The Perfect Question

I’ve written before about how your new subscriber experience is like hosting a dinner party. Once all the basics are taken care of (drink in hand, bathroom pointed out, etc), you can really make some magic by asking your guest a perfect question.

It’s worth exploring this idea of the Perfect Question a bit further.

Stop guessing

First of all—without a Perfect Question, you really don’t know very much about your new subscribers. You get their email address, but other than that you are guessing as to what might be meaningful to them.

The goal of a Perfect Question is to gain immediate insight into your new subscribers. But not just any ordinary insight. The Perfect Question asks to know exactly what would empower you to be most helpful to them.

If you’re a health coach, for instance, wouldn’t it be amazing to know what the main health challenge is that a new subscriber is facing?

You’d be able to send them the most relevant info right away—which speeds up the time it takes for them to book a call with you.

Here’s how you do it:

Determine the 1-3 questions that, if you had answers, would enable you to serve specific messages to them.

Each question should be multiple defined choices but only one response (a radio input, for the form nerds). This enables you to standardize people’s responses in your email marketing platform.

For example:

What is your primary health challenge right now?

  • Skin problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Exercise problems

In your email marketing platform, you’d have a field called current_health_challenge and your subscribers would have a value of skin, digestion, sleep, or exercise.

Then you could have a custom welcome message based on which health challenge your subscriber is facing.

Powerful stuff.

How and when do you ask the Perfect Question?

You can ask it within the subscribe form, immediately after subscribing, or in the welcome email. I tend away from including it in the subscribe form itself because it makes it feel required and you’ll have fewer completions overall (which translates to fewer subscribers).

Ask the Perfect Question immediately after subscribing

My favorite approach is to redirect a new subscriber to a second form immediately after they submit their email address—and before they get a welcome email. It gives the best chance of getting the information and sending the most personalized welcome message.

It’s a fairly DIY-friendly approach in Gravity Forms (what I use on most WordPress sites).

Here’s the high level to do:

  1. Create a second form with your question
  2. Add a hidden email field to the second form
  3. Place this new form on a new thanks for subscribing page
  4. Then in the settings of your primary subscription form, add a confirmation that redirects successful entries to your thanks for subscribing page, but add a URL parameter with their email address to populate the hidden email field on the secondary form (this is the most complex step)
  5. Use Zapier (or similar) to make it all flow into your ESP

Ask the Perfect Question in your welcome email

You could ask the Perfect Question in the welcome email instead. It would be a very similar process to the above, but instead of redirecting, you’d just link to the form in the very first email you send.

You might even consider this as an additional step to try to catch those subscribers who slipped through without answering your Perfect Question.

But you really want to get that insight from your Perfect Question because without it, you’re just guessing what your new subscriber needs from you.

P.S. Would you benefit from a little more clarity around your newsletter strategy? Grab 20 minutes to chat with me for free (I love to help).