Adam T. Sutton

Try Simple Survey on Subscribers to Revive Tired List

May 13th, 2008

Day two at the MarketingSherpa Selling Online Subscriptions Summit 2008 in New York City was highlighted by a session on using surveys to kickstart subscription offers. Aaric Eisenstein, Senior Vice President of Publishing, Stratfor, a subscription geopolitical intelligence service, led the session.

Eisenstein and his team recently found themselves in a dubious position. Their email list was tired and unresponsive to offers, the quality of their product was going down, the economy was starting to tank and their competition from blogs was booming.

They needed to kickstart their marketing. So, they started with a survey to find out why their free email newsletter subscribers were not becoming paid members. His experience showed that you do not need an elaborate survey.

The survey was titled “Stratfor Survey – Six Quick Questions” and asked.

1. How long have you been receiving free Stratfor emails?

2. How did you first find out about Stratfor?

3. Why did you sign up for the Stratfor free email list?

4. Please tell us what areas (i.e.: geopolitical regions) interest you.

5. If we were to offer special inducements to join Stratfor, what would most appeal to you?

6. What’s kept you from joining Stratfor as a paying member?

The survey got an 11% response rate with 20% of the responders writing in answers. Eisenstein and his team discovered their audience:

o Had been reading for two to three years

o Were pressed for time

o Wanted high quality, bias-free content

o Were price-sensitive

Eisentstein says the survey led to decisions that boosted sales 13 times for one month and established a new, higher revenue baseline at Stratfor. Some tips he has for your surveys:

o Shorter surveys are better

o The audience wants to tell you. Don’t fear them.

o LISTEN to them. Do what they tell you.

o Don’t ask a question you can’t live up to, such as “Would you like 3D interactive maps?” when you have no capability to deliver.

So, deliver a wakeup call to your list if it’s getting tired: Hit them with a survey.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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