Update to Email Campaign Functionality in SurveyGizmo

Our usability experts and the customer support team here at SurveyGizmo are happy to announce significant improvements to SurveyGizmo’s email campaign interface.

We have just released a series of front-end interface upgrades for email campaigns to make them easier to use (and much harder to make mistakes with!).

We hope these changes will help you and future users feel confident using our email services while reducing any confusion or problems that our old interface may have caused.

 At the start of this project, our support team collected feedback from hundreds of customers. With their guidance we designed a more streamlined, easier-to-use experience that we hope will be a vast improvement for everyone who needs to use emails with their surveys.

In particular, this upgrade addresses the following problems:

  1. Email composition fields were tiny and hard to work with. They’re now much larger and easier to navigate.
  2. The interface was cramped and confusing. It’s now spacious and intuitive.
  3. Uploading contacts required a huge amount of work and patience. You can now add emails with just a few clicks, and much less waiting.
  4. Previously you could inadvertently duplicate contacts during uploads. Now our system will alert you of any emails that are repeats.
  5. Two features (Survey Save and Continue and Email Edit links) used to conflict and cause bad experiences for respondents.
  6. The old system made it difficult to preview your email and test your messages before sending. Now you can see how your emails will look and test to your heart’s content.
  7. The interface was not step-by-step, which caused scenarios that could stall or delay email sends. Our new wizard-like interface ensures that emails will send when scheduled.
  8. It used to be difficult to see a detailed history of all reminders and invitations, but you can now see a historical overview of all the emails that you’ve sent.

We recommend existing customers take a few moments to get familiar with the changes. We hope you’ll agree the interface is cleaner and easier to use!

We’ll be uploading new videos and incorporating inline help with the new campaign interface shortly! 

Upcoming Changes to Email in SurveyGizmo

We’re making these changes to make it easier for our customers to send emails with SurveyGizmo, and in the next few days we’ll be upgrading the background technology so that it’s easier for our system to send email too.

This upgrade will improve deliverability and stop the occasional stalled campaign that a small percentage of our customers experience.

These twin projects have come about because over the last 8 years the volume of emails sent out by SurveyGizmo users has skyrocketed. While exciting, the sheer number of emails going out is requiring us to dedicate time, staff and architecture to ensure email deliverability.

We want to continue to improve our email systems so that you can email surveys with confidence, and in order to do that we will begin enforcing limits on email campaigns starting in June. We’ll be charging users who send a high volume of emails extremely competitive (actually, really cheap) fees.

Email limits will be based on your plan level as follows:

Basic: 5,000 contacts per survey
Professional: 10,000 contacts per survey
Premier: 20,000 contacts per survey
Enterprise: 50,000 contacts per survey
Dedicated: 250,000 contacts per survey

If you reach your limits for a particular survey, you can purchase credits to send more. These will cost $100 per 20,000 contacts.

For our existing customers who frequently send bulk emails, you will get a discount and a block of starter credits.

As always, we are working our hardest to make SurveyGizmo fast, easy, and affordable so you can survey (and email!) with confidence.

For more details, check out our documentation about sharing your survey via email.





collecting survey responses with a panel




Join the Conversation
  • JoshS

    One of the main reasons we decided to sign up with SG rather than some competitors was the unlimited emails. This is not good, “actually, really cheap” or not. I understand what you are trying to do and appreciate the effort to improve the platform. I would rather see a marginal increase in the overall costs of the platform tiers than adding restrictions (what is next, limited number of completes and additional cost per complete?!?). There is a huge gap in the research industry between survey platforms…you either pay peanuts and have limitations or pay a fortune and get it all. SG was the closest to the middle we could find, well, *was.

    • Christian Vanek

      Hi Josh!

      Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate where you are coming from!

      We’re deliberately making sure we maintain the middle-ground stance in terms of modest cost and super powerful features. After all, that’s our main strategy. However, we do need to be fiscally responsible too!

      (Fiscal responsibility is different than greed. For example, we are *never* going to charge you for completes per month or “overage” for surveys. There would be no point in doing that other than greed.)

      Email is a different story. Email delivery on a mass scale is expensive to do it well. It requires dedicated staff and technological architecture that is totally different than survey architecture.

      Plus, we so many people emailing we’re having to form relationships with major ISPs just to get our email delivered — and monitor continuously for abuse. Although we didn’t intend it… we have become an email service provider — but that’s not what we based our pricing on.

      Here’s why we went with the pricing we did. I’m happy to hear your opinion on it!

      The reason we went with built-in “free” contacts per survey rather than increasing everyone’s costs was based on our analysis of the customer usage. 80% of our customers send emails within these limits already, generally cause no spam complaints, blacklisting, architecture burden or additional support costs. So asking them to pay more didn’t seem fair.

      Instead we’re asking the 20% of customers who account for more than 90% of all our email transmission and delivery issues to pay a little more for their usage.

      You might note we’re actually not charging by email, we’re charging by contacts. Similar to most email service providers (like MailChimp). This is to simplify the use of our reminder email feature. You don’t have to worry about running out of additional credits and creating a maintenance nightmare. Once a contact is uploaded — you can send them as many emails for that survey as you need to.

      As an existing customer we’ll also give you a huge discount on credits for at least a year. Plus, if you are paying for an annual account (and I think you are) then you get twice those limits.

      After the system is out and proven to work, we’ll also give discounts if your average bounce rates are low and if you adhere to good email standards! We haven’t worked that part of the system out yet.

      We’re also discussing letting you use this “credit” system for other things, like automatic survey incentive fulfillment (amazon gift cards, etc).

      I hope the more detailed explanation helps you understand why we went this route rather than just a flat increase in costs.

      Sincerely,

      Christian Vanek
      CEO & Founder, SurveyGizmo

      • Mark Jowett

        I am having a few difficulties with the new features particularly ‘Campaign Designer’ but not having any response to the numerous emails I have sent asking for support. Is there a problem?? In addition, the ‘Save and Continue’ feature has changed to enable the respondent to use the initial link for this feature which is great, however doesn’t work. Can someone respond to my difficulties please.

        • Christian Vanek

          Mark,

          Hopefully the support team has gotten back to you! I’ll direct them to this post as well!

          -Christian

        • Christian Vanek

          Mark,

          I just checked with the support team. They say that the last emails they received from you were from Friday and both were answered. Can you pop in and chat with an agent if your issues are still outstanding?

          [update] Wendy, the morning support manager is also going to reach out to you and make sure you have everything you need!

          Cheers,

          -Christian

        • Christian Vanek

          Mark,

          Hopefully you got an email yesterday. It looks like we had a problem getting support tickets into ZenDesk last Friday. We dug in and found the issue. Looks like 55 other customers were unable to contact us over the last 5 days. Fortunately we found their email addresses in server logs!

          Sometimes technology just isn’t fun to work with!

          Thanks for letting us know about the issue. It’s *really* appreciated.

          Cheers,

          -Christian

      • LorenzoI

        Thanks Christian

        For clarification, in your response you say “per contact” limits, but also then go on to say $100 per 20,000 additional email sends.

        So, is the cost for 20,000 more emails or 20,000 more contacts per survey?

        • Christian Vanek

          Sorry — you’re right. It’s so natural to say “email sends” and that’s not accurate. It is for contacts.

          If you don’t use all the “extra” contacts that you buy then we will bank them for you and you can use them across surveys for other campaigns too!

          -Christian

          • LorenzoI

            Thanks for clarifying.

            Have a nice day.

          • matthilluk

            this didnt work for us. We tried sending out reminders to contacts who had already been emailed, it tried taking credits off us for this, therefore that indicates we are being charged per email, not contact.

          • sgizmo

            Hi Matt,

            Reminders are included in your subscription and you are not charged for them. If you are still experiencing any issues, please feel free to give us a call directly, 720-496-2313 and we’ll be happy to take a look at your account.

            Thank you,

            SurveyGizmo Team

      • JoshS

        Christian,

        I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this personally (and other comments as well). That says a lot. Very interesting numbers and I wish they were shared in the article above. We currently use MailChimp for some of our email marketing pieces and are very familiar with their pricing structure. I just wish there were other measures you could take to prevent email marketing abuse or ISP abuse. Also, I never meant to imply this change was motivated by greed. I think your prices are very low and likely cost-effective for some businesses, but my concerns are the additional limitations being imposed on the platform and the variable cost structure. For us I cannot tell you how difficult it is to tell a client something cannot be done and it is based on one limitation or another. In addition, we get client lists that are quite large and clients believe will yield 100% response rates when it is actually closer to <5%. I hope that the portion of your customers that go over those limits (currently) will continue to send at those levels and buy credits to fund the email architecture improvements and staff. Perhaps fewer irresponsible emails will help on its own. I do think you have a great product (I sat through at least 15-20 demos or trials of various platforms in your general price range) and I hope you continue to innovate/thrive. No response is necessary, just voicing my opinion.

        • Christian Vanek

          Hi Josh!

          I really appreciate you taking the time to write in and voice your concerns!!

          It’s my pleasure to help answer questions and provide insight into our thoughts! Frankly, I’m the CEO of a company that has no investors to “negotiate” and a really amazing team running the company open-book style. So I have plenty of time to talk to everyone!!

          Sorry I didn’t put the stats in. Honestly, while we are pretty transparent we’re not very good at communicating proactively yet. We’re making a concerted effort though and learning from all the feedback!

          We really resisted acknowledging that we’ve become an ESP. Now we’ve decided to own it and become the best at it that we can be. We’ll make it work and make sure it’s affordable.

          We also use Mailchimp and we’ve run into their limitations recently. It was eye opening to be in the shoes of a customer dealing with those issues. I think that might have been a turning point (and a great reminder) for us.

          Keep the feedback coming. We’re working to make this change as least-onerous as possible!!!

          Cheers,

          -Christian

          FOOTNOTE: Oh, I can’t complain too much about Mailchimp. We love them and they have been super nice to us.

      • Kevin

        Christian,

        N of one here, but the automatic incentive fulfillment sounds like a great idea. I do this manually, causing a delay for my respondents. It would be a service to the industry – generating goodwill and confidence among respondents – to automate this process. Your out-of-the-box thinking at Survey Gizmo continues to impress.

        Best,
        Kevin

        • sgizmo

          Thank you for the feedback, Kevin! We will be sure to pass this on to Christian.

          -SurveyGizmo Team

    • Dustin

      Well Josh, not everyone needs unlimited email sends. You have to understand that this uses a lot of resources and at the end of the day someone has to pay for it. Just like you don’t like the increase in cost in this area I am sure there are quite a few more that would object with your plan to increase the tiered pricing. You are still getting your bulk emails for a lot less then the aforementioned systems that “cost a fortune”. Be happy that you have found your middle ground and still don’t have to pay all that much for it. No such thing as a free lunch.

      I am much more concerned about the move away from phone support, which was the deciding factor for us using SG. But once again.. this is just one customer’s opinion.

      • Christian Vanek

        Dustin,

        Similar reasoning though. I can give you some more insight into that too.

        We’re keeping our phone number on the WWW site and all our agents have phones. Really the big change is that we’re asking customers not to use phone support unless they have to.

        Interestingly, we discussed removing phones altogether and it was the support team that nearly rioted on behalf of our customer base. :-)

        What’s also interesting about phone support is that like email campaigns, ~60% of it is taken up by only 300 users. These are the same users month over month (some of them for 7 years). In fact, most of them have spent so much time on the phone each month their accounts are no longer in the positive for LTV.

        We also learned that 96% of all active customers in a given month never contact support. 87% never contact support at all — ever. They use our new documentation tools and video tutorials.

        All of which is fascinating. We decided to “officially” end phone support — but keep phones available if a customer has an emergency. We then put those customer support heros on chat and sent them to work with the development team to help sand down hard to use parts of SurveyGizmo. (We’re also rotating them into the documentation team to help add and keep documentation updated.)

        Basically these changes let our team members help a large number of customers — and hopefully help customers before they need help by eliminating difficult to use areas in our application that cause problems.

        Email campaigns was first. Reporting is next — there’s a fair amount of power there… but it’s super hard to use all of it.

        Feel free to call us when you need to…. we just ask that you try self-service first. That’s what helps us keep support in-house and our product affordable!

        Really, that’s our end goal.

        Cheers,

        -Christian

      • JoshS

        Dustin, not really sure why you are telling me what I “have to understand.” I am going to fight for what I believe is best for my company and best for the SG platform and as you state, it is just one customer’s opinion anyway. I am not sure why you are being such an advocate for SG and bringing up resources needed or “quite a few” other customer’s concerns. I am not looking for a free lunch and in fact think SG should raise their tier prices to be players in the “middle ground.” When I mention platforms that are expensive, I am not talking about two, three times, or even ten times more than SG. I am talking about platforms that are 30x more expensive than SG, but we still have to use them because SG cannot always handle every need of a study. This is my concern; that SG will turn out to be a very cheap, but limited platform with tons of red tape. I am not part of that 87% that never contact support. I almost constantly contact support because I am trying to help SG be a better platform by calling out issues.

        • Dustin

          So you are saying that by catering to what only a small percentage of their customers want makes them a better platform? That makes no sense. You indeed want a ‘free lunch’ since you are advocating for increased costs for ALL users just for your special needs.

          • sgizmo

            Dustin, we hear you and appreciate your feedback but feel this approach is the best solution for maintaining a modest price structure for and super powerful features.

          • JoshS

            My opinions are based on having used several platforms and tested countless others. I do think my suggestions would make a better overall platform. It may cause SG to lose some current customers (within some tiers…maybe), but continue to gain market share on their larger competitors. Still think their prices are too low to maintain a better overall platform in the long term.

          • Christian Vanek

            Hi Josh!

            Sorry for the delay getting back to you! Memorial week and all.

            You don’t really have to be concerned about our ability to serve at this price. We’re endless optimizers and nicely profitable.

            The main difference between us and many of our competitors at this point is we are not venture backed.

            On the plus side, this means we are free to serve our customers by maximizing value over profits. On the downside, the entire company meets every week on Thursdays and we go over our finances. Which means we’re endlessly optimizing.

            We pay a great deal of attention to long term sustainability (which is the reason for this change) and great service (for everyone, not just a few).

            So what you might find interesting the growth potential of our various markets. Sadly, researchers are just not a large (or particularly fast growing) market… Willing to pay lots of money, yes (which they shouldn’t be… this is software not rocket science).

            Research firms very often choose from existing vendors with outbound & direct marketing sales teams. That’s not our strength — actually that’s our greatest weakness… we culturally dislike outbound sales.

            Our greatest ROI is from marketers, small business owners, developers and small research firms with 2-3 analysts that look at the price of competitors that they might have used in school and flip out.

            Oh, another fun fact about our core audiences is they don’t use SG for the same thing or the same way.

            It’s such a “fun” challenge to market to both groups without excluding the other.

            We’ve started steps to segment everyone a little more so we can add some advanced analytics features for researchers this year, and business process management features for the business folks.

            I can’t tell you how much fun running SurveyGizmo is. Amazing customers, amazing staff and endless difficult (but totally solvable) problems.

            Te email system launches today (or tomorrow max) They delayed when they found a way to speed up email transmission last week. Let’s see what happens!

  • matthilluk

    Goodbye Survey Gizmo. We’ve been a supporter for a long time, but now feel incredibly let down. After weeks of system issues and unable to send surveys due to technical issues (clearly what was going on with emailgizmo behind the scenes), finally things seemed to be up and running again, yet today the email limits are dropped in. The limits are far too small and credits pricey. Also when the changes were announced I had a long chat with support regarding the proposed changes and I was told:
    1. We would receive 25% off credits due to being an established user.
    2. It was 10,000 per campaign NOT SURVEY.
    3. Reminders would not be included in the credit sends.

    We have campaigns all set up ready to go with reminders scheduled, and now, they cannot be sent. Thanks for wasting our time & effort.

    On the plus side, we had a backup survey company in the wings ready to go.

    • sgizmo

      Hi Matt,

      We apologize for the misunderstanding. We do offer a 25% discount, It is 10,000 per survey, and Reminders are not included in that, they are free.

      We are sorry to hear that this experience was not the best for you, and we are happy to cover the cost of this campaign for you to make it up to you.

      Please feel free to give us a call with any further questions: 720-496-2990

      Thank you,

      SurveyGizmo Team