We’ve all heard the saying: it costs a lot more to get a new customer than to keep a customer you already have. Sometimes keeping your customers happy can be as simple as sending them a PLR (private label rights) report that you picked up for $10.
Another way to keep your customers happy is to show that you’re interested in them – by asking them what they need.
How to Ask Your Email Subscribers What They Want
Asking your customers what they need can be as simple as sending out an email with the subject line “could you hit REPLY Moe?”, and asking if you’ve been serving them well (and if not, what they think you should do differently).
Some time ago I received an email from Sharon Livingston with that exact subject line, and it really piqued my curiosity. When I opened the email, there was a simple request to provide feedback on her e-course.
Here’s a sample of the text from Sharon’s email:
“If you’ve been reading these, could I ask you for a quick favor?
Just hit REPLY to let me know what you think? Is the material I’m
covering helpful to you? How yes, and how no?
Did it help you to do X, if THAT was your goal?
Has it helped you stop thinking about…all the time?
As much detail as you feel comfortable sharing would be really appreciated.
Last, if you’re happy with what I’ve provided, might you let me quote you for promotional purposes? (If so, please leave your full name and city so people will know you’re a real person)
OH… one more thing, and it’s important. What else would you you’d like me to cover on the blog and in the podcast please?
Can’t wait to hear back… again, just HIT REPLY and type until your heart is content. (And if you’d rather talk to me directly, I’m taking calls this week at ___-___-____)
All my best,
I recently implemented this type of email in an autoresponder series (right after the end of an e-course), and it works like magic. Every day I’m getting feedback from my subscribers on exactly what they like about my e-course, and what they think is missing. I highly recommend you give it a try on any lists you have (big or small).
Two Unusual Ways to Do Niche Research Through Email
There’s a lot more you can do with email than simply adding a message to your autoresponder series. Here are three unique ways to do niche research through your list. I use all three, and have been able to dig out nuggets of insight from all three:
(1) Put a Brief Survey on Your Thank-You Pages
When a person signs up for your list, you should be directing them to a page where you thank them for signing up, and give them instructions for what to do next. This is also a great time to ask them what problems they’re been struggling with, but haven’t been able to solve.
By asking them this question right at the moment that they’re signing up for your list, you’re “striking while the iron is hot”. Right now they’re excited about the free thing you’re going to give them, which makes it a great time to ask them to reciprocate by answering a quick survey.
For example, if you offer a free e-course on how to get bed bugs out of your furniture, you might include two simple questions on your thank-you page:
“What’s your most important question about bed bugs?”
“What’s your most important question about getting rid of bed bugs?”
And you might also want to ask:
“How difficult has it been to find the answer to this question?” (Very difficult, Somewhat difficult, Not at all difficult)
(2) Survey UnSubscribers
If you use aWeber (an excellent autoresponder service), you might have noticed that when people unsubscribe from your list, they’re given the option to leave comments in a text box.
Here’s the box that subscribers see after they’ve unsubscribed from your list:
While some people won’t bother to leave a comment, and the odd person will leave an abusive remark, a small proportion of people will leave feedback that you can actually use to improve your email marketing.
Below I’ve listed some of the comments I’ve received from one list. The list consists of people who signed up for a free 7-day e-course in a health niche:
“Not interested in receiving these emails”
“Don’t want the emails”
“I haven’t received treatment”
“Thanks for all the info. Unfurtunately I don’t read. Just let me know what the cost
for the treatment or drugs and you can charge it on my credit card.”
What concrete changes could I make to my email marketing, based on these comments? Here are a couple of ideas:
- Reduce the frequency of emails. One person said “Too much”, which suggests they’re getting overwhelmed with the number of emails I’m sending. If you see that kind of message coming up often, you should consider reducing the frequency of your autoresponder messages.
- Make an offer earlier in my autoresponder series. The last comment on that list suggests that some people don’t have the time or patience for a 7-day e-course. They just want the solution NOW, and they’re willing to pay for it.
If I received this kind of feedback a lot in my unsubscribe comments, I would change my autoresponder series so it makes more hard sells early in the series.
There you have it – three niche tactics that you can implement today through your email list.
What unique tactics have you used to find out the needs of your list?