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How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

The How-to and Benefits of Using Surveys

Want to learn the nitty-gritty details of what your readers truly think?

If you’re invested in growing your audience and building your brand, you definitely want to know what your subscribers think of your content. But how do you find out?

It’s easier than you think – just incorporate feedback surveys in your email newsletters. That way, you can develop the content your audience wants to read. You’ll also gain valuable insights into the way they see and interact with your brand.

Surveying your readers is easy as well as useful. To help you ask questions, we’ve answered some common ones. Here’s how to use feedback surveys in your email newsletters — and why you should.

Why Should I Be Using Feedback Surveys in My Email Newsletters?

Like other businesses and publications, email newsletters are subject to the feedback economy: the process of leveraging customer insights and data to gain a competitive edge.

Surveys gain you valuable information. The second most common reason that people unsubscribe from newsletters is that they don’t find the content relevant. Find out what your readers do want to see — and how often they want to see it. You can track the effectiveness of your newsletter and identify emerging opportunities.

People also appreciate feeling heard. Gathering information from your subscribers provides them an opportunity to share opinions and suggestions.

How Do You Collect Feedback Through Email?

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

Let’s be honest. Soliciting reader feedback is just a more detailed version of the grade-school note: Do you like me? Check yes or no.

You want helpful information about reader interests and impressions that you can incorporate into your content strategy. To that end:

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience
  • Craft a clear and concise email

  • Keep questions specific

  • Tell them how you’ll use their feedback

  • Remind them that all responses are anonymous

These measures assure readers that you value both their time and their input. No one enjoys being assigned pointless busy work.

How Do I Create a Feedback Survey?

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

What do you most need to know? Ask those questions — and not much else. Have a clearly defined objective, and share it with your readers. You’re more likely to find success with a short and focused survey than a long, rambling one. Pros recommend between five and ten survey questions — and even fewer if those questions require long responses.

Frame most of your questions as multiple-choice. Readers are more likely to click their way through a questionnaire that doesn’t require them to write a bunch of individual answers. Multiple-choice questions are also easier to aggregate across a large readership. You can include short-answer questions, but limit them to one or two at the end.

A few other principles of survey design to keep in mind:

  • Use simple, clear language.

  • Avoid leading questions and answer options.

  • Don’t use absolutes such as “always” or “all.”

  • Evaluate interest and other abstracts along a scale, rather than asking yes/no questions.

  • Ask one thing per question — don’t try to combine them.

Once you’ve created your survey, pilot-test it. Have friends or an initial set of readers take the survey before distributing it to your audience.

How Do You Ask For Feedback in a Survey Email?

Don’t be shy. If readers are opening up your email, then they’re invested in your content.

Tell them what you want to know and why you want to know it. Be respectful but not abject. Playful questions and language can help engage readers but don’t wander too far from a clearly defined objective.

Incentives also work. Reward readers for taking the time to offer their opinions. Exclusive content is always a good option for creators. Or submit respondents into a raffle for an online gift card.

How Do I Embed a Survey in an Email Newsletter?

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

You have two options. The first is to use a good third-party survey tool to create and launch the survey. Once you’ve created it, you can generate the HTML code for the survey and copy it into the body of your email. Send a test email to make sure that the survey looks good and is formatted correctly.

beehiiv users on the Grow plan can embed surveys and polls even more easily. Insert one-click polls directly in the newsletter editor. beehiiv saves polls for reuse and collects responses. You can view poll data on the platform.

How Do I Attach a Survey to an Email Link?

If your survey is long, you might prefer to attach the survey to an email link. Then, generate the URL for the survey — usually available as a “Send” or “Share” option in the application — and include it in the body of your email as a clickable link.

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

You can also include a short description and instructions on how to access it. Again, you should test it out to confirm that everything works and that respondents can easily navigate the survey.

What Should I Do With My Survey Results?

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

Examine them. Focus on emerging patterns, but take care to contextualize them appropriately. Depending on your sample makeup and size, the results may not be representative of your full or potential audience.

Then, identify actionable steps you can take to better meet the needs of your readership. Show readers that they’ve been heard, and give them the content they want!

Construct your surveys so that they provide you with clear direction. For example, Matt Gray of The Soulful Entrepreneur consistently polls his audience to get their input on potential topics. He cites this tactic as one contributing to his rapid growth. His polls tell him what to write next and tell his audience what’s coming next, advertising coming attractions.

What Is One Disadvantage of Sending a Survey via Email?

Having gone full-steam into the digital age, it's easy to forget that not everyone keeps their electronic correspondence in tip-top shape. There’s always the potential for users to accidentally or intentionally delete your message. Then again, that’s true of all email communication.

Perhaps the most important point is to be mindful of the amount of content you send subscribers. Surveys add to the already overwhelming amount of content users have in their inboxes. 319.6 billion emails are sent every day. Try to keep your slice of that number proportionate to your audience size and investment.

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

So What Else Do You Want To Know?

How To Get Feedback From Your Newsletter Audience

beehiiv’s best-in-class newsletter platform includes tools for data collection and analysis. These give you a lot of useful information.

But there are some things that only your readers can tell you. Incorporating feedback surveys into your email newsletters is a great way to measure readers’ reactions and learn how you can better tailor content to engage your audience.

Develop your first poll or survey now. If you’re not sure where to start, try asking your readers to rate their interest in your newsletter’s subtopics or pieces of content.

Creators do a lot of talking and writing. It’s time to listen.

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