Collect important feedback with survey newsletters: Here’s how!

Technewtrends
9 min readMar 23, 2021
client satisfaction questionnaire template

By collecting feedback from customers and prospects via email, you get to know your target audience better: Not only can you measure your customers’ satisfaction, but you can also assess their needs, interests, and behavior more easily. Survey newsletters thus help you to continuously develop your products and services and tailor them even more closely to customer needs. The result: you sell more! Our tips on how to best create and send a newsletter survey will help you do just that! Let’s go!

When and for whom is it worthwhile to obtain feedback by e-mail?

Right from the start: It’s worthwhile for everyone, regardless of whether it’s a company, association, or agency, to regularly listen to customers or members to find out how satisfied they are with their own products, service, or offers. The great advantage of feedback e-mails is, on the one hand, that you give your target group the feeling that their opinion counts and that they can actively help shape your offers. On the other hand, you as a company can draw valuable conclusions from the survey results, e.g. on the use of your product, and derive the next optimization steps from them such as new product functions.

An internal employee newsletter in the form of a survey mail is also a good way to get an idea of the general mood in the company, for example, or to find ideas and a date for the next team building event.

As a newsletter sender, you can set various goals for your survey newsletter and define relevant questions for them, such as:

  • General customer survey: How and when do customers use our product? Are our customers satisfied with our services? Which functions do customers miss in our product? How can we develop further?
  • Checking the relevance of a new product feature or a new business idea: What do customers think of our idea to add feature XY to the product is there a need? What do our cafe visitors think of the idea that we want to set up a “cafe office” corner? Would they use it?
  • Seek out new advertising channels: How did our customers find out about our product? Where or from whom did they learn about it? Which social media do our customers use most often?
  • Query satisfaction with the support team: In which cases have our customers already sought help from our customer support team? How satisfied were they with the help provided? What can we do better in this regard?
  • Employee survey: How satisfied are employees with their work for our company? Where do they see the potential for improvement? What do employees think of the new home office arrangement? Is there a need for an in-house canteen?
  • Planning of association events: On which date are the most members available? Who can contribute to the planning and in what form? Under what motto should the association party be held?
  • Feedback on the company newsletter: Would our subscribers like to receive regular newsletters from us? On which topics would they like to receive more information? Which newsletter contents have they particularly liked so far?

How can I create an email survey?

In order to be able to send a survey newsletter, you must of course first create the survey. For technical reasons, it is unfortunately not currently possible to integrate the survey directly into the newsletter and retrieve it there. However, there are numerous survey tools available online that you can use to create your survey and integrate it into your mailing via a link.

Depending on how extensive and sophisticated you want your email survey to be, there are both paid and free survey tools available with more or fewer features and design options. Estimate beforehand approximately how many questions you want to include in the survey, what question types you need, and how many people you want to participate in the survey. After that, choose the survey tool that best suits your needs.

The best online survey tools are:

  • SurveyMonkey: up to 40 responses per survey for free.
  • Google Forms: free basic version suitable for smaller and anonymous surveys
  • LimeSurvey: up to 25 responses per month for free
  • HeyForm: 3 surveys with max. 5 questions and with up to 50 answers for free
  • Firepoll: 3 surveys with up to 25 answers for free

Once you have completed your survey, the survey tool will provide you with a link to share. You can copy this link and paste it into your survey newsletter.

How can I send a survey via email?

Yippee, you’ve already created your email survey including a link to share! Now, before you create and send the survey email with your newsletter tool to gather feedback from your newsletter subscribers or customers via newsletter, you should first go through the following to-do list step by step:

Therefore, answer the following questions in advance to define your survey target group:

  • Which contacts within your newsletter distribution list can answer your questions at all?: e.g., all subscribers who participated in your last webinar or all employees who have worked for your company for at least two years.
  • The answers of which prospect or buyer groups are relevant to the survey?: e.g. all new customers who bought your product XY in the last month.
  • Do you want to survey a specific age group?: e.g. all customers aged 50 to 60 years old

If you have a precise idea of who you want to reach with your email survey, you can prepare your recipient list accordingly for sending the newsletter feedback survey. Depending on which tool you use and how you have organized your subscribers in your newsletter software, you have the following options, for example:

  • Create a new recipient list: Create a completely new recipient list in your newsletter tool for the survey mailing, with all contacts who are to participate in the survey.
  • Select or create specific keyword groups: If you have assigned specific keywords (also called: “tags”) to your customers or newsletter contacts in your mailing software, for example, according to buyer group or interests, you can select specific keyword groups when sending your email survey. Of course, you can also assign the keyword “survey-2021”, for example, to all recipients who are to be surveyed in your usual recipient list and then send the survey to this group of recipients.
  • Divide recipient list into segments: Aside from different interests or buying habits, you might want to conduct your survey only among customers who live in a certain city, who opened your last newsletter, or who are a certain age. Instead of creating a separate, new recipient list for your survey email, you can also divide your existing contact list into different segments. You can then send the survey only to selected recipient segments.

Plan newsletter series for survey

The survey is created, the recipient list prepared! Now all that’s missing is the design of the newsletter. Or rather, the newsletter series. Because it is worthwhile in any case to announce the planned survey in one of your previous newsletters and to share the most important survey results with your subscribers after the survey has been sent out.

The following structure of your newsletter series will ensure the highest possible response rate to your survey:

  • Announcement newsletter: Prepare your customers or prospects for the survey by announcing the planned survey in a previous newsletter. Attract your readers’ attention at this stage and motivate them to participate, e.g. with the help of a prize draw among all survey participants. Nothing motivates your subscribers to answer a few questions more than the prospect of winning a nice prize! To prepare your prospects for the survey, you don’t necessarily have to create a separate announcement newsletter. Often it is enough to mention in a previous newsletter at a suitable place that you will soon be conducting a survey and with what great prize you will reward participation.
  • Survey newsletter with a link to survey: In the mailing where you share the link to the online survey, the focus should be entirely on your survey. Therefore, avoid combining the survey with other content. Otherwise, you run the risk of that content-stealing the show from your survey! How to include the survey link in the email and how it should be structured more on that later.
  • Reminder newsletter (“Reminder”): With Mailchimp’s professional newsletter software, your mailings are automatically evaluated after they have been sent. In the newsletter statistics, you can see, among other things, which subscribers did not click on a link in your survey mail. To these recipients, you can send a so-called follow-up mailing with just one click and ask them again to participate in your survey.
  • Thank you newsletter with a summary of the most important results: Of course, the customers, prospects, or employees who participated in your survey are especially eager to learn what the survey ultimately revealed. Even though you may not be able or allowed to share all the results in detail: Summarize at least some findings, e.g. the most important or surprising ones, for your subscribers in a final newsletter. Also, take the opportunity here to thank the participants for their help!

Embed survey in the email

To embed the survey link you previously copied into your newsletter after completing your survey, there are far prettier ways than simply copying the link into the newsletter text as a text link.

The most effective way to encourage as many subscribers as possible to participate in the survey is to link the central call-to-action button in the newsletter to your online survey. With Mailchimp as your newsletter software, you can simply drag and drop a button element into your mailing and add the survey link. Your recipients will then be taken directly to your survey by clicking on the CTA!

You can also embed the survey in your newsletter by, for example, inserting a screenshot of the first question as an image and providing this with a link to the complete survey.

In addition to the link via the CTA button or via an image, an embedded QR code is also an eye-catcher when opening the email! When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code directs readers to the online survey. QR codes always have a certain fun factor, which can additionally motivate your prospects and customers to scan the code with their smartphone and thus get to the survey.

How is a survey newsletter structured?

With a survey, a well-thought-out newsletter structure is especially vital, as you only have a few seconds to grab your readers’ attention after they open the survey email and successfully convey your message.

Your survey newsletter should ideally contain the following elements:

  • A subject line that makes the intention of your newsletter clear: Tell your subscribers that you would like to ask them a few questions with a crisply worded, personalized subject and preheader. For example, subjects such as “What are you missing, Max?”, “What do you think of our newsletter, Eva?” or “Paul, rate your purchase!” are suitable.
  • A modern design: no one likes to read a white email that consists only of text and a link to the survey. Therefore, give your mailing a modern, colorful touch without overloading the mailing too much. With our newsletter design tips, you’ll get it right!
  • An attractive header image: Nothing is better for arousing your customers’ interest than an attractive header image that immediately catches their eye when they open the e-mail. For your survey newsletter, it’s a good idea to choose an image or motif that in some way already hints at the topic — the survey.
  • A personal greeting: With a personalized e-mail address you strengthen the feeling of a prospective customer that exactly his or her feedback is particularly important for your company.
  • A compelling introduction: In your survey newsletter, keep the text as short as possible to focus on the call-to-action button that directs to the survey. Therefore, take your chance to encourage your recipients to take the survey in a short introduction. Describe why you are conducting a survey and how the feedback will help you develop your business or products. Also, mention the approximate survey duration to reassure your readers that the survey will only take a few minutes of their valuable time.
    An irresistible incentive: With a so-called incentive such as a contest, voucher, or raffle, you can additionally motivate your prospects to answer your questions!
  • A cleverly placed call-to-action button: The button that directs your recipients to the online survey should stand out in color from the rest of the email. It is also important to place it “above the fold” (i.e. in the upper part of the email) in order to direct the reader’s gaze and their mouse towards the button as soon as they open the email. Suitable captions include “Enter now” or “Enter the competition”.

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