How to Use Surveys to Increase Your Click-Through Rate

Updated: August 6, 2020

Click-through rates (CTRs) are one of the metrics that nearly every e-mail marketer obsesses over. Every time a newsletter or marketing e-mail is sent out, marketers stare at their statistics page, waiting for that rate to inch up. And, unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, sometimes it goes down, week after week after week. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing your hard work go completely ignored. Luckily, there is something you can do to figure out why no one is reading your e-mails – ask your subscribers. A survey is an excellent way to poll the very people you are targeting to figure out why, exactly, so few of the people on your subscriber list are converting to click-throughs. However, you do have to keep a few things in mind when writing up your survey.

Keep it Simple

And we mean simple – at most you want to aim for one or two questions. This can seem a bit daunting as you’re essentially forced to compact all of your concerns and worries regarding your e-mail marketing campaign into a few short sentences, but if you want people to take the survey, you can’t expect them to wade through question after question after question. Try and summarize your biggest problem in question form. For example, you could ask ‘What is one thing you’d like to see us do differently in these e-mails?’ Now you could get straight to the point and just ask ‘Why aren’t you clicking on the links in our e-mails?,’ but you also need to consider what type of options you are going give for answers, and a question like that is too open ended. You should try to avoid using an outside survey service as well – keep it all in the e-mail so they don’t have to click over to another site. The simpler it is, the likelier your subscribers will actually answer.

Keep it Honest

Don’t try to hide your intentions behind a wall of obscurity or oddly worded answer choices. If you want your subscribers to be honest in their answers, you need to be honest with the choices you give them. It can be hard to admit that the content you are e-mail isn’t very interesting, but you do need to give them that answer option. Think of some of the e-mails or newsletters that you get regularly but don’t interact with. Are they just being sent too often? Are they hard to navigate? Do you just care about the company enough to read an entire newsletter? These are the types of reasons why your CTR might be so low, so take a good, hard, honest look at your own campaign, and then write out your survey.

Keep it in Mind

Hopefully, by the end of the survey period, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to change. But old habits die hard, and while you could think you’re making a positive change to your campaign, you might actually be falling into the same rut that led to the decrease in your CTR in the first place. If you kept the survey simple, you’ll have an easily digestible page of results. Print them out, tape them to your desk, and read over them every time you begin to write out an e-mail for your subscribers. Simplicity could lead to a situation where you have to rely on trial and error – if most of your subscribers say you send too many messages, for example, you are going to have to figure out where the sweet spot is in terms of numbers. But if you remember to consult with your survey results consistently, you can rest assured that you are answering any problems your subscribers had with your marketing e-mails.

You may not be able to please everybody, but a survey will give you a good idea about why your different subscribers haven’t interacting with your e-mails. Even if only 4% of your subscribers answer, and you can only really incorporate the suggestions of half of them, you could still be looking at an increase of 2% to your CTR. Depending on your industry and the size of your subscriber list, 2% can be a substantial boost to your CTR. So be open about your issues with your subscribers, and just ask why – that simple gesture could be the beginning of a new era in your e-mail marketing campaign.

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