The lizard brain -- and email

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How to get user feedback like a boss

by Colin Nederkoorn

Have you received a bad email from a company and clicked reply to give them feedback only to find that their email address is “noreply@lamecompany.com”?

They’re CRAZY! You always want to encourage users to get in touch with you.

User feedback by email is the next best thing to sitting next to real users doing real user testing.

Let’s think about a situation that some of us are all too familiar with. Imagine you released a new feature but not a lot of people are using it.

How do you know if your version of the feature sucks, or if the feature isn’t appropriate for users of your app?

When people check out the feature, but don’t use it, email them and ask “why?”. You’ll know instead of guessing from looking at your metrics.

I’m not going to pretend like writing emails to gather feedback is easy, because it’s not. You’re asking a favor of the recipient, in exchange for making the product better for them. These emails are hard to write.

But the responses you’ll get will make it worthwhile.

Here are a few tips:

A few things you should not do

  1. Don’t punish people or express frustration that they haven’t set up your product
  2. Don’t nag. If you have multiple emails, increase the time from the last email with each additional email.
  3. Don’t ask people to do too many things at once. If you try to focus on one task to accomplish, they’re more likely to do it.

A few things you should do

  1. Use AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to structure your email. We talked about it last week in The Lizard Brain – and email.
  2. Answer the question “Why is this good for me?” for your recipient (not for you). When asking someone to do something, why should they do it? Even better, show them.
  3. Be personable. Imagine you’re writing the email to a friend of your best friend. Someone you haven’t met yet, but you’ve heard great things about. A friendly message will go a long way.

Here’s an example I put together soliciting feedback about a feature of Pseudo Project

my email like a boss

Do you have a great email to solicit feedback? Or do you want help? Send me a copy. I’d be happy to give you feedback or feature it on greatemailcopy.tumblr.com.

Until next week,

Colin

P.S. Wednesday is now email day, so look for an email from me next wednesday. Same-ish time. Same place.

P.P.S* Thanks to everyone who sent in emails you re-wrote using AIDA. I hope you’re enjoying reading “Ogilvy on Advertising”.

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