Research will vary as to how much extra engagement this might lead to but it stands to reason that if you offer a vote over something your customers are truly interested in, rates can only go in one direct. Plus, of course, a vote will usually take that customer to your website to see their choice logged and, usually, see how overall opinion is shaping up. It also gives email marketers a very good reason to send a follow up email to each person who expressed an opinion so they can see how the final vote went.
What is probably more important, it can truly refine the data you hold on each customer which can only help with the hot topic of the day -- personalisation. Forgive me for thinking in terms of wine but you can add a twist for whatever industry you are working in. If you wanted to find out which cheese should be sold alongside red wine for example, you could ask through a poll. Whether the winner is stilton, cheddar or brie, you will have received an insight in to which customers like which particular cheese and that can only be good news for working on future offers.
Same again through selecting which type of red they might enjoy in front of a log fire or after a country walk. Whatever bit of fun you're having with your customers it can actually feed back in to your view of each customer. It could be combined to which white makes the perfect fish accompaniment. Then, when working out an offer of 'winter warming reds' you know exactly which white to tempt each customer with at check out. Or perhaps the offer could be in the email itself. Get the winter red collection and a bottle of white at half price or free, with each segment of recipients being offered the bottle they'd previously voted for.
A computer games company, for example, recently had some fun by allowing customers to vote for which of its characters customers would like to become President of the US. What a great way to build three or four segments of fans of each character. It could give great insight in to not just which games people are buying but which characters they like which could inform how subsequent games are marketed, even if they feature a different character who is similar to the hero they voted for to become President.
There's a lot of fun to be had with polls but also, there's a lot of customer data out there that can be gleaned from asking people to slot themselves in to one of three or four slots. Great for segmentation and a shot in the arm for personalisation. So get those thinking caps on. Who would your customers love to get a Christmas present from, what are they hoping to find under the tree for themselves, who is the hardest in the family to buy for? There is no end to the potential to encourage engagement and boost customer data all year round but Christmas is a particularly opportune time.