Blog Entry

4 Ways to Get Fresh Insights from Your Email List

The best way to improve your campaign performance is by understanding what your audience actually needs and wants. But getting responses from your customers can be challenging, especially if survey tools aren’t embedded in regular customer interactions. Here are four low-friction ways to get ongoing insights from your email list and subscribers.

1. Always ask for feedback

One of the simplest ways to gather consumer insight is to ask for it in every email campaign you send (and collect it properly). Whether it’s transactional or promotional, include a quick way for your email list subscribers to tell you what they think.

This could be a simple call to action (CTA) at the bottom of every email that says, “What did you think of this email? Let us know!” To make it fun, collect responses using a lightweight rating system like the one we use for our monthly Litmus newsletter.

Litmus Newsletter Email Feedback


















A lightweight rating system enables quick feedback.

Giving subscribers a fast way to show their appreciation (or dissatisfaction) is a great way to gauge overall email campaign effectiveness. It’s essential to include these feedback mechanisms in every email so that subscribers get used to seeing and using them.

Regardless of how you ask for customers’ opinions, make sure that you’re actually collecting this information and responding with a personal touch. That’s why it’s so important to stop using “” addresses for campaigns.

Make it clear that someone is reading their replies and acknowledge that you’ve received their feedback. Good or bad, all of this information is useful. Plus, you can use those small interactions to start larger conversations that could shape future campaigns.

2. Make feedback the star

Short, persistent surveys included in newsletters and as popups after online purchases can be effective, but can also be overlooked amid everything else on web pages or in apps.

Email, however, is the perfect medium to make getting feedback the star. We recently did this to help improve our weekly digest email, Litmus Weekly. As the lead feature in the email, we asked subscribers a simple question: “Yay or nay?” Subscribers were directed to a brief survey that asked questions like:

  • How often do you read our weekly digest email?
  • What kind of content do you want to see in the future?
  • What other awesome digest emails do you read?
  • And what specific days of the week do you prefer to read Litmus Weekly?

We used direct subscriber responses instead of only making assumptions based on email open and click-through rates to inform our Litmus Weekly testing and content strategy moving forward.

Litmus Weekly Email Feedback

























Our Litmus Weekly feedback request.


3. Simplify post-purchase surveys

Most lifecycle programs contain post-purchase survey emails. Make it even easier for customers to engage by including a response form directly in your confirmation emails. The Indiana Pacers do a good job of this. They include an embedded feedback form directly in post-game emails to ticket holders, which provides the perfect opportunity to see how satisfied they were with the experience while it’s still fresh in people’s minds.

Although interactive forms in emails don’t work universally, a growing number of email clients support this technology. And, while coding interactive emails can be new to email marketers, it’s relatively straightforward. Our Ultimate Guide to Interactive Forms in Email provides steps to code dedicated, interactive feedback emails. It also addresses basic support issues and outlines how to handle fallbacks for email clients that don’t support interactive forms.

4. Collect feedback during unsubscribes

Although it’s disappointing to see subscribers leave, it’s important to understand why. Most brands include a confirmation page or email after someone hits “unsubscribe”—but a lot miss the opportunity to use that real estate to gather insight.

Including multiple choice questions as to why someone unsubscribed can be helpful, especially when your reasons are clear, honest, and thoughtful. And including freeform text fields can yield more useful information. Be direct when asking folks why they unsubscribed, and actually review those responses regularly to improve future campaigns.

And even if people aren’t opting out, you can use preference centers to gather critical consumer data when they’re opting down (or up). Instead of just listing optional email lists or cadences on your preference page, include a feedback CTA or lightweight form to gather responses just like you (hopefully!) do in your email campaigns. (Read more about making your unsubscribe survey more actionable in our recent blog post.)

Improve your campaigns based on real conversations

The goal of any subscriber feedback program is to improve your ongoing campaigns and marketing efforts. Website tracking, A/B testing, and the like all allow you to gather data indirectly. But using email as a feedback tool enables you to get reliable data directly from the source: your subscribers. By listening and responding to subscriber feedback, you can start valuable conversations that have the potential to improve your campaigns and strengthen your customer relationships more than you ever realized.


Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, or both, we have more resources for you.

Download the Personalized Marketing for B2B Marketers ebook here.

Download the Personalized Marketing for B2C Marketers ebook here.

Or, to find out more about the tools needed to succeed as a digital marketer, check out Oracle Marketing.