When you think of surveying your audience, what first comes to mind? A survey! Or, a poll. Those are two items that don’t always have a high response rate. Fear not. There are additional options for surveying your audience without them even being aware that you’re doing so.
This is a relatively easy way to survey without asking. Just review your stats to determine which of your posts are most popular. Then find out which ones are shared in Pinterest, in Twitter, on Facebook, and in all other social platforms. As time progresses, you’ll have a larger library of content. The posts that have been in existence the longest may still rank high in your stats. However, factor in that newer posts might not yet have as much exposure or links in other platforms. You should be able to ascertain the topics that are of most interest to your readers. Armed with that information, you can then apply it to your email newsletters.
Number of Pages Visited
When people go to multiple pages on your site when they visit, it means you’re providing information that they find useful. You needn’t ask. They’re telling you. Review your stats to find out which pages they’re reading in one visit or which post in particular they go to. If it’s the same general topic or category, you know it’s a good one.
One method I’ve used to increase page views is to include links to some favorite posts in the content of other posts. It works for me! Try it out. Then review your stats. See if people visit more pages and see if those favorite posts maintain a higher level of interest. Again, it’s a survey. This tactic is in addition to a related posts item at the end of your post or a gallery. I have both of the latter for this and my other posts in the #2mDTips category.
Your newsletters are a gold mine filled with information about your audience and the content they’re seeking. Each newsletter is essentially a survey. How so? It mainly comes down to open and click rates. What compels subscribers to open an email and what do they click when they open it?
First review the open rates. Higher open rates indicate that you’re doing something correctly. Your subject lines are likely part of the reason. Review your email stats to see which emails had the highest open rates. What is the structure of the subject line?
Second, review the click rates. Once a subscriber opens your email, what do they click to read further? Include a variety of topics and related links in your emails as a test. See which (if any) the subscribers then click. If many readers that open the email click the same link, that’s a good sign that your subscriber base is interested in that topic. It also tells you the content in which they’re not interested in. That’s also important to know. Don’t push yourself to include content that no one is looking for. That also takes up precious space in your email.
Conversely, if subscribers aren’t opening your email or are unsubscribing at a high rate, that’s good input. This is a survey in itself. Here are a few potential reasons for low open rates:
- Subscribers aren’t interested in the content you’re sending, or it’s not what they expected
- Sending frequency is too limited, so readers don’t recognize it as much in their busy inbox (for instance, is a monthly newsletter too long a gap between emails?)
- Sending too much too often, and readers ignore them
- The time or day sent is one at which readers are less inclined to open email newsletters
The best way to address these issues is to experiment. Try other or varied content. Send your newsletter email at different times and days. Try different subject lines. Keep tweaking until you find what works best.
Mobile vs. Desktop
Wonder no further if your audience is accessing your site and email newsletters via a mobile device. You can find data on both.
Website stats are in Google Analytics. In the dashboard, check Audience > Mobile. If you’d like to review historical data to see if mobile use has increased or decreased, set up a comparison date with a prior time period. For instance, set a time period to be the current year and compare it to the same time period for the previous year. That tells you if mobile use is increasing. I assume that it is, but check your stats.
For email newsletters, check the stats that your email provider tracks. In the two providers I’ve used (Constant Contact and Mailchimp) there are mobile stats for each email sent.
Day and Time
Review server logs. Check Google Analytics. Review Twitter stats. Review Facebook page stats. Check all your social media platforms. There is data available regarding date and time most popular by your users. You can then use this, for instance, to help determine what times of day to try out for your email newsletters. All those stats are essentially a survey!
Check the Geo section of Google Analytics to find the locations from which users access your site. See what are most popular. That information is helpful in creating Facebook ads, as you can target areas. Location as a survey tells you where your audience is and if they’re interested in your content. If you’d like to increase your audience in a particular area, determine how you can focus on that. Think of time zones. If you’re sending tweets with links to your content too late in the day for a particular audience, then schedule the tweets so they’re posted at the correct time for that time zone you’re targeting. This is helpful for email. Because the email providers enable you to tweet links to your newsletters, you can easily make adjustments and see how that affects open rates. Again, it’s a survey. Are you sending information out at the right time for the location in which your intended users are based?
As you can see, the common thread through all this are stats. These are just some examples. Your various stats tell you what content is of most interest to your audience, when they’re interested in it and from which location and time zone, how they prefer to access it (site, email, social platforms), devices used, and so on and so on. Start reviewing your stats and see what your users are telling you! Everything is a survey.
For other tips in this series, see this post: Social Media & Blogging Tips: July 2017 (#2mDTips)