Studies have shown that one of the main reasons people reach for the unsubscribe link when receiving targeted email is because the content is irrelevant to them. This stands to reason; why would you open an email you have no interest in?

But how do you send relevant emails to multiple contacts without knowing what they want? You’ll never please everyone, but, as a business, you want to ensure you’re at least maximising the open rates for each of your email marketing campaigns. Without prior knowledge of what your audience is expecting, that can be tricky.

So, we’ve established you need more information about your audience. But how do you get hold of it? Simply adding more fields to your website’s sign up form isn’t best practice; a recent study discovered that signups increased by nearly fifty percent simply by reducing the number of fields from four to three. Adding to that number can have a dramatically opposite effect.

But, don’t panic, there’s a fantastic, tried-and-tested way to garner more information about your subscribers – send a survey.

Just like your super-slick signup form, it’s important to keep surveys brief. Start by thanking them in advance for taking part and be sure to provide an estimation of how long it will take them to complete. Make sure the questions are friendly, informal and not too probing (do you really need to know their inside leg measurement?).

Keep the questions open, if you can. While you may need to know a little more about the demographic of your subscribers (i.e. age, nationality, etc) you want to give them the option to respond freely. Ask them what they want to hear more about. Find out which of your products or services are of interest to them and ask why.

The information you get back will not only enable you to send more relevant emails, but will allow you to send the right emails to the right people by segmenting your lists. Those that wanted to know about certain products or services can go into their own list group. As an example, a hotel might want to separate those guests who want to know more about their spa from those who are purely interested in a weekend’s romantic break.

As always, experiment, and watch as your customer database becomes a mine of information which is marketing gold.


Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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