E-mail marketing and online surveys: communicating efficiently with your contacts
Why carry out an online survey: objectives and benefits
An online survey represents the fastest, most direct and effective way to understand what users, prospects and collaborators think of a brand, product, service or company.
Among surveys (paper, phone, door-to-door, ect.) online surveys represent a determined innovation due to the rapidity of implementation, effectiveness, low cost investments, visibility in real time of the results, interactivity and in time reusability.
But, how are online surveys specifically carried out?
How do you plan an online survey
First of all, you need to place extreme attention to the definition of some elements that have e remarkable impact on the response rate that will be obtained.
The objective of the survey must be clear. The ultimate purpose is to understand the opinion of the contacts about the company, but a futher definition effort is necessary: do we want to inquire about the level of satisfaction of our customer service? Or initiate a dialogue with the clients so as to profile, therefore, feed and segment our database of users to detect the hard core opionion-leader?
The invitation to participate in an online survey occurs typically through an e-mail campaign that should be considered a campaign to all intents and purposes. So, it is essential to focus on the copy,creativity, choice of messages and call-to-action exactly as if it were a newsletter.
The questions should be grouped in blocks per marco-subject and, usually presented as a drill-down approach: following logic, from the most general subject to the most specific. Besides the classical closed-ended, open-ended, multiple choice questions, it is also possible to include online multimedia elements in the surveys, such as surveys, videos, web pages.
Timing is fundamental
On average, the duration of a survey is about 15 days, enough time to be certain that the invitation has been read, and enough time to avoid procrastination on behalf of users who reply. There is even a continuous survey, designed to be reused in the technical structure of the survey, for certain service typologies (ex. Tourism services) there may be an online questionnaire and the mailing may be carried out for the event (triggered): within days of the purchasing experience (ex. When travellers return from their vacation) an email including an invitation to a survey about the purchase satisfaction level is automatically sent to the client. In such cases, the response rates are higher than others since the invitation addressees are “warm” and more willing to give their “fresh” opinion.
In such survey typologies the integration of the survey with the e-mail marketing platform becomes fundamental to make possible the database profiling of the characteristics and behaviour of clients: purchase, appreciation of the purchased service, typology of purchased services (accomodataion, transportation, accessory services, ect. ).
At last, we can motivate the participation with an incentive (discount coupons and other advantages) although such option should be evaluated carefully since it may modify the level of spontaneity of replies.
So, we have the results….what now?
Once the survey is closed, or in the case of continuative surveys closed in predefined moments, you move on to the analysis of the results. If the synthesis is nearly automatic for the quantitative analysis, the qualitative analysis (open answers) requires a semantic interpretation. From an external communication point of view, the valorization of the feedback obtained from one’s own clients has much more importance compared to the survey itself. A contact that has dedicated time to replying to the questionnarie for a certain brand, obviously expects that his/her opinion is kept in consideration for the realization of concrete actions. Therefore, it is important someway to close the feedback loop valorizing the results of the survey. Such results can be:
* Published on the site and pointed out in the institutional newsletter;
* Used to communicate new elements that will be realized following specific referrals,ex. “Following your referrals we have decided to invest in Customer Service”;
* Employees as reference in the product sheet: “80% of clients who have replied to our survey have indicated the XYZ product as the best quality/price report of its category”, or in advertising campaigns: “90% of the XYZ clients is completely satisfied with XYZ Company”,or to select testimonial users;
* Combined with a crowdsourcing initiative, that is, a shared generation with contacts of a new product or service.
Carrying out a survey is an effective, fast and non expensive activity that provides many positive returns even in terms of brand perception when inserted in a complex strategy that gradually includes several actions having the purpose of giving a sign of overture for dialogue and exchange on behalf of the company.
To realize an online survey combined with an e-mail marketing campaign on a profiled database, on a demographic and behavioural level allows to:
* easily understand, with low cost investiments, the level of satisfaction of the users of services or products;
* obtain useful data to orient the company choices, for example indication of products and services that require investments in order to be improved;
* discover the possible unsatisfied needs of users and consequently broaden the commerical offer or one’s own potential market;
* open a dialogue with clients communicating how greatly important their opionion is to the company;
* update and profile the contact database of the company.
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