customer feedback: Who are my subscribers

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/11/22 1 views

in a analytics taking action,b why benchmark analytics

    When having a few subscribers, it is necessary to check where they come from, what their preferences are and if one still meets their needs.
    I outline how you can create a short survey and get feedback from your most important resource – your customer.

When I checked my subscription statistics in WordPress today, I found out I had 138 e-mail subscribers. Last time I looked I had less than 10. This was, of course a few months back.

Some would argue that it is tough to get the first 10 subscribers but easier to get the next 100. I am not sure if I can agree with this. Nevertheless, it continues to go up each week. This is especially true right after I have added another post to the blog.

I have no clue how many people subscribe using RSS or any of the many feed readers. I guess it is probably about another 138. Using this type of arithmatic gets me up to about 250 subscribers. Thank you all for stopping by.

Of course, 250 customers is small too. For me it is a mixed blessing. It is small but too big to talk to everybody. Experts would say whilst it is early to talk about reader segments, I should reflect on it.

I began thinking about reader segmentation. Of course, I have been talking to some of you and taken your feedback and advice to continue improving on our content and services. But when I read a post by

2008-11-19 – Eric Ries–Lo, my 1032 subscribers, who are you?

I decided to follow his advice and use a small survey to get feedback from you. Services that allow you to construct online surveys are, for instance:

Survey Gizmo, or


Here you can set up your questions. To make it easy on your audience, use some scales. This makes it easier for your respondents to answer the questions and simplifies analsis of data for you. Examples are such as

– questions that allow one to check off the answering box, such as Yes or No,

– 5 or 7 points (scales), such as, disagree completely, disagree, undecided, agree, agree completely.

Make sure it is five or seven point scale. Going beyond seven such as nine points is, accoding to research not wise. In fact, people start having difficulties distinguishing beyond seven anchors on a scale. Furthermore, using an even scale such as eight or 10 points is not ideal. You should give your respondent the chance to stay undecided and not force her to make a choice between, for instance, agreeing or disagreeing with your statement.

As well, I recommend using in-depth optional questions sparingly. Not only are they more time-consuming to fill out for your readers or customers but, as importantly, they require a lot more effort from you analysing these typed responses.

I thought I follow Eric Ries’ advice and set-up my own survey. Here is my survey for

As a loyal subscriber, I’d like to invite you to take the first customer survey:

Click Here to take survey and see how it can be done

I put this together using the free version of SurveyMonkey. It shows you how easy it is for you to create your own survey. Naturally, at a later stage you have to pay and subscribe to the professional version. In turn, you can download data or serve a different set of sub-questions based on the answer the person gave for a grouping-type of question (also called funneling).

Be sure to make the thank you page a call to action such as a link to subscribe (see my example at the end of the survey).

This seems the least you can do for a customer passionate enough to talk to you.

So, to those of you who take the time to fill out the survey: thank you for your valuable feedback

And to everyone who has taken the time to read, comment, or subscribe to our blog – thank you so much and keep reading :-)

Incidentally, why not subscribe right now so you get the upcoming post that will discuss what the feedback tells us? Any thoughts you like to share, please leave a comment, love to hear from you.

  • Beth Kanter

    Why aren’t you using feedburner to track your RSS subscriber metrics? I’ve found that my RSS subscribers are very different from my email subscribers.

    Anyway, here’s some that may be useful to you:

    Information on how to consolidate and track RSS subscribers

  • Beth Kanter

    PS another way to segement via RSS is to offer RSS by content category – makes sense when you have a lot of wide ranging content.

  • Urs E. Gattiker


    Thanks so much for your feedback, very helpful. Let me answer the easy one first, offering RSS by content, I post once or twice a week so this might not be that much of a problem and since the posts all address benchmarking and social media…. nevertheless, important point.

    Feedburner, I have tried it before but it seems too risky to outsource that service, especially since Feedburner has and continues to have dependability problems (service fails for a couple of hours and so forth).

    As well, how I can consolidate my RSS feed without using feedburner or typepad but just my WordPress software on one of our servers…. that I have to check.

    Hopefully, the study (survey) you all filled out :-) will tell me if there are differences between RSS and e-mail subscribers.

    So I need to check. As usual, your comments were very helpful to me, thank you. Urs

  • Guy Hagen

    LimeSurvey is a viable alternative to SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey

    The review of the software – advantages and disadvantages – can be found here: review of LimeSurvey – the open source alternative – it works

  • Urs E. Gattiker


    Thanks for the link. Very nice review you did there. I will have to try to use LimeSurvey version 2.0 that you expect to be released soon…

    Keep up the good work.

  • alex

    save to my Bookmarks 😉

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