If you have a question, ask it

It seems like a simple piece of advice: If you have a question, ask it. And while we may take that to heart in our personal lives or to make sure we get a project done correctly on time, it's less likely that we'll ask a question of our customers.

Do you really know what they're thinking every day? Probably not, even if you're in customer support. So if you're wondering why something you're doing isn't working, or why you're not getting the results you hoped for from an experiment or campaign, it might be time to ask.

There's lots of ways to do this—surveys, focus groups, and the like. But the best way, like most things, is the simplest. Literally, just ask.

How We Asked

At Litmus, we were wondering about our subscribers. We have a lot more subscribers than we do customers—so what was stopping them from converting? So we decided to ask.

The copy to the left is what we sent all of our subscribers that we knew weren't already customers. Sweet, simple, and to the point—no survey required. All we asked people to do was to respond with a reason why they hadn't signed up.

We were totally unprepared for what happened next. 1000 responses later...


What We Learned

What we learned surprised us. First, that our subscribers were more awesome than we already thought they were—they were totally willing to engage with us and answer our questions. Many were apologetic that they weren't customers. Many already were, but liked us so much that they wanted to receive our content from their personal account, not their company one. 

I love how you guys practice what you preach. Your email design is awesome.

And many had no idea what we did.

We had subscribers who have been reading our content for years not know what our products were. Or they thought they did. Or they didn't know we had a product for their role. Or they confused us with a competitor or partner.

The biggest thing we learned: We need to ask more questions! Asking this simple question kicked off a ton of debate and discussion about how we talk about ourselves and what product marketing is at Litmus. It's completely influenced our strategy—all because we decided to ask.

If there's anything you're curious about, or stuck on, it's time to start talking, and start asking.

Read this next: Asking the Right Questions