How to Survey Your Customers and Prospects

It’s tempting to ask your subscribers a laundry list of questions when they sign up to your list, isn’t it? The trouble is that the more information you ask for in a signup form, the fewer people fill it out. So how do you learn more about your potential subscribers without driving them away? Read on for some ideas.

It’s tempting to ask your subscribers a laundry list of questions when they sign up to your list, isn’t it?

You want to know things like how they heard about you, what competitors they were looking at, what questions they have for you, do they want you to contact them by phone (and what’s their phone number?).

The trouble, as we’ve discussed before in several posts and in our web form webinar, is that the more information you ask for in a signup form, the fewer people fill it out.

So how do you learn more about your potential subscribers without driving them away?

Read on for ideas and a video.

Survey Customers and Prospects

The key to getting subscribers to tell you all about themselves is to be patient.

Start by building a relationship with them, and then, once they’re comfortable enough with you to do so, prompt them to tell you more.

One of the most popular ways to do this is by emailing a survey to your subscribers.

But Don’t Surveys Cost Money to Create and Send?

Up until just recently, I would have said “It depends.”

Some survey providers like SurveyMonkey or Survey Anyplace offer limited free accounts, but typically survey providers do charge for their services.

However, that all changed the other day, making it easy for you to survey your customers and prospects.

So what changed?

Email Your Customers Surveys Using Google Docs and AWeber

If you’re not familiar with Google Docs, it’s a free online suite of word processing and spreadsheet software.

It’s a useful tool just for having spreadsheets handy from anywhere. But here’s where it gets interesting for email marketers.

Less than a week ago, they announced that you can create forms in your Google spreadsheets.

All you have to do is create a spreadsheet, set up a form, and email the link to your subscribers through AWeber — they’ll go to the survey, fill it out and you’ll automatically compile their responses!

What Can You Email Surveys About?

Anything you want to know that can help you serve your customers and prospects (and market to them) better!

A couple ideas to get you started:

  • Satisfaction Surveys — how do they perceive you? Are they happy with what you provide?
  • What Other Products Would They Like You To Offer?
  • What Competing Solutions/Businesses Are They Considering (a good way to sniff out competitors who might otherwise go “under the radar”)

What Will YOU Survey Your Customers and Prospects About?

Share your ideas below!


  1. Michelle

    10/18/2008 1:09 am

    Hi Justin. I was very excited when I found this post, as I want to do a survey. Unfortunately, it seems Google has changed the rules. There is no longer an option to "Fill Out a Form." When I click on "Share," and then click on "Invite People," I have 2 options: "To Edit" and "To View." There is not a 3rd option of inviting people "To Fill Out a Form."

    Can you tell me where the "Fill Out a Form" option has gone?

  2. Justin Premick

    10/20/2008 8:45 am


    With the newest Google Docs changes, you can find the form option in the toolbar along the top of your spreadsheet.

    Click the "Form" menu and choose "Create a form."

    It should be pretty straightforward from there.

  3. Create Your Own FREE Surveys?

    10/22/2008 2:28 pm

    […] can make use of Google Docs to do the trick. Here’s a tutorial posted at AWeber blog (non-aff): How to Survey Your Customers and Prospects – Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber It’s really easy and FREE. Hope this helps Regards, […]

  4. CM

    2/2/2009 9:44 pm


    Excellent video, thank you! I’m excited about using this tool.

    Question – could the link to the survey be included in a regular issue of my newsletter, rather than having it be a whole separate broadcast?


  5. David DeLapp

    3/23/2009 12:32 am

    Hi, I just watched your video on google docs. Google seems to have changed their format in their spreadsheets such that the video steps no longer match what Google has. Forms are now a setup choice under NEW. It seems to require us to enter email addresses we want to send these forms to instead of simply putting a link in our aweber broadcast. Can you advise how to use google docs now?

  6. david

    7/13/2009 2:11 pm

    It would be great if you would remove this and replace it with an updated video. This one doesn’t work anymore…it looks like it hasn’t worked for several months.


  7. Webinar: Split Testing Emails and Web Forms

    12/9/2009 4:57 pm

    […] more we understand about our website visitors and subscribers, the better we can target them. While surveying or soliciting feedback are ways to learn a bit about them, split testing provides a more objective, […]

  8. Lewis

    1/23/2010 8:12 am

    Great video (worked fine for me). Very excited about trying it out!

  9. Cee

    1/28/2010 8:58 pm

    Can’t view the video, but it works just fine 🙂

    Click on more actions > embed, grab the URL from it:<bunch of random letters>

    Just replace "embedded" with "view" so it becomes:<bunch of random letters>

    Add that to your email broadcast. DONE!

    This is pretty damn amazing, thanks for the tip!

  10. Lewis

    2/9/2010 8:38 am

    I’m new to this so the video helped explain it a lot. Thanks for posting it. Hopefully start surveying my customers soon.

  11. Shazar

    3/24/2010 5:20 am

    yes Google have changed the way you do it.. so an updated video would be really helpful. but I did manage to accidentally work it out!!

  12. Email Tips for Brick & Mortar Stores

    4/13/2010 8:41 am

    […] customer satisfaction surveys. Include a field for email addresses, and be clear that those provided will be mailed […]

  13. Lukey

    4/13/2010 9:22 pm

    Can I use the Google Docs survey & put it onto a web page?

    (If so, there is probably still no way to collect the email addresses in AWeber, apart from import them one by one later.)

    What other options do I have?

    If I use Survey Monkey on a web page can I link that back to my AWeber list collection?

  14. Linda Basta

    4/28/2010 3:44 pm

    Thanks so much. This was excellent and the timing is perfect. I was just about to try an email one. Never dreamed it could be so easy,professional…and free! (-:

  15. N

    5/5/2010 10:24 pm

    There’s now a even newer version of Google docs and the video above is even more out of date. Doesn’t matter though because it’s quite easy to create the survey. Create a new spreadsheet and click on “form” at the top. Then just follow what Justin says in the video. Thanks for this Justin. Amazing.

  16. Corrina Gordon-Barnes

    5/28/2010 7:56 am

    This is phenomenal – you guys rock.

  17. Jeff

    8/24/2010 10:44 am

    this video with google docs is just what the doctor ordered. I have only one small niggling worry and this is about Aweber

    I could sent this survey to over 4000 customers who lets say need re-engaging BUT they have not given me permission to send them this survey or anything. So CAN i USE aWEBER OR WILL I FALL DONE AT THE FIRST FENCE WITH YOU GUYS

  18. Amanda Gagnon

    8/24/2010 12:35 pm

    Jeff ~ Re-engaging should only be done with subscribers who have already given you permission to email them. So, you can certainly use AWeber as long as you get permission from each of your customers to receive your emails.

  19. Bill Davis

    9/17/2010 5:15 pm

    Awesome idea! I’ve been using survey monkey and quite frankly, I’ve been unimpressed.

    Using Google Docs seems like the way to go. It would seem that you could completely "brand" the survey, too, with all of your own promotional materials and it’s your data, too.

    Thanks for the great suggestion!

  20. giampaolo

    10/16/2010 1:57 pm

    wow, just saw the video now, right when I was wondering how to survey my list…phenomenal info, cant wait to use it!!
    thanks a lot!!

  21. Jack

    1/16/2011 6:22 pm

    Great video thanks! Very easy indeed .. I will give it a try.

    Thank you.

  22. Natan

    5/10/2011 11:47 am

    Another option is Rational Survey. The tool is very easy to use and they offer a great free account good for 1000 responders.

  23. A New Approach to Email Marketing

    5/19/2011 2:09 pm

    […] out surveys that ask for […]

  24. Eduart Hargreaves

    5/31/2011 8:53 am

    Students can also use Survey Prof. It is aimed at students and entirely free.

  25. Kozyinn

    6/30/2011 9:13 pm

    Justin/Amanda… Woo hoo! Very very nice! The video was great! One question though… Now that Google has changed from the spreadsheet to the form option, where do I go to get the URL to paste into my AWeber broadcast message. Do I just take it from the URL field in my web browser?

    Thanks a bunch!

  26. Tuan Bui

    9/24/2011 2:35 pm

    I wanted to add to this list of survey tools. Mobosurvey helps you quickly create online surveys that are accessible from any internet capable devices. Your users can access the same survey from their smart phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops at anytime

  27. Sarah Bird

    11/27/2011 8:33 am

    Woo. Nice read. One query I have though. Now when Google has changed its display format where should I paste my AWeber broadcast message. It’s confusing me. Or should I simply pick URL field?

  28. Justin Premick

    11/28/2011 1:20 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for asking. Google has made a number of changes to their form tool since I shot this video.

    You don’t need to paste anything from AWeber into your Google form. What you’ll do is create the form in Google, then get the link for it (it appears at the bottom of the page while you’re editing your form), then add that link to the broadcast you create in AWeber. That way, when you send out the broadcast, your subscribers can click the link and be taken to your survey form.

  29. Everett Patterson

    5/26/2012 2:59 pm

    Hey Justin thanks for posting! Now what we need is for Aweber to be able to integrate the form right into the email. I hate to give somebody a link to go somewhere else and take a survey, so I came up with a way to embed the form into the email. It’s more hands on up front but I like having the form in the email.

    The users still have to go to another page when they click submit, but at least that way they already have the form filled out.

    Are there any plans to integrate some sort of surveys into Aweber? Drag and drop capabilities would be sweet!

  30. Rebekah Henson

    5/29/2012 10:02 am

    Hi Everett,

    Thanks for your feedback. Adding a drag-and-drop survey function to our message editor is definitely an interesting idea! I’m sending your comment along to our developers to see if it’s something we can implement.

    In the meantime, there’s an easier way to create surveys directly in your emails by adding a quick tracking code to your links. This article explains how it works:

    Hope that helps, and thanks for the great suggestion!

  31. How 4 Companies Find Out What Their Email Subscribers Want

    7/31/2012 8:01 am

    […] way to find out is to send a survey to your email subscribers. Sending the survey is simple (here’s how). Getting subscribers to answer takes a bit of strategy, […]

  32. Jain Brand

    9/23/2012 7:42 pm

    Thanks for this excellent post Justin! I just sent out my first survey using Google Docs and Aweber. Easy to use and I got a great result!

    I embeded the survey form into my website – which was a good look.

    Google Docs produced a spreadsheet with all the collected data but also a nice report with bar graphs etc.

    Thanks again for suggesting this great idea which is free and I can use anytime I want to survey my audience.


  33. Phil

    11/23/2012 12:52 am

    I don’t see the video… on any browser. Is there a problem?

  34. Crystal Gouldey

    11/26/2012 9:49 am

    Phil – The video is outdated, but this post and this post talk about techniques for learning about what your subscriber’s want.

  35. J.C.

    10/5/2013 7:27 am

    I see all these post about a video, but I do not see one or a working link. Can some one email me the link. I want to survey my email list.

  36. Rachel Acquaviva

    10/7/2013 2:27 pm

    Hi J.C.,
    I apologize that the video won’t load. We recommend using a free survey tool and putting the link to the survey into your email. I hope this helps!