How To Create Deeper Relationships with Your Readers through Surveys
At Reedsy, we feel it’s important to let authors know about different startups and tech tools that could make their life easier. Today, we’re happy to welcome a guest post by Chad Keck, founder of Promoter.io, a Net Promoter Score startup that you can use to build your author platform and find your “insider group”.
Do you have an author mailing list? If yes, congratulations, you are among the elite group of authors who understand that the relationships you build with your readers are what’s going to drive most sales in the long run.
But let me guess: do you send out emails every week or every month updating your readers on your progress and wonder what they are really thinking? You rarely hear back from them unless you are asking for feedback on a book cover or title, right?
Figuring out ways to engage with your readers is no easy thing, especially if you’re trying to create meaningful, lasting relationships that will guide your writing efforts.
If you are like most authors, you might be afraid of asking your readers to take a survey because you have an inner belief that it will drive your readers away. But like most things in life, the best things come to people who won’t let their fears hold them back.
So what do you do if you want to try sending a survey, but you have never tried them before?
Find out your book's Net Promoter Score
Of all survey methods, the Net Promoter Score is one of the least assuming and best to start out with. In a book called The Ultimate Question, Fred Reichheld came up with this interesting survey technique which addresses some of the biggest problems of sending surveys.
The technique is called Net Promoter Score (NPS), and revolves around one key concept: bringing your surveys down to a single key question: How likely from 0-10 are you to recommend my book to a friend or colleague?
Here is exactly what it might look like as an email your readers would receive that a non-fiction author recently sent through Promoter.io:
How disarming is that? You are not asking for hours from a person’s day or to fill out anything lengthy or difficult. It’s just one number. Countless companies like AT&T, Philips, GE, Apple, American Express, Intuit all have implemented NPS for their products, and the technique is extremely popular in the startup world too.
How It Works: Calculate Your NPS Score
Here’s how this NPS score gets calculated: first, you find the percentage of people who gave you a 9 or a 10 (your loyal enthusiasts), and subtract the percent of people who gave you a 0 to 6 (your detractors).
If you are wondering what about a 7 or 8 score, they don’t count for or against you because they are too tepid either way.
For example, let’s say you got the following scores: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Only two of ten were enthusiasts (20%) and six in ten where detractors (60%) so your NPS score would be a -40%. Though interesting, the scores aren’t actually the main point of this.
The most important part is the open-ended question that follows:
What is the most important reason you gave that score and what’s one thing I could do to earn or keep your recommendation next time?
Results are often fascinating. Most people don’t want to invest their time in filling out a full survey, but if you’re just asking for one number, you will get a very high response rate: once people share their score with you, they are mentally micro-committed to justifying themselves. So once they’ve answered the first question, they are very likely to respond to the follow-up one and offer open feedback.
A service like Promoter.io will do all the calculations for you and collect the feedback automatically. Here’s a screenshot of the dashboard from the author (Lucas Carlson who has been on the Reedsy podcast) that recently used us to collect feedback from his mailing list.
How Authors Can Use NPS To Create Deeper Relationships with Readers
There are different ways you can send your NPS surveys out. If you send an email newsletter out once a week and you don’t want to bombard your audience with too many emails, skip a week and send the NPS survey instead of your weekly email.
If you have a big email list and cost is a bigger problem for you than reaching out to your audience too frequently, you can send a few emails a day to only a few people at a time so that you can fit into one of the cheaper plans at Promoter.io. Our paid plans start at $49/month or $490/year for 500 surveys/month, and we have a free one for 25 surveys/month to test it out!
The survey is just an open door. It is a golden opportunity for you to actively engage with your “silent” readers, the ones who are not always as prompt to giving you honest feedback.
When someone responds with a 9 or a 10, they are telling you they want to promote you. A natural way to respond to such a fan would be: “Thank you for your enthusiasm! That really made my day. If you haven’t already, any chance you could leave a brief review on Amazon so that others can find the book more easily too?”
When someone responds with a 0 to 6, don’t get disheartened! The fact that they told you means they care enough to engage with you at all. Use this as an opportunity to reach out and learn more. If you are surveying a non-fiction book, you can ask them a follow-up like: “Thank you for your honesty! If there was one thing you wish I would write about more, what would it be?” If you are surveying a fiction book, you might ask: “Thanks for the honesty! What did you feel didn’t work in my novel?”
Running and collecting NPS surveys can be a pain, and keeping track of follow-ups can be even harder, but services like Promoter.io make this incredibly simple.
Building a great author platform comes down to one thing: creating the most value possible for your readers. Whenever you want higher engagement with your audience, just keep asking yourself the same thing: “What’s in it for them?” If you keep raising the stakes and providing true value over and over again, everything else will take care of itself.
Have any questions for Chad? Leave them in the comments below!