Email engagement: Surveying

Who likes to be asked for their opinion? Nearly everyone. Just look at Twitter, a huge social platform with millions of people offering their opinions without even being asked. Being asked for your views and perspectives provides validation. It makes you feel people are interested in your opinions. It makes you feel valuable.

On the other hand, many professionals view surveys as a burden on their audiences. Many organizational leaders are hesitant to survey their audiences. Requesting information from an audience can feel like a cost. How do you compensate individuals for graciously responding to our surveys? Do you need to offer discounts? Free product/services? No. You don’t.

Surveying is a part of business relationships. Surveying is an exchange between the organization and the audience, but you do not need to give freebies or payoffs to make the exchange fair. You have to remember that a survey should be a conversation, not an interrogation. If you ask a question, and you get a response, how do you acknowledge that? How do you continue the conversation to fulfill your role?

Think about how you manage an in-person conversation. When you ask a question and receive a response, what do you do? You might say “thank you”. You might ask another question. You might repeat your understanding of their response, “what I heard you say is… “. You may even offer a differing viewpoint. However you respond, acknowledging the response and demonstrating that you received value from their reply is the socially acceptable thing to do. Ghosting them is not.

How do you acknowledge survey responses? One of the most effective acknowledgements we have used is providing survey results back. Summarizing the data and showing what you learned from the survey shows your audience that you are listening, and it also shows them how their responses stack up against others. People like to know how their opinion compares to others’ opinions. You could also share how your organization will adjust based on the survey responses. You could also simply say, “thank you”. Whatever your response, ensure that you are holding up your end of the conversation.

Here are a few other considerations when putting together your surveys:

  • Segment your audience before surveying
  • Automate your surveys
  • Ask demographic information
  • Ask psychographic information
  • Get your Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Communicate the results back
  • Create a survey process

Surveying can take some time to set up. Between creating your survey, evaluating the responses, and communicating back to the respondents, there is a lot of work to be done. There is also a lot of value from surveying. Your audience can tell you what they like about your organization, what they don’t like, and other great insights. A well done survey can provide unimaginable value for improving your organization. Now go ask for some opinions.

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