3 simple steps for using data to shape your email communication//
In today’s world, we have more data available at our fingertips than ever before.
And, while that is a huge benefit, it’s only a benefit if we:
a) Collect the right data, and
b) Understand how we’re going to use that data for more meaningful communications.
With so much data available from lots of different sources (web, social, email, etc.) – it can be a bit overwhelming to know quite where to start.
I recently participated in a webinar by the CIM marketer magazine: Old Dog New Tricks – innovating email campaigns for the social media age. I thought the webinar contained some useful pointers for anyone who is embarking on an email marketing campaign and isn’t sure where to start when it comes to the data side of things. So, the advice is to start small, and here are my top three take-outs to help you get started:
1. Collect/Measure the right data
Think about what you’re looking to achieve from your activity (objectives) and make sure you’re looking at the right performance indicators when it comes to measurement. For example, if the objective of your campaign is to increase retention, make sure you’re measuring retention rates not acquisition rates, i.e. open rates and click through rates from existing customers not how many new leads have been generated by the campaign.
2. Understand what your data can tell you
Because there is so much emphasis on making sure you’re collecting customer data, sometimes it’s easy to overlook what a single piece of data can actually tell you. Take a simple ‘date of purchase’ field:
- If it is empty: highlights a potential lead
- If it shows a recent date: highlights a current customer
- If it shows a date 12 months+: highlights a lapsed customer
So, from one single data field you can isolate three different types of customer and use that information to shape your messaging/communications, e.g. rather than sending one blanket email to the whole database, segment your audiences and create messaging suitable for:
- Prospective customers (introductory offers, etc.);
- Existing customers (thank you for your purchase / other products you might want to try / leave a review);
- Lapsed customers (discount to tempt them back / new product information).
3. Treat customers as individuals
The number 1 reason why people disengage with email campaigns is that they feel content is no longer relevant to them. 41% of people surveyed by Forrester Research said they had disengaged with email campaigns that they felt were not relevant to them.
Recognise the difference between:
- A lead / prospective customer vs a current customer;
- An average value customer vs a high value customer;
- A repeat purchaser vs a new customer.
It’s important to know which is which. Think carefully when you are creating your segments for targeting – customers are not segments – demographic/geographic. Remember: they are individuals and they demand to be treated as such.
With the increase in popularity of social media, customers have got used to digesting information in bitesize pieces on their Twitter/Facebook newsfeeds. Great news for email communications – no requirement for masses of copy – the shorter the better. However, the downside is that customers are being spoilt by the level of personalisation that they receive through these social channels and expect the same level of personalisation from other channels.
We’re all familiar with the saying ‘Content is king’ – it’s true, but you need data to help you understand who to send what content to.
There’s a lot to take into account when embarking on an email marketing campaign. The best advice is to start with the basics, get them right and then expand out. Knowing what data to collect and how to use that data is a great place to start.