Supercharge your email marketing with online surveys

It's not just who you know – it's what you know about them.

Online surveys allow you to capture important customer data, through forms and landing pages. Things like preference centers, pricing request forms, content download forms, etc. can all make a big difference to your business.

Find out who your ‘customers’ are, what they look like, and how they make their buying decisions. Then you can easily tailor your products, service, sales methods, and marketing messages to hit home every time.

Online surveys make sense

Surveys and landing pages are both an efficient and cost effective way of collecting customer data.

Forms in particular enable you to engage with a large percentage of your database at low cost.

What are the benefits? 

Online surveys can be made quick and easy for your recipients to complete, encouraging mass response.

Survey tools – such as dotdigital’s pages and forms – allow the data you capture to be automatically matched and appended to your existing database records.

Online surveys

Key considerations

Customer touch points

Your first step is to map key touch points where your customers come into contact with your organisation online. These include, your transactional and marketing emails, and website visits including browsing and purchasing, plus log-in pages, blogs, and other customer forums. And don’t forget other channels like SMS and live chat, too.

Each of these touch points is a potential opportunity for you to invite your customers and prospects to take part in your online survey. That may be an email sign-up, preference center, or demo request.

Top Tip – If necessary, create new, key touch points for collecting data.

For example, set up an auto-response ‘thank you’ email following sign-up to your newsletter or registration, and include a link to your survey.

Maximize your response rates

It can be important to incentivize respondents to complete your survey.

Incentives will ensure you getter a higher response rate and a more meaningful sample.

These can range from business incentives to personal incentives, and from competition entry to prize draw, through to discount vouchers, free gifts, or special privileges. However, this can be expensive, and sometimes just the offer of sharing your results with participants can be incentive enough.

It all depends on the online survey and your requirements. You might, for example, offer 10% off a customer’s first purchase in exchange for their email address. Or, the mere promise of sending more relevant communications in future might well be enough for subscribers to complete your preference center.

People like to know that their opinion matters.

Telling your recipients how their feedback will influence, for example, the products or services you offer will help to increase your response rates.

Test which incentives work best with your audience (or ask them in a test survey!)

Top tip – if you are running a prize draw, be sure to stay on the right side of sales promotion law.

If in doubt, make sure you state that there is ‘no purchase necessary’ and link to a set of prize draw T&Cs.

Full Survey, mini surveys, and polls

Collecting customer data online doesn’t have to mean creating and distributing a multiple question survey.

You may find that your audience responds better to mini surveys of just two or three questions. They might even prefer a series single question surveys or polls, asked over a period of time, included for example in your monthly newsletter.

What’s more, with survey branching you can curate more relevant questions for respondents depending on how they answer – all within the same form.

Online surveys

Test which approach works best for your audience.

Online surveys: What do you want to know?

Generally for business customers, you should be asking about:

  • the size of their businesses
  • which sectors they’re in
  • who makes the decision to buy your product or service

It might also be an idea to ask them about the kinds of business challenges they’re facing, so you know how to tailor your offering to them.

If you’re targeting individual consumers, you should be capturing their:

  • gender
  • age
  • location
  • lifestyle
  • attitudes

And crucially, you’ll need to find out how they rate your products, your prices, your service, and your competitors.

To improve your email marketing metrics, your aim should be to collect customer data that is highly relevant to your business model and current objectives. What data will allow you to understand who, how, and why your customers purchase/engage in your sector?

It’s also an idea to ask for post-purchase feedback on the product and service, helping you improve your wider business offering in future.

Key areas to cover in your survey include:

  • Customer profile – what do they look like (these are the ‘demographics’*)
  • Attitudes and preferences – what do they like and dislike, what’s missing, what do they want more of
  • Behaviors – influencers (where to place your advertising)
  • Competitors – who are they and how do they rate them

Top tips for framing your questions

1. Keep your online survey focused – make sure it has a clear structure and is completable in less than 5 minutes, ideally

2. Use closed questions* to aid analysis and year-on-year trend comparison

3. Use open questions** sparingly, to collect deeper customer intelligence

4. Don’t ask what you do badly – better to ask recipients to rank attributes from 1-5 for satisfaction

5. In B2C surveys – ask for demographics at the end of the survey, to avoid scaring respondents off

6. Test your survey with a sample customer panel before you roll it out

Analyzing and taking action

  • Rule 1: Make sure you use a survey tool that can automatically append the data you collect online to your existing email contacts.
  • Rule 2: Use the data you have collected and your newly ‘enriched’ customer profiles to build answers to key questions that will help you achieve better metrics in your omnichannel marketing (encompassing sales too).

Look to find out:

  • Where your best-sell and upsell opportunities may lie – what do your best customers look like? Once you know this you can find and target lookalikes
  • What are the buttons to push for your different customer segments – know what makes them tick and you can personalize your emails and use dynamic content to send highly targeted messages and offers that drive up your response rates
  • Your best competitive stance is – what do your customers see that makes you different/preferable to your competitors
  • What your customers’ contact preferences are – how often do they want you to email them, with what content, and on what channels

Send them what they want, when they want it, how they want it – and your response rates will go up.

What’s next?

If you’re a dotdigital customer, check out our range of content guides to further refine your marketing strategy.

If you’re not a dotdigital customer, take a quick demo and get in touch with one of our representatives about how you could create awesome data capture forms with Engagement Cloud.


* Demographics for business contacts will include location, industry category, number of employees, turnover, job title, job function. Demographics for consumer contacts including location, gender, age, occupation, etc.

** A closed question will provide your contacts with a choice of answers from which they may choose one or multiple responses. Typically, closed questions in an online survey will feature radio buttons, drop downs, or tick boxes. An open question will invite your recipients to provide their own answer, using a free text field.

5 simple tips for a winning Black Friday campaign

With less than one week to go, grab some last-minute inspiration for your campaigns this Black Friday. You never know, you could be missing a trick or five!

So You’ve Sent Out An Online Survey… What To Do Next?

So, you’ve sent out an online survey and the results are in. The first thing you need to do is analyse the results and present them in a format that is easy to digest so that patterns…

Customers should be ready for at least a 100% more bot link checks than last year

Head of deliverability Tanya Plaza outlines how dotdigital is helping remedy the implications of bot clicks.

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site you agree to these cookies being set. To find out more see our cookies policy.