into the next. Read them out loud, and always remember: if a question would sound weird in a real life, it’ll sound weird on the internet too.

5. Create a smooth and seamless experience

Start the survey right in the email

  • Place closed-ended questions, like a rating or multiple choice, right in the email. This will get people engaged straight away. If they click through, they’re more likely to finish because they’ve already put some effort into it. Tip: this technique works great for NPS surveys.
  • Use Hidden Fields to pass their answer to your typeform, and use Logic Jump to alter the second question based on their initial response. If you don’t want to put the first question in the email itself, use a clear call-to-action button or link that goes straight to your survey page.

Make sure it’s mobile-friendly

  • I’m betting a large chunk of your emails are opened on mobile devices, and if the survey tool you’re using doesn’t provide a great mobile experience, you’re losing responses.

Remove distractions

  • The survey page should have nothing but your survey on it because you don’t want to draw respondents away before they’re finished.
  • Any kind of popup or distracting movement is a massive no-no. If there’s something you want to draw attention to, put it on a “thank you” page at the end.

Match the survey design to the email

You don’t want the transition from email to survey to feel jarring.

  • Match the email and survey to your brand by including your logo, colors, and graphic styles.
  • Try to connect the copy of the call-to-action in the email with the copy in the survey, so it feels like a naturally flowing conversation.

6. Feed responses back into your list

Using a subscriber’s responses to produce content they’ll enjoy is the holy grail of email list surveys. They get more targeted and relevant emails, and you get happy readers. If you design your survey with personalization in mind, you’ll create better-performing emails that subscribers look forward to receiving.

Here’s how to set up a typeform to feed response info back into your MailerLite email list:

  1. Use a merge tag to pass the subscriber’s email address into the typeform as a Hidden Field.
  2. Create custom fields for each question.
  3. Connect your typeform to Zapier so that it creates a new subscriber from each typeform response, and map the answers to the custom fields you created in step 2. Make sure you map the Hidden Field containing the email address to MailerLite’s email field, so the right subscriber’s information will be updated.
  4. Start learning more about your audience!

7. Finish with style

Once the survey is submitted, your first job is done—but don’t stop there. Consider one of these options for your “thank you” page.

  • A well-crafted thank you message that will make people smile. GIFs are a favourite of ours.
  • A surprise reward or gift. But don’t mention this beforehand, otherwise, people may do the survey just for the reward and not put as much thought into their answers.
  • A link to view the current survey results (for quizzes, polls, or general interest surveys).
  • A link to a “next step” piece of content that might interest them.

Hopefully, these ideas will help improve your email survey technique straight away. If you always put user experience first, good things will happen.

If you’d like help setting up any of the workflows outlined here, get in touch with Dave.