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Do Your Members Love or Hate Your Emails? (4 Tips for Getting Their Feedback)

Associations, Communications Strategy // Your audience is the key to great email performance, but it can be hard to know whether your audience likes reading your emails. Here's how to get feedback.

Shayna McGroggan
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We all know our audience is the key to great email performance, but it can be hard to know whether your audience likes reading your emails. Sometimes, it can feel like the only feedback we get is the dreaded unsubscribe button.

But with marketing automation, getting feedback can be easy. There’s plenty of evidence and ways to track performance with marketing automation. The data’s all there, and it’s easier to find than you think.

The Big Picture: Why You Should Ask for Feedback

Getting feedback on your automated campaign emails isn’t so you can have nice vanity metrics. It’s integral not only to your campaign performance, but to your entire organization’s business objectives. If members feel engaged in both the organization and their own experiences with your organization, then everyone benefits.

You’re putting your members in control of their experience.

In today’s era of Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon, people expect to have a personalized experience. Successful, customer-focused organizations make their audience feel like they’re in the driver’s seat by giving them the ability to decide what they want watch, consume, or see. When you give them the ability to effectively choose what they want to see, members are able to personalize the content they see themselves.

You’re making your automated campaigns more effective.

You don’t want your email campaigns to feel like you’re stuffing flyers in someone’s mailbox. You want to send them relevant, personalized content that will send them further down the path to increased engagement, membership renewal, event registration, etc.

In an automated campaign, every action a subscriber takes is a data point. The more data you have, the more you can act on, and the more you understand what members want to receive from you.

You’re starting a conversation with your members.

You want your emails to be a conversation with your members, not just you talking at them. When you ask for their feedback, a subtle message is sent that you care about what they think. You’re giving them a little piece of ownership in your organization and asking them to shape it.

Now that we know why we want feedback, let’s talk about how we get it.

1. Feature contact info in your email.

This may be basic, but you’d be surprised what a personal touch like putting a special ask plus email address in your emails can do. Hopefully, you’re already doing this because you are anti-spam compliant, but if you’re not, it’s a simple, cheap way to put some feelers out there. You can also try featuring the email address more prominently, rather than only in the footer.

Example of newsletter feedback

Bon Appetit put a casual, simple request paired with a real email address into their newsletters. Members can easily reply with a few thoughts. You can bet they’re hearing back!

Tip: If you don’t have this already, add a place for members to share feedback on your unsubscribe option about why they’ve unsubscribed. That way, you can try to triage the problem if it’s something easily fixable.

2. Send a user-feedback survey.

Survey results ARE helpful in that they’re generalizable and can be applied across the board, so you improve the overall member experience. And they’re pretty common in our day-to-day.

You’ll want to make your survey short, specific, and require as little personal information as possible.

Surveys won’t show you how to personalize a specific member’s experience, but they will help you understand your audience as a whole.

3. Build in an upvote/downvote mechanism.

One of our favorite ways to ask for feedback in automated campaigns is a simple design feature. You’ve probably received emails where they have a thumbs up or thumbs down, or maybe a happy-neutral-sad emoji scale, asking you to let them know what you thought.

example of newsletter feedback 2


HubSpot includes this emoji scale at the bottom of their newsletters. Subscribers can give them feedback with just one click (in a fun, trendy way)! 

When you create something like this, link the buttons to a simple thank-you landing page.

This is one of the best, most direct ways to personalize this specific member’s experience. The member doesn’t have to exit your email, they don’t have to take a few minutes to think about what they want to share in their feedback, they just click, and they’re done. You’re able to personalize the future content they see based on this reaction.

4. Create nurture campaigns

This method builds on our previous tips. When you get survey takers, draw on their willingness to engage with you. Create a nurture campaign using marketing automation for any engaged members that have taken your survey or have up- or down-voted your content. Continue to send small feedback in this campaign.

Additionally, this engaged segment of your audience are the people who may be willing to speak with you on the phone. Again, this method is a bigger ask and takes more time from both parties, but it can provide insightful feedback.

It’s in your members best interest to tell you straight up what they want to read, rather than making educated guesses. The more you can get feedback, the better your campaigns will be, and the more engaged your members will be.

The Takeaway

It’s in your members’ best interests to tell you straight up what they want to read, rather than making educated guesses. The more you can get feedback, the better your campaigns will be, and the more engaged your members will be. And with marketing automation, it can be easy.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Shayna McGroggan

Marketing Automation Manager

Shayna is a former Marketing Automation Manager at Higher Logic. In her role, she provided automation strategy for clients, while developing campaigns and assisting with persona development. She delivered quality coaching in marketing automation strategy to a growing list of at least 7 individual organizations, acting as a subject matter expert by providing guidance on the creative design of client emails/landing pages and the integration of email, web tracking, community, and CRM data for campaigns.

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