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When I first started at Campaign Monitor, I reached out to a number of our blog subscribers and asked them what they liked about the blog and what they’d like to see more of.

The conversations I had were invaluable in defining our content strategy and making sure we were covering subjects people wanted to read about.

Getting qualitative feedback from your customers or audience like that is incredibly important, and email is a fantastic way to do it.

So in this post, we’ll show you how to create a great feedback email that will deliver insights you can use to grow your business.

Why customer feedback is important

Earlier this year, Campaign Monitor customer Groove noticed that their ‘churn rate’ (percentage of customers that cancel their account per month) was on the rise.

Unhappy with this, Alex (Groove’s CEO) set out to find out how he could improve his product so people stuck around longer.

He sent an email to his entire customer base asking for 15 minutes of their time to have a chat about their experience using the product.

Within hours, he had hundreds of responses from customers offering advice about how the product could be improved and how he could get more people to stick around.

He learnt that many people were leaving because they thought Groove didn’t have a particular feature they needed. In reality however, the product did have that capability, and he was able to implement better customer training and education to let people know of these hidden features.

He also found that a lot of people were using the product in ways he hadn’t ever imagined, and it opened entirely new markets that they have begun actively pursuing.

Can you imagine how valuable feedback like this would be to your business, and what it would enable you to do in terms of increasing revenue and growth?

You can get this kind of insight by simply sending the right email to your customers, and the following 5 tips will help you send a great feedback email that gets you insightful information on your business.

5 tips for collecting valuable customer feedback via email

1. Stick to a simple, focused design

In the case of feedback emails, keeping it simple and focused is key to getting more of that valuable feedback you crave.

The awesome team over at MarketingExperiments have a mantra that says “clarity trumps persuasion”, and they have the results to back it up.

In a recent experiment, they were able to increase the number of conversions by 200% simply by removing the extra offers and elements on a page and focusing it on one simple conversion action.

We recently sent a feedback email to a number of our customers, and it is a good example of this focus in action:

As you can see, there are no unnecessary images or headings in this email, just our message and a call to action button.

This helps focus the recipients attention on the message and the main conversion action we want them to take, and encourages more of them to click the button and take the survey.

So when creating your own feedback email, stick to a simple, focused design to reduce distractions and encourage users to take your desired conversion action.

If you need help implementing this, the Inverted Pyramid model is a great framework to help guide you.

2. Use personalization

According to the social psychology phenomenon known as the Bystander effect, the probability of someone helping you is inversely related to the number of bystanders.

This means that the more people who are involved in a specific situation (like receiving a feedback email), the less likely any of them are to react.

Instead, they assume someone else will offer the help the person is looking for.

To overcome this, use personalization tags to directly address each individual recipient. This will help make them feel the email was sent directly to them and you are interested specifically in their feedback, and increase the chances you’ll get a response.

At the very minimum, you should use personalization tags in the opening line to say “Hi John” as opposed to “Dear valued customer”

Furthermore, if you have other information about the user (such as company name), try to include that in your email as well.

This is because first name personalization in email campaigns is pretty common these days, but if you can include the recipient’s company name or some other details about them then you take the personalization to a level they are not familiar with, and increase your chances of getting responses by making them feel like the email was sent exclusively to them.

3. Tell people why you want their input

In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, he discusses a Harvard study where a person tries to cut in front of a line of people waiting to use a copier.

In the first instance, the person pushing in simply asked “Can I use the copier?” and 63% let him cut in line and go first.

In the second instance, the person asked “Can I use the copier because I need to make copies?” and 94% let him go first.

Despite the person’s reasoning being nonsensical (everybody was in the line because they needed to make copies), there was a significant increase in the amount of people who let him go first purely because he explained his reasons.

So when asking for feedback, tell your users why it’s important to you and what you plan to do with it.

Looking back at our survey email mentioned earlier, you can see we told recipients that we want to get their thoughts on ‘what’s important to them when it comes to email marketing so that we can plan new features’

Not only does this give them the ‘why’ behind the survey, but it gives them an incentive to complete it (having their say in what features get added to a product they use).

Ultimately, by helping people to understand why you want this feedback and what you plan to do with it, you give people more reason to give you their feedback and increase the number of responses and insights you receive.

4. Include a clear call to action

There are many ways to collect feedback from a customer. You can ask them to reply to your email with their thoughts, take a survey, or jump on a call to talk further.

Whichever method you choose to receive your feedback, make sure to include a very clear call to action in the email so that the person knows precisely what the next step is.

Looking at our feedback request email from before, we chose to have recipient complete a GetFeedback survey that asked them a number of questions about their email marketing habits.

Because this is the way we wanted to collect feedback, you’ll notice we included very clear call to action button in the email linking through to the survey.

In our tests, we found that including call to action buttons increases conversion by 28% so by having one in this email, we made it very clear what the next step we wanted people to take was and ultimately got more people to click-through to the survey and give us their feedback.

5. Think about the whole user experience

Once you’ve sent the email, there are still several steps a user has to take before you receive the valuable feedback you’re looking for.

If you don’t make these steps really easy for the user to complete, they are going to drop off and you’ll get fewer responses and less insights.

Depending on how you want to receive feedback, here are a few ways to make it easy for customers beyond the initial email:

  • By Survey – According to our recent data, 41% of email opens happen on a mobile device. If nearly half of all recipients are opening your email on a mobile device, then it’s important to make sure your survey works on mobile devices as well. If it doesn’t, it won’t matter how great your email campaign is as people will simply drop off before completing the survey. Tools like GetFeedback (recently acquired by Campaign Monitor) make it really easy to create beautiful, mobile-friendly surveys that will help ensure you get more responses and insights.
  • By phone – If you want to setup phone calls with willing recipients, you’ll need to put in place a good system for scheduling the calls. Otherwise, your inbox will be crammed full of back and forth emails with recipients trying to co-ordinate availability across time zones. Luckily, tools like ScheduleOnce make this easier. You simply connect your calendar to ScheduleOnce and it will show people your availability in their timezone. They can then select a time that works for them and it’s automatically added to both your calendars.
  • By reply email – Getting people to respond to your email with their feedback is one of the best ways to receive responses, but storing, analysing and sharing the feedback can be really difficult. Fortunately, our friends at Zapier have a handy solution for this. Their email parser can receive the reply emails and convert them into rows in a Google Spreadsheet where you can easily analyse and share the information. You simply enter the unique address the parser gives you in the ‘Reply to’ field, and any responses from your campaign will magically appear as rows in your chosen Google Spreadsheet.

Wrap up

Getting feedback from your customers about your product is an incredibly simple and easy way to get insights that can grow your business.

It can give you information about where your product is falling short of meeting your customers needs, and it can open your business up to entirely new markets and revenue possibilities.

Regardless of whether you choose to get feedback via email, phone or survey, there is no better way to start the conversation than email and these 5 tips will help you create a great campaign that ensures you get the insights you are looking for.

So go ahead and start using email to reach out to your customer base for feedback, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the insights and information you’ll find.

Your turn: Have you used emails like this to get feedback from your customers? What insights about your business were you able to learn? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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