Marketers focused on growing their email lists know that it’s not enough to target a general customer persona and create a single, massive list based on that alone.

The reason: Now more than ever, subscribers want hyper-relevant emails that feel tailor-made.

Relevancy is the marketer’s secret weapon and the fastest path to revenue. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

DMA – Segmented Email Campaigns Drive Revenue

And most marketers have taken note. 76% of marketers say that basic segmentation is part of their email marketing strategy–meaning they break their email list down into smaller segments for more relevant messaging.

But aside from segmentation, there’s another way marketers are developing target personas to better understand their subscribers: Email surveys.

In this post, we’ll discuss the different types of email surveys you can use to fine-tune your target customer personas and learn about your audience as it grows.

Net Promoter Scores

Using a Net Promoter Score Survey, you can quickly and easily let your subscribers rate how likely they are to recommend your business or in this case, your email content, to a friend or colleague on a scale from 1 to 10.

Net Promoter Scores - Survey

If you’re not familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, it works like this: Respondents are grouped into three categories: “Promoters,” “Passives,” and “Detractors,” based on the score they gave you on the 1-10 scale. To calculate your total NPS, you’d subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

So how does this help you with target customer personas?

This high-level survey can act as a gauge for how well you’re providing valuable content to your ideal subscriber in an email context. If you see that your benchmark score begins to drop off, it may be an indicator that the overall quality of your email marketing efforts is beginning to decline, that it may not be as highly relevant to your audience anymore, or that there’s some other underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

In any case, the NPS survey can act as an early indicator of any red flags as well as high-level satisfaction for your target audience when it comes to your email content.

Subscriber satisfaction

Another area you can develop target customer personas using email surveys is around subscriber satisfaction. Think of these like a customer satisfaction survey, but for your email marketing efforts.

Leveraging this survey data, you can better define which areas of your email marketing need to improve as well as how your subscribers feel about your email marketing efforts (and whether or not you’re providing value.)

The North Face – Customer Satisfaction Email Survey

This means sending out regular email surveys that gauge how you’re doing with various aspects of your email marketing, such as:

• Subject matter relevance
• Value and interest of topics covered
• Send frequency

This would also be a great opportunity to ask your subscribers what they’d like to see more (or less) of. Maybe they want to see more information about deals and promotions, or they really love reading your latest blog posts. You’ll never know unless you ask. It’s a good idea to leave one or two open-ended survey questions and give your subscribers a chance to share their feedback, too.

Even though you’re likely attracting new subscribers from different sources, conducting subscriber satisfaction surveys on an ongoing basis will help you develop target customer personas so that as your list grows, you can always identify common themes and trends. These patterns will also be helpful from a more general marketing perspective for your business.

Example: This type of survey might indicate that your subscribers really enjoy when you share behind-the-scenes stories that make them feel closer to your brand (but maybe you were only doing this every once in awhile in the past.) Thanks to this survey insight, you can now better market to your target customer persona by providing more relevant, behind-the-scenes content like this in future emails.

Product insights

Another area you can use email surveys to fine-tune your target customer personas is in the realm of product insights.

By leveraging survey data on various aspects of your products, you can not only better market and position what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to, but you can also spot any common product flaws or customer complaints and resolve those issues before they become major issues.

Within your product surveys, consider asking questions about:

• Pricing feedback (to see if your customers feel your pricing is too high or too low)
• Value perception
• Ease of use/Ease of installation
• Comparison to similar products on the market
• General feedback

Nest – Product Email Surveys

As you gather feedback from product insight surveys, you’ll be able to get a more clear picture of who your typical email subscriber is, what they’re buying, and how they feel about your products. When you go to design and write copy for future email campaigns, you can put this survey data to work.

At the same time, you might spot some patterns: Maybe it’s in the language they use to describe your products (which you can then harness for your future marketing efforts), or maybe it’s the general feedback you get in a process that needs to be simplified.

The point is: The product data from this type of email survey will help you get a firm grasp on what your customers need you to know about the products you’re selling.

Wrap up

These three email surveys are just the beginning when it comes to developing target customer personas. You could also perfect your target personas with email surveys that focus on general customer experience data, support history, and much more.

Just remember that as your list grows, it’s important to continually gauge different aspects of your email marketing efforts to be sure that you’re delivering highly relevant, engaging emails.

Without the help of surveys that give your subscribers a voice, it’s difficult to know what’s working and what’s not–as well as who the true target persona is as your list grows and develops over time.

The bottom line: Incorporating these different types of surveys into your efforts means that you’re constantly learning about your audience and striving to better deliver the best email content you possibly can. Make this a priority, and your audience will take note.