Email is a great way to do market research. It’s cheap, easy, and results are fast. If you have an email list, you already have a pre-screened sample of your target market. By simply signing up, those people have expressed interest in your products. However, you need to be careful not to spam people and don’t over solicit. Either of these will get you in the trash folder very quickly. Here are tips on how to use this valuable market research tool effectively.
One of the biggest advantages of email is that it makes responding to your survey easy. Everyone is busy these days and they are more likely to respond if you make it extremely simple to do so. Design your survey so all your subscribers need to do is hit ‘reply’ and the results of the survey get sent back to you. You can make it even easier by giving people simple check boxes to click. They don’t even need to enter any text. You can include an optional opinion form at the bottom if they want to leave comments.
The major downside of email surveys is that your respondents can hit the delete button and make the email disappear forever. There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of this happening. One is to make sure the ‘from’ line tells the recipient who you are and the ‘subject’ line explains what your email is about. Tell people why you want their input and how you’re going to use it to improve your products or services. Tell them also how long the survey will take. You can make your survey more fun and encourage participation by including images. This takes advantage of email’s unique capabilities and makes the survey more engaging for people than ordinary snail mail surveys.
To simplify and automate the process, take advantage of software programs. Programs like SurveyMonkey make market research through email easy. These tools automate everything for you, from designing your surveys to analyzing your results. They offer both templates and customizable features, where you tailor the questions accordingly.
Be sure to share the results of your survey with those people who complete it. People don’t like to be left hanging and they are interested in how others answered your questions. Was their opinion a majority or unique? You can share results through email or by publishing the results on your blog. Let people know at the time of taking the survey when and where they’ll be able to see the results. And don’t forget your manners. Thank them for their time.
When you use email effectively it can be a great market research tool. Be sure to follow the anti-spam rules, provide your audience an incentive, publish results and say thank you. You will have targeted marketing information at your finger tips!