Want more info about your users? Here’s how to ask for it

Personalized campaigns give the customer a different feeling and strengthen the bond between them and your brand.

For that you need their cooperation – so how can we get our users to give us information?

Whether your email marketing is meant to sell something or to keep in touch with the customers and strengthen the brand, segmentation is one of the most useful tools in your toolbox.  No matter what you do, your campaigns have to provide the users with relevant and valuable content. But while many email marketers try to learn about their users through the statistics derived from their actions, some of them neglect an option that’s no less simple and powerful – to get the data directly from the users!

sign up form

One of the reasons for this is being understandably hesitant to bother the users and to arouse their suspicion.  Many people might see the request for information as an unnecessary intrusion into their privacy.  So how do you do it properly?

Know where to ask

The two most worthwhile places to ask the users for information are the sign-up form and the notification confirming registration for the campaign.  These are the places with the highest visibility – all the users who signed up for the campaign obviously saw the sign-up form, and sign-up confirmation notifications have an especially high open rate.  Likewise, the moment that a user signs up for the campaign is also the stage at which she begins to take an interest in the brand, a relatively convenient stage for posing questions.

That being said, you have to be careful not to include too many questions in the sign-up form itself so as not to chase users away.  Make sure that only the most essential questions are mandatory (like email address, for example) and include the other questions as optional questions. If you can manage it, it’s a good idea for the optional questions that are meant for segmentation to be on a separate page that the users reach only after they’ve filled in the necessary details.

Know how to ask

The first question the users will ask themselves the minute you ask them for information is “What do I gain from this?”  Faced with the users’ growing anxiety regarding their privacy, you have to be very clear about the way in which you’ll use the information – tell them what they’ll gain by supplying the information you’ve asked for and how you’ll use the information in a way that will improve the service you give them.

Know what to ask

No matter how sophisticated you are, if you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t gain anything. The most important thing is to ask only for information you intend to use, and it’s best if the users see how they’ve benefitted by supplying it.  If you’re not intending to send personalized campaigns according to the users’ age, what reason do you have to ask their age?  If you’re not going to send separate emails to men and women, why would you ask for the contact’s gender?  Don’t ask for information that will only show up in your power point presentation at the end of the day, ask them for relevant information and use it.  Here are some details you can ask for:

Date of birth: A classic question, and you can use the answer to send special offers and discounts on the users’ birthdays

Preferred content:  Do the users want to receive more special offers or would they prefer detailed articles? And if they prefer articles, what topics would they like to read about?

Email frequency: Try to find out your users’ preferred email frequency, and that way you may be able to increase the number of campaigns you send without risking a rise in your unsubscribe rate.

There are, of course, many more questions.  It all depends on the type of campaigns you send out and how much effort you’re prepared to invest. Either way, if you’re not yet ready to create personalized campaigns, you should ask yourself if there’s really a need to ask the users for unnecessary information.  If you’re sending the same campaign to everyone, a few little questions can help you start the personalization of the campaign.

Learn how to build a sign-up form

A few small steps in the right direction can significantly improve the achievements of your email marketing, and to lead you towards personalization that’s more comprehensive and more relevant to the users.

More in ActiveTrail’s blog:How smart segmentation can help you become an effective email marketer (and boost sales)