Want to become your reader’s favourite newsletter?

It’s as easy as asking a few questions.

All you’ve to do is to ask for great feedback.

With feedback, you can:

  • Understand your audience
  • Improve what sucks (so they don’t unsubscribe)
  • Double down on what they love (so they share your newsletter everywhere)

And all you need to do is to:

  • Learn how feedback helps you.
  • And set up a simple process that keeps asking your readers for feedback regularly.
  • Figure out the important things that matter.

We'll cover all of this today.

Let’s dive right in.

Why Ask Your Newsletter Readers For Feedback?

Getting feedback from people who read your newsletter is the highest Return-On-Investment activity you can do while running a newsletter.

This is especially true when your newsletter is young.

Here are some benefits of getting feedback:

  • Feedback helps figure out your target audience. With feedback, you'll know what people who read your newsletters like, want, care about or hate. This also helps you find sponsors, and make lead magnets.
  • Feedbacks boosts your motivation. For your newsletter to succeed, the #1 most important thing is consistency. But when you’ve very few subscribers, it’s hard to stay motivated and keep going. That's when positive feedback helps. It gives you the motivation and energy you need to keep sending your newsletter consistently.
  • Feedbacks help you get testimonials and social shares. You can use the positive feedback you get as testimonials. And testimonials are a great way to get more subscribers. You can showcase them on your landing page. Or share them on social media.
  • Feedbacks boosts your email’s engagements. When your reader chooses to give you feedback, by clicking a link or replying to your emails, he gets more engaged in what you do. This can help you figure out how many of your readers are actively supporting you. And this also helps tell Gmail’s spam filters that your emails are not spam.
  • Feedback brings you close to your readers and makes it a two-way communication. When you directly connect to your readers while asking for, receiving or replying to their feedback, it makes them feel closer to you as a person, not some distant celebrity. It also tells them you value their opinions.

Now that you convinced you should ask for feedback, here's how to ask for them.

How to Get Feedback From Your Readers?

You won’t get feedbacks for your newsletters if you don’t ask for it.

(Unless your newsletter is extremely good or extremely bad.)

So here are some ways you can get your newsletter readers to give you feedback:

Method 1: Email readers personally ask for their feedback.

This is the single best way to get great feedback.

All you have to do is to find a few of your regular readers and send them an email personally.

When you message one of your readers personally, it makes them feel special. That way, they’re more likely to give you thoughtful and actionable feedback.

But how to choose who you should personally send emails to? One good way would be to choose your most active readers. The ones who open your emails regularly.

To help you out with this, here’s a template I made:

(This template is very general. I recommend modifying it into something that will resonate more with your audience)

Hey [Reader's Name],

I’m [Your name]. I write the [Your newsletter's name] newsletter.

I noticed you’ve been one of our best readers of my newsletter. Thank you so much for that. :)

I’d really appreciate it if you can give me some feedback and help me make this newsletter better.

I won’t take too long. Just these 3 questions:

[Your feedback questions]

Thanks a ton.

[Your name again]

Method 2: Ask all of your readers to reply to their emails with feedback

This is clearly less effective than the first method.

But you can still try this out.

Here’s how it works: When you send out your newsletter, add a small note at the beginning or at the end asking your readers to reply to the email with feedback.

One big benefit of this approach is that when someone replies to your newsletters, Gmail thinks that the person sending it is not a spammer. This decreases the chance for your emails to land in spam.

Here’s a Pro Tip: Your welcome email will be your most opened email ever. So utilise its value and add a note to it asking your readers what they like reading, what they expect from your newsletter and where they found it.

That way, you can start a two-way communication, know more about your target audience and which promotion strategy is working for your newsletter.

Method 3: Add a feedback form to every newsletter you send

Some people will never reply to your emails to give feedback. And that’s okay.

But if you really want their thoughts on how you can make your newsletter better, you will have to make it easier for them.

The best way to do so is by including a form in all the emails you send.

Here’s how the form would work: It will ask a question and give the readers a few options to respond with. Readers just have to click on the response to give out feedback. So much easier.

Here’s an example from the Hulry newsletter:

Screenshot of Hulry newsletter’s feedback form

Now, to implement this you’ll need to add a form to your emails. Some Email Marketing Softwares have forms built into their email designers.

But if yours doesn’t have one, you can do one of these two things:

  1. Use FeedLetter.co to make feedback forms (free for up to 50 forms and 2k responses)
  2. Make a form yourself using Google Forms. (It takes a little bit of effort but is free and looks cleaner.)

Here’s an example of the FeedLetter feedback form from The Curious Bunch newsletter:

FeedLetter feedback form from The Curious Bunch newsletter

If you want to do it with Google forms, here’s a step by step guide:

  1. Create a new Google Form and change its title to something like “Rate the latest issue of [your newsletter’s name]”
  2. Enter your feedback question (like “Did you like this newsletter?”) as the first question and set it as ‘multiple choice’
  3. Add 3/4 options under that question
  4. Then, click on the Settings icon (⚙) on the top right and turn off ‘collect emails’
  5. Then, click on ‘ Presentation ’ and turn off ‘Show link to submit another response’ and click ‘Save’
  6. Then, click on the three-dot icon on the top right and click on ‘get pre-filled link’
  7. This will take you to another page. Click on the first option and then click the ‘get link’ button. Then, click on the ‘Copy link’ button that will come up in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  8. Now, in your email software, add your feedback question as text and under that type out your options and link the first option to the link you got on the previous page.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to set the links of all 3 or 4 options you’ve on your emails.

Done. Now, when someone clicks on that link they’ll be taken to this form page and their response (whichever option they clicked on) will automatically be there on the forms.

Here’s a Pro Tip: You can add another question to the form asking your readers for extra feedback or testimonials. But be sure to make it optional.

Method 4: Create a Special Email To Survey Your Readers

You can send out a special email to all of your readers asking for feedback and suggestions to improve your newsletter.

But I recommend using a survey email along with any of the 3 methods above. Don’t rely only on it. Because there are 2 problems with this approach:

  • You cannot send a survey email frequently. You can send it once in 3/4 months but if you send it weekly, it’ll irritate your subscribers.
  • And for your survey emails to get many, good responses, you need to already have an engaged reader base. So it’s not something you can do early on.

You can make your surveys more effective by automating them. You can set your email software such that it will send the survey email you designed after a certain number of days. Let’s say you send a weekly newsletter. You can set your survey email to be sent exactly 6 weeks after a person subscribed. That way, when he/she will get the survey email, he/she will have already read enough newsletters to give out good feedback.

Now that we've covered every way you can ask for feedback it's worth asking exactly what to ask to get great feedback?

What Should You Ask To Get Great Feedback?

To figure this out, I asked Josh Spector, who runs 3 newsletters including For The Interested.

Here are 4 things he stresses the most about feedbacks.

#1 The need to ask for feedback.

From the start, you should be clear on why you want to get feedback. Which part of your emails do you want to improve. And whether directly asking readers for feedback is the best way.

Because sometimes, people say something and do something else. It's always better to rely on what they do. Here's Josh:

Their actions will speak louder than their words. I assume you can track link clicks? If so, you should at least get a sense for which links are getting the most attention/clicks without needing to ask.

(The question was actually about getting feedback for a curation newsletter)

#2 The format you ask in.

Josh advises using open-ended questions instead of multiple-choice ones:

If you do survey people, ask open ended questions as opposed to multiple choice questions and pay attention to what words they use. For example, "What topics do you most like to read about in my newsletter?" will get you more valuable info than asking people to pick between topic choices you give them.

But this does have a catch. If your audience is not as engaged right now, you will have a hard time making them answer open-ended questions. You should try out both and see what works.

Every newsletters ask for feedback with 4 options but give readers a way to go beyond that as well.

#3 Who you get feedback from matters.

Feedback from the right person matters. The right person is your ideal reader, who you're making the newsletter for.

Your audience is not created equal and you shouldn't necessarily treat all their feedback the same. I don't know what your goals are, but the feedback from a person who matches who you ultimately want/need to reach is WAY more important than the feedback of someone who doesn't fit the demo[graphic] you want/need to reach.
Also, the feedback of your most engaged readers is more meaningful than the feedback of your lesser engaged readers (assuming they fit the target audience you ultimately want/need) because what you're trying to attract is more highly-engaged readers...not more lesser-engaged readers.

To sum this up:

Long story short, there's a good chance you'll get more value out of having 10 actual conversations with 10 of your best subscribers than you will [have by] surveying 100 subscribers. Because ultimately you want to optimize for more of the best anyway.

#4 What you do with the feedback.

Here's the best thing you can do once you have feedback:

Learn to speak their language.

Notice the words they use. Look out for patterns and phrases they use often. And include those phrases in your newsletters and landing pages.

For example, maybe nobody says the phrase "getting more done" but several people say "being more productive." Then, you know when you have an article to share about getting more done you might reference it in your newsletter as being about "being more productive" and you know that will get more clicks and resonate with your audience because you're literally speaking their language.

In Summary

This is a quick refresher on what we just covered. You might wanna take a screenshot of it. ;)

Why get feedback?

  • To figure out your target audience
  • To boost your motivation
  • To get testimonials and social proof
  • To boost email engagement
  • To get closer to your audience

How to get feedback?

  • Email top readers personally.
  • Ask readers to reply to your newsletter
  • Add a feedback form to all your newsletters
  • Create a special survey email once in a while

The 4 most important things when asking for feedback

  • Get your reason right. Why do you need feedback? What do you want to improve?
  • How do you want to ask for feedback? Which format will your audience engage with the most?
  • Who are the people whose feedbacks actually matter?
  • What should you do once you've enough feedback?