November 11th, 2019

Learning how to re-engage customers with SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is the world's leading survey software empowering individuals and companies to turn their curiosity into action.


📋 TL;DR key takeaways from this episode:

1. For year-end emails, pull information on how a customer uses your platform with stats and info that serves your customer. If you don’t have enough information on a customer, ask questions. “We see you haven’t interacted with us this year. What do you need? What are you looking for with…?”

2. When celebrating a customer’s anniversary, customize email images, such as pulling in a customer’s profile photo. Make the images and copy clear so customers know you’re celebrating their anniversary of engaging with your brand.

3. Dive into customer stories and testimonials. This can help show how other people interact with your product or platform and how this can benefit customers who signed up but don’t currently engage with your services.

Matt Helbig: What's up, email geeks? Welcome back to another Feedback Friday. This week we have an amazing guest.

Steph Knapp: Hello! Hi Internet!

Matt Helbig: How's it going?

Steph Knapp: Good. How are you? 

Matt Helbig: Great. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Steph Knapp: My name is Stephanie. I'm sort of a content marketer by morning and then email hoarder / strategist / copywriter by afternoon. I like to collect and breakdown email series particularly SAAS onboarding emails, but I'm open to just about any mail. Take em all. 

Matt Helbig: We have some competition I think at Really Good Emails. Your guides are pretty in-depth. Don't you have an eBook out there that's like a 100 different emails or something?

Steph Knapp: Yeah, I think on my website, I believe I've done 16 full onboarding email breakdowns and then I took my top 10 and put them all together in one easy handy dandy guide that's like a 105 emails. I tallied it up. If you put them end-to-end all the waiting would be like more than a year of waiting for the emails to come in. So dedicated to the cause.

Matt Helbig: That's commitment for sure. We don't have time for that. I'm glad you did it so we didn't have to. So you sent over this Survey Monkey email to look at today. Why did this one stand out to you? 

Steph Knapp: This one stood out to me because I was expecting the email to be about me and my experience and my anniversary. And then once I got inside, it was more about SurveyMonkey and what SurveyMonkey has done and what other users have done.

I would say to be fair to SurveyMonkey, when I'm doing my onboarding email breakdowns, I'm sort of professionally ghosting these companies. So I've signed up and I haven't done anything on SurveyMonkey in the last year.

So I'm curious to know, there's no way I can know for sure. Maybe if I would have been doing something this year. Then this email would have been personalized to my experience and my survey results. I sent this over because maybe wasn't what I was expecting and maybe it's because I didn't do anything, brought up the question in my mind of: How do you approach personalized emails, or these sort of data-driven emails for users that you don't have as much information for and I don't have the answer to that, but it stuck out in my mind.

It's like I said, it just wasn't what I was expecting. 

Matt Helbig: Well going into this one, that GIF definitely is standing out. I keep wishing this flame would flicker on this candle, but I don't think it does.

Steph Knapp: It does look frozen in time. 

Matt Helbig: We just get the confetti. I guess to me with “Happy one-year SurveyMonkey Anniversary”, i’m expecting my personalized stats, but then you scroll down, you get some SurveyMonkey stats. This is more or less like their 2019 recap email. So I would almost rather have that be the headline. 

Steph Knapp: So it says “Happy one-year SurveyMonkey Anniversary” as I reread that, it could almost sound like it's SurveyMonkeys one-year anniversary. Like they've only been around a year. Which isn't the case. But you're right. This does look like a lot of year-end recap emails that I've seen. I think I would have been totally fine with that. 

I mean the information is interesting. I like what they've included, but maybe it should have been; “Here's what's happened in the past year” or “Here's how people are using SurveyMonkey”, not sort of bait and switching me thinking they were going to pat me on the back and say, “Wow look at all the great things you've done”, but really it's something different.

Matt Helbig: I do like this personalized image. I'm hoping that they have 10 different cupcake images to show all the different anniversaries you could have. I would be interested to see how many years back they really go. 

Steph Knapp: Yeah, I'll check back with you in a year and see if it there's a number two. It has a little SurveyMonkey logo on the cupcake. It would be super cool if they could put my profile picture there. I don't use SurveyMonkey much, but could they swap out that little image?

Matt Helbig: I do like that idea. I think we've done that on some Really Good Email sends. Based on your email address we could find your company logo somewhere and personalize an image. That that would be a nice touch. But then I almost think that would definitely reinforce that this is your anniversary.

Steph Knapp: That's true. It's about me!

Matt Helbig: These data points are interesting. I think we've seen some emails do that really effectively, like showing community stats, but to me, I don't know. What do you think about these data points? 

Steph Knapp: “How did people use everyone came to last year?” Well, “147 billion answered questions answered” isn't really how they used it. I feel like further down. They have a section that's about specifically what types of surveys people were sending. Oh you use these a lot for employee preferences or something. Yeah. What are they asking about team outings for one? I feel like that would make more sense under the headline.

Whatever it was, “How people use Survey Monkey. I feel like, this is how people use it. 

Matt Helbig: I guess it’s one of those things too where we always talk about, “How can an email serve a customer?” For some of these metrics, it kind of just sounds like maybe they are bragging about how popular their site is. And in reality, some of these numbers might not be that useful to me. 

I mean, these are cool stats, but I think we've seen some other year-end emails, especially like ones from MailChimp that really highlight some more of the customer uses. So as you said, something like this is maybe a better stat even to lead in with.

But to your point, maybe there is a piece of this that we're sort of missing out on. There was some threshold that you didn't meet the requirement since you didn’t send any surveys this year. So maybe there would be a dynamic field that does highlight what you've done as well.

Steph Knapp: Yeah, but I guess maybe if that is the case if they normally would personalize it. I haven't done anything. Could you mention that? Here's what other people have done. You haven't done anything yet, but it's not too late to start. Here are some of the ways that you can use it. Could that be a way to bring me back in?

Matt Helbig: I think even on some of the year-end ideas that we've had at Really Good Emails some of the emails that we're thinking about sending. Definitely having that fall back in place to say, “Hey, you've you haven't liked any emails this year” or “You haven't added any emails to a collection”. Showing the community stats, People have answered this many questions. You can too.” the a “Get started” CTA or something like that.

Or saying “Are you stuck? Here are some pre-made templates for different surveys you can make” would definitely be a good retention idea to bring people back into the product. 

Steph Knapp: Yeah, cuz it looks like the call to action button just says, “Ready for more?” and then “Sign In”.

Matt Helbig: That one isn't super strong. It doesn't really speak to me that much. I don't really sure if I'd even click on it just because, even if I was using SurveyMonkey all the time, “Sign In” is kind of a boring one. 

Steph Knapp: I don't think it's compelling enough for me to click at that moment.

Matt Helbig: From a design and development standpoint, this one is pretty good using live text on a lot of these sections. So that is nice to see. I think the mobile view is pretty good. I think that the main thing would be on this content. Making it feel a little bit more personal. Because it does feel like a personalized email, but it just falling a little bit short for what it is.

Steph Knapp: The content is interesting. I think there was just a contrast between what I was expecting and what it ended up being. Which was surprising. 

Matt Helbig: Even this idea for a quiz is kind of cool, but maybe that could be the main focus of the email or something.

Steph Knapp: It could have been almost just that. “You've been with us for a year. Can you guess how people use surveys? How are you using surveys?” That's interesting and it's buried at the very bottom. 

Matt Helbig: It's a little strange. I actually think these colors stand out more as a CTA, then the “Sign In”. That one's a little bit more muted and might get lost. I am very interested to see if there was a cut off, because this colored transition feels a little strange. So I do sort of wonder if there was a section here that's missing that is your stats. To your point, how do you contact people or bring people back into your product even if you don't have stats available for them is a big problem that some marketers will see going into this end of the year stuff. 

Steph Knapp: This hypothetical question, but is it better to not personalize or not make it a false attempt if you don't have information . Rather than making it seem like you tried but there's not actually any thing so it doesn't make sense. Can you address that there isn't enough data to pull that in? 

Matt Helbig: Do you even want to send this to someone if they are inactive? If you do spend a lot of time on an email like this, you likely want to just get it out the door. It just won’t be the best experience.

My feedback on this is:

The design and the content look pretty good on how its laid out for desktop and mobile. Spending some more time on those actual data points or diving more into customer stories or something. Maybe there was like a really interesting customer story they could highlight from the year. Anything else with SurveyMonkey?

Steph Knapp: I don't think so. Like I said, I'm a little bit of a professional ghoster. I perpetually feel bad about it. It's interesting to see the different ways that they try to get me back in.

Matt Helbig: I definitely think it's worth the time to work on some sort of end of year email. We've seen people really like those. Maybe there's an opportunity to share part of this email? Or even screen-cap it or something like that? Depending on the customer data that you have.

This is a little bit of a warning on just how you message people. It might leave a bit of a bad taste in their mouths if you don't really pull in the right stats or connect with them on a one-on-one level. 

That's that's pretty much it. So where can people find you online? How can we see your amazing tear-downs? 

Steph Knapp: They all live at get That's where you'll be able to find the big book of SAAS email examples Volume 1. So those are ten of my top favorite complete onboarding email sequences. Then there are some extra ones and different posts about samples and subject lines and all sorts of good stuff. There's one post I analyzed a 153 subject lines. Just trying to find out what's the common length? Are there any particular themes? It's a little bit nerdy, but it's fun .

Matt Helbig: Well, that sounds exciting. I'm ready to dive in. Thanks for taking the time!

Steph Knapp: Of course. Thank you. 

Matt Helbig: See ya.


Feedback Friday



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