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How to use data to enhance the effectiveness of your email marketing

(Image credit: Image Credit: Evannovostro / Shutterstock)

Did you know there are 3x more email accounts than Facebook and Twitter accounts combined? Or that you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from email than on Twitter?

As a savvy marketer, you’ve probably seen the reports that show email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available. And you’re probably keen to start using it to drive sales and revenue for your business, while also looking for the next big thing to improve your campaign efforts.

But, the thing you’re looking for could be something you already have: subscriber data. The key to sending timely, relevant and effective emails is having and using the proper subscriber data. No more are the days of blasting the same email to every subscriber.

While most marketers understand the importance of data and using it to measure the performance of marketing tactics, it is vital that they also see the importance of using data and insights about their subscribers to create a personalised experience within their email marketing efforts.

What data to use

While there are a lot of different types of data that organisations can use to develop their email marketing strategies, there are four recommended data points that will give you a stronger place to start.

  • Demographics: This includes things like age, gender, etc. You may collect this type of information when someone signs up for your email newsletter or makes a purchase from your brand. Demographic data is ideal if you are looking to begin using basic segmentation, personalisation, and automation in your email marketing. If you do not currently have this information about your subscribers, then think about adding data fields in your newsletter sign-up form in order to capture this.
  • Geography: Using location-based data is useful for promoting business-specific or store-specific information and targeting certain markets while ignoring out-of-location subscribers where the message wouldn’t be relevant.
  • Market: When creating a cross-market campaign, it is useful to segment users based on their market/industry interest to avoid sending the same email to everyone. Instead, tailor the message to industry, product or market specific content.
  • Preference: Data about an individual’s communication preferences can simply be collected in a preference centre when they sign up for your newsletter. This could include: How often do you want to receive emails? Or what type of content do you want to receive?
  • Transactional: Do not let the transactional data sitting in your e-commerce platform go to waste. This is valuable data that can allow you to see who your high spending customers are, those who have not purchased anything in a while, and those who have previously purchased products in the past. With this data, you can send hyper-personalised and automated emails with product recommendations, product review forms, or even offer special promotion codes based on the previous amounts spent.
  • Behavioural: This type of data gives you the most up-to-date information on what your customers are currently interested in. You can collect this data in a few ways, such as what links they click on in an email or from their interactions on your site, including items they have added to their cart or products they have viewed.

Behavioural: This type of data gives you the most up-to-date information on what your customers are currently interested in. You can collect this data in a few ways, such as what links they click on in an email or from their interactions on your site, including items they have added to their cart or products they have viewed.

Benefits of using data

According to McKinsey, companies that use data to inform their campaigns outperform competitors by 85 per cent in sales growth. And it is quite easy to see why this is. If you are collecting the right data about your customers, you can easily improve your email marketing campaigns to increase conversion. This is because data allows marketers to use more advanced forms of email marketing such as personalisation, automation and segmentation, which we have then seen have a direct impact on customer engagement and increased ROI.

How to create a data-based strategy

There are three key ways that marketers can begin using customer data to build out their email marketing strategy.

  • Segmentation: With data, marketers can create highly targeted segments to ensure each email being sent is going to the customers who will benefit from it most. When using segmentation, you can keep it high-level, such as looking at customers who are at risk of churning, or you can narrow it all the way down to target people who have made a purchase in the last six months, spending more than a specific amount, and live in a specific location.
  • Personalisation: According to Experian Marketing Services, personalised emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than non-personalised emails. Depending on the level of data you have about your customers, personalisation could be as simple as adding a subscriber’s first name to the subject line or sending subscribers an email on their birthday with a special promotion. If you want to begin using more advanced levels of personalisation, you could consider showing product recommendations based on behaviour or aggregate data from a mobile app to provide weekly updates.
  • Automation: When data and email automation combine, marketers save time. By utilising customer data and putting a little more work into the front end, marketers can build automated campaigns that are triggered by certain dates or actions. Popular forms of automated emails include birthday emails, cart abandonment and welcome emails for new subscribers.

Finally, once this plethora of data is compiled, it is important to ensure that all campaigns are on brand and build trust. It is likely that email campaigns are not the only interaction subscribers are having with the business. In fact, subscribers have probably already visited the website or social media page to sign up for email.

Because of this, it is important that email campaigns are aligned with the colours, fonts, and branding used across all other customer touchpoints so that customers have a consistent experience with the brand.

Leah Miranda, Senior Email Marketing Manager, CM Group