Last month, we asked you to take our holiday survey and tell us a bit about your email marketing goals, habits and interests — especially as they relate to your holiday marketing plans. We were thrilled to receive so many thoughtful responses, and I'd like to share the results with you. Some of the answers really surprised us, and the experience highlights just how important it is to eliminate assumptions and ask your audience.
Take a look at how you answered below, and hear what we've got in store this season to assist you. Plus, find out a few tips for creating your own surveys and the winner of our survey prize!
1. Choose 3 things from the list below that you'd like to learn more about.
Since we asked you to pick three answers, we knew there'd be a healthy split among them. And we're already thinking of ways to provide quick tips and to make your holiday emails look as fresh and festive as possible. Take a look at Mary's five tips for retaining and attracting subscribers. Then, head on over to Emma's 2011 Holiday Design Spectacular, and check out the holiday templates we've designed for your seasonal invitations, promos and greetings.
2. What article types on the Emma blog are most beneficial to you? Choose all that apply.
We're glad to know that you continue to find value in our posts with email best practices and tips, and that you like our design showcases as much as we do. Throughout the holiday season, we'll provide even more, including this recent holiday design showcase.
3. Where do you most often read your emails?
There's lots of talk about designing emails for mobile these days, and with good reason — nearly 31% of mobile users in the U.S. access email on their phones. But, it's also important to remember that the vast majority of subscribers haven't booted email activity on their computers in favor of their phones. If we're ever in a pickle where we must decide between how an email looks on a desktop computer versus a mobile device, we can make a case for designing for our desktop readers.
4. How many email inboxes do you manage? (Choose closest answer.)
This response surprised us more than any other. Boy, you guys are busy! Three inboxes is a lot to manage, and 14% of you manage even more than that. Your responses encourage us to keep our Emma Roundups packed with solid offerings each month — we want to make sure ours is an email worth opening.
5. How many emails do you send out from Emma on a monthly basis?
These results are a fairly close match to the sending behaviors of our entire customer base; in fact, more than 60% of our customers send 5,000 emails or less each month. In an industry where it's easy to get hung up on list size, remember that it's the quality of your list, not its size, that matters.
6. Which social network do you use most frequently?
Another surprising answer. We expected Facebook to lead the pack, but we didn't expect it to lead by such an overwhelming margin. Perhaps it's a false consensus bias of mine: I use Twitter so frequently that I wrongly assumed that more of you did, too. This becomes a question that could launch a separate survey. We'd love to know more about why you use Facebook most frequently, if you manage a personal or business account and, if you use multiple social networks, how you differentiate your usage. And do say hi to Emma on Facebook, too!
7. What sites, blogs and resources do you use to improve your email marketing?
We had two motives when asking this question: to find out which sites you find most useful and to add some new sites to our everyday reads. We received too many great answers to list them all, but here are some of the sites that came up again and again (go ahead, add 'em to your Google Reader): Mashable, HubSpot, Email Experience Council, iMedia Connection, MarketingProfs, Marketo, Inc., Fast Company, ClickZ, CMO, Which Test Won, American Marketing Association, Sender Score, Open Forum, Marketing Sherpa, Seth Godin's blog and eMarketer.
8. Fill in the blank. When it comes to my holiday emails this year, I'm most concerned about ______.
Based on your response to this question, we're excited to be planning some style-specific articles for your holiday email campaigns. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, check out these articles:
- 5 tips for better-looking campaigns
- Stylishly formatted campaigns, parts one and two
- How can I make my plaintext pretty?
- Building a slice and dice campaign
9. Say that Santa has a magical elf who only answers North Pole mail dealing with email marketing questions. What would you ask him?
This was a fun one! We received so many excellent questions — some serious, some a bit silly — and we'll be featuring the most common in a series of Q&A posts this season.
Want to send a survey to your customers? Here are five tips:
- Provide some intro text to explain the purpose of the survey, how long it'll take to complete and what respondents should expect to get out of it. If you neglect to provide this information, why should anyone respond? You've got to know your purpose first, then design and promote the survey.
- Start with a few fun, engaging questions. This helps to hook respondents and set momentum right off the bat.
- Design questions that get at what you really want to know. When I first designed our survey, question #6 asked, "Which social network is your favorite?" A colleague pointed out that it'd be a difficult question for respondents to answer — Favorite right now? Favorite of all time? A network I like the most but maybe don't use a lot? — and that it wouldn't provide information we'd be able to draw reliable conclusions from. So, instead, I changed the question to "Which social network do you use most frequently?" This more clearly gets at what I want to know — where folks spend most of their time.
- Save demographic questions for the end — and make them optional. Putting your demographic questions at the beginning is boring at best and alienating at worst. Leave them for the end, and give folks the freedom to answer some or none of them.
- Keep it short. Appreciate that your customers are busy, and they're probably not inclined to take a survey that requires more than five minutes of their time. You can still collect very valuable information in 10 questions or less. Giving yourself a limit also forces you to cut out the fluff and make each question matter.
Get into the holiday spirit. Request a Readymade design from Emma's design team.