Ecommerce brands and online retailers make shopping convenient and easy—raise your hand if you like browsing from your couch!—but one downside is the inability to engage with customers face to face.

Building connections and working on engagement are the first steps for mapping out the quickest way to conversions. Fully engaged customers are 7 times more likely to act on online offers.

Building engagement is a key reason for offering personalized content. It pays off, too: 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide personalized and relevant offers and recommendations.

When you can’t talk to each online shopper personally, you can use polls, surveys and quizzes as proxies to get the information you need for personalizing emails.


From monolog to dialog

A flashy ad might catch your eye, but if its message is boring, irrelevant, or pushy, it won’t hold your attention. What will? This is where psychology comes in: We love talking about ourselves and giving our opinions.

Your customers don’t want to know what you do. They want to know what you can do for them. Polls, surveys, or quizzes can substitute for personal conversations with your customers. Use them to get to know them and understand what they want and how you can provide it.


Instead of pushing information and content out to your customers, turn it around and let them fill in the blanks. Hold back on that elevator pitch. Ask your shoppers, “What can I do to make your day better?”


Interaction drives action

When you shop online, you don’t have to drive from store to store, fight crowds or compete for a parking spot. But you also don’t have clerks who can answer your questions or help you find the right product.

An ecommerce company can solve for that with interactive content, an effective tactic that catches the eye and converts better than static content.

Quizzes, surveys and polls let you ask customers for their opinions, find out about their pain points or test their knowledge. You can take that information, associate it with each respondent’s email address, and then deliver a personalized shopping experience that’s as close as you can get to one-to-one email.

Given that 52% of consumers say they’d switch brands if they didn’t feel they were receiving a personalized experience, it’s easy to see why personalization should be a priority for ecommerce and retail brands.

Other benefits of asking customers for opinions

Besides collecting information for personalization, analyze it for trends and insights. Use these to shape your broader marketing content strategies, to guide product research or help you merchandise your product more effectively.

It’s cheaper than doing audience research. But be careful in using the information to change major strategies. The responses reflect the thoughts and opinions of the people who take them, not necessarily a wide swath of your customer base. Always test before changing directions.


How to create polls, surveys and quizzes that boost engagement

These engagement-builders are intended to stand in for conversations and face-to-face interaction. So, they should sound natural. The more real and personal the content feels, the more people will want to engage.

Explain what customers will gain from filling in the survey or quiz and what reward they’ll get for completing it. But keep it short and sweet. Most people will know how a quiz, survey or poll works.


Make your quizzes, surveys and polls more appealing

Although the focus is on the conversation, you’ll still need to grab your customer’s attention. Visuals play a big role in interactive content.

Don’t be afraid to use attention-getting images. Spice it up with some GIFs or memes to make it more fun. Just be sure that the polls, surveys, and quizzes match your brand’s look and voice.

These email examples from the MailCharts database show you how brands like yours can create quizzes, surveys and polls that are fun and rewarding for customers and give you the information you need to personalize your customer’s experience with your brand.

1. Quizzes are fun and helpful

Quizzes function as shortcuts to finding what we really want. Some brands have mastered the art of creating quizzes that help their audience navigate towards products they are likely to buy. Beardbrand uses quizzes created with Typeform to recommend products to “beardsmen.”

Beardbrand quiz screencap 300x300

Sephora has some of the best email examples in the beauty industry. Here they add a quiz to its new-customer email journey to begin gathering preference and other user data for segmenting, targeting and personalizing email and web content:

Sephora - Check out our fave product picks ✨


A quiz can also be set for sharing. JustFab encourages its customers to share its quizzes to collect referrals:

JustFab - Re: Your $15 Credit (+$5 Styles Going FAST!)

2. Surveys tap into the customer zeitgeist

Surveys show customers you care about their opinions and give you useful feedback at the same time. Filling out a survey can take more time and effort than a quiz, so dangling a tasty incentive might entice more customers to participate in.

Offer a discount code or voucher to everyone who makes it to the last question to increase your response rate and drive some incremental sales. But don’t stop there. This email from FSAstore begins with a compelling subject line: “ Needs Your Help + Receive $20 Off!” Then, in the message body, it explains further how the customer can benefit by taking the survey, and not just to get the $20 discount:

FSAstore - Needs Your Help + Receive $20 Off!


Honey Baked Ham uses surveys to gather customers opinions about new products. Besides getting some guidance, the brand can use the results to build interest and investment in the new product, which can lead to more sales.

HoneyBaked Ham Online - Elizabeth, we're cooking up something NEW!

3. Polls build customer engagement

Polls are easy and fun because they take little time to create and even less time to participate. All you need to get started is a question you think your customers would love to answer. Like surveys, polls can help you get an immediate handle on what’s on your customers’ minds, make them relevant to the issues of the day and give them a little ownership of your brand, without going to the extra work of creating a survey.

Tiff’s Treats asks customers to vote on the special offer for the coming week. Besides letting them in on the decision-making, the voting results give the brand quick insight into customer preferences.

Tiff’s Treats - $12 for One Dozen Today Only!


One last benefit: Using interactive content for acquisition

We’ve been discussing the use of quizzes, surveys and polls to target and personalize your email campaigns, but you can also use this content to acquire more of the email addresses you need to build your marketing program.

Add a quiz, survey or poll to your website or social media channels and invite participants to give you their email address to see the results. Give them the option to check a box permitting you to send marketing emails. This gives you email addresses of interested customers, complies with today’s data laws and doesn’t cost you anything to acquire.

Happy engagement-building!

Editorial photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Post tags   Email strategy, Email trends