Sunday, November 25, 2007

Adding a Feedback Survey to an Email

Should you or should you not place a survey (form) in your email? I've seen both positive and negative results and all that I can suggest is to test this for yourself. It's a known fact that forms in emails will not render properly in Outlook 2007 and Hotmail but you may find an increase in conversions for forms directly in the email. Again test this for yourself and let me know how it goes. This email goes beyond adding forms to your email.

I read a great blog post by Adan Covati called: Quick And Easy Surveys. Adam makes the point that you don't need to add a form to an email but you can use links that make it appear like you've added a form. Here is the image he used:

To take this further, why not add a simple link in the footer of your email (or at the bottom) that says: "Did you find this useful? yes/no". The idea here is that some people may be reading your emails but don't feel that the email is applicable to them or are not interested in this topic. You can analyze this data by cross referencing the people who selected "no" with their past email activity and contact data (title, demographics etc...). You can do the same with the people that selected "yes". This may be another way to analyze the success of your email campaigns.

Try it out and see if it works on a campaign and then you can decide if it's something that you want to implement across all campaigns. I would start off with your newsletters.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Email Personalization Tip: Improve Response Rates

I have a great email marketing tip for everyone this week based on a real email campaign. As part of this campaign, an email was sent out to all customers asking them to fill out a survey. The first email used a generic personalization method. This meant that the email came from a VP which only some of the recipients may know.

After achieving a decent response after the first email, a follow up email a week later to those who had yet to fill out the survey. Typically, you see the response rate tail off for subsequent email invites, however, in this case, the number of survey submissions tripled from the original email. Why were response rates so high the second time around? It's all about personalization!

Email response rates tripled for the follow up email

A few tricks were used to seem as if the account manager was forwarding on the original email. Here is an example of what the top of the follow up email looked like (text was changed and the original message was not included):

Subject FW: Looking for your feedback

Hi Sam,

We recently sent out this survey to our most important customers to get feedback on how we're doing. Would you mind taking 30 seconds to fill out this short survey? I'd appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Charles Simmons
Account Manager

P: 555.432.2537

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Executive, Hello Marketing [mailto:]
Sent: October 30, 2007 9:07 AM
To: Sam Perkins
Subject: Looking for your feedback

Click here if your email program has trouble displaying this email


While it looks like the individual account managers just forwarded on the original email, that's not the case. The marketer who executed the campaign just added the above text to the top of the original email, used some simple personalization technology enhancements and fired the email out again to those who had yet to respond. Here are the changes that were made for the follow up email that lead to the high response rate:

  • Dynamic Personalization Part 1: The sender. The "from line" is from the account manager Charles Simmons and not from Jim Executive. Typically, your clients will know their account managers (if they don't, that's another story). Most of the information coming from account managers is valuable and customers are more likely to open and respond to these emails. The email vendor that you use should allow you to have emails look like they are coming from specific people from your organization and perhaps key off data from your CRM. That's exactly what was done here and was the reason that the "from line" and email signature were dynamically generated for the specific email recipient.
  • Dynamic Personalization Part 2: The recipient. This part was "easy". The "Hi Sam" section dynamically populated the first name of the recipient. Notice that in the "To" line above, the first and last name were also dynamically generated. This is part of making it look like the email was forwarded by the account manager rather then being sent by one customer marketer. This leads to my next point on subject line techniques.
  • Selling the email as a forward. An "FW" was added to the subject line for the follow up email to make it look like the email was forwarded on from the account manager.
  • The final personalization touches. The "Click here..." link was not used at the top of the follow up email so the first text is displayed at the top of the email is "Hi Sam". Therefore, the email really looks like it was forwarded on rather then sent using a mass email tool. The copy was also very effective as it's very personal. Lastly, notice how the original email header info (from, sent, to information) was used. This made the email more authentic.
All of these techniques resulted in a very successful campaign that was designed to get the highest amount of response possible. The lesson from this campaign is that the time needed to set up the personalization features is worth it if you believe that the email recipients will respond better to emails sent from specific people who they know within your company. In the example above, marketing can send emails on behalf of the account managers which makes the entire team more efficient and helps achieve the desired company objectives.

Do you have any good personalization examples?

UPDATE 11/14/2007: This example is an internal campaign that my company ran.

Chad H.




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