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4 Ways to Use Data to Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Email Marketing

ANDREW KING - JUL 27, 2015

What if we told you that there was one thing you could do that would significantly enhance your email marketing?

That one thing is to use the data that you already have about your subscribers. You see, data is the key to sending relevant and timely emails, through segmentation, personalization, and automation.

In this post we’ll discuss the types of data that you should be using, how this data can be used to enhance the relevance of your emails, and finally, how to get that data into Campaign Monitor.

Types of Data You Should Be Using

Demographic

This is your basic A/S/L (age, sex, location) data that you might collect from subscribers when they sign up or make a purchase. This type of data generally doesn’t change very often; people don’t change their name, gender or location much (although all of those things could change), which makes this type of data ideal for basic segmentation, personalization and automated emails.

The San Diego Chargers preference center asks for a number of demographic details

Examples of demographic data

Preference

Preference data is usually collected through the same kind of preference center that was mentioned in the San Diego Chargers example and might include data regarding your subscriber’s preferred products, services, brands, size or frequency of mailing.

Lastminute.com ask for demographic and preference data in their preference center.

A good thing to remember is that preference data can change and become irrelevant over time. For example, someone might tell a travel company that they’re interested in visiting New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean you should only send them emails about New Zealand for the next two years.

It’s also important to note that most people won’t update their preferences if they do change, unless prompted, so it’s a good best practice to remind your subscribers to update their preferences periodically.

Examples of preference data

Transactional

Liberating your transactional data from your e-commerce platform is one of the best things you can do for your email program. Importing this data into your ESP (email service provider) can dramatically improve your segmentation and personalization, and opens up a new world of automated emails.

This data allows you to identify who your best customers are, who’s about to lapse, or who hasn’t made a purchase yet.

Examples of transactional data

Behavioral

Recent behavioral data is the most reliable indicator of what your subscribers are interested in right now. This type of data might be collected from an email (opens/clicks) or from your website (pages browsed/items carted).

The most common type of behavioral email is a cart abandonment trigger, which usually goes out within 24 hours of subscribers abandoning their cart. However, many technologies are now available which allow you to follow-up pretty much any action that a subscriber takes on your website. That sounds a bit stalker-ish, but I assure you that it can be used to send helpful, relevant emails based on the products, services or topics they have recently browsed.

Connecting Lytics and Campaign Monitor can give you access to this type of behavioral data. Lytics combines your users’ behaviors from your other marketing tools with historical email data. This enables you to create custom segments based on how your users interact with your brand.

Examples of behavioral data

What can you do with the data?

There’s no point in doing a data integration if you don’t know what you plan on doing with the data. Typically, your plans will fall into three buckets – segmentation, personalization or automation.

Segmentation

Having a rich data set within your ESP opens up some great opportunities to create highly targeted segments, which combine demographic, preference and transactional data.

For example, you could target people of a particular gender, who are interested in a particular product category, have made a purchase in the last year, and spent over a certain amount. Now that’s a targeted segment!

Birchbox used segmentation to identify their churning customers and target them with this win-back campaign.

Personalization

Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than non-personalized emails, but 70 percent of brands fail to take advantage of that, according to Experian Marketing Services. This is most likely due to a lack of data, easy-to-use personalization tools, and the time-consuming nature of testing personalized email content.

However, with the right tools and data, it can be very easy to implement. A few examples of how I’ve seen brands use personalization include:

Fitbit has used the data from its mobile app to send this highly personalized weekly summary email.

Automated emails

Sending automated emails would not be possible without data. Whether it’s a new subscriber joining your list, a birthday, or a cart abandon, data is required to trigger the correct email.

The timeliness of these emails is also extremely important — there’s no point in sending a shipping confirmation email after the package has arrived. Topshop take email automation seriously. The example below is sent within hours of a subscriber adding items to their cart and not making a purchase. As you can see, they have taken a customer-service approach to see if the subscriber had any issues finding an item or making a purchase. They have also nicely personalized the content of the email with the actual products that were abandoned.

So how do I get this data into Campaign Monitor?

Now that you’ve determined what data you have access to and what you’d like to do with it, it’s time to figure out how to get it into Campaign Monitor.

Generally,  you have three options.

Manual upload

Manually uploading data is one of the easiest and quickest way to get data into Campaign Monitor. The downside is that it can open you up to human error (uploading the wrong list) and you can’t send timely automated workflows if you aren’t uploading your new data on a regular basis. However, if you’re new to email marketing this may be a good first option to begin with.

API

Hopefully you’re aware that Campaign Monitor has an API? This allows developers to automatically sync data between your CRM, ecommerce system or apps on a regular basis, so you don’t need to worry about refreshing your data. The other benefit to this is that automated workflows can be triggered as soon as the data enters Campaign Monitor.

Pre-built integrations

Want to integrate with your external data sources, but don’t have access to a developer? Don’t worry, we have over 100 pre-built integrations. These integrations allow you to easily connect with some of the most popular ecommerce and CRM tools around such as Salesforce, Magento, Shopify and Woo Commerce.

In conclusion

Having an integration can seem like a daunting task for many marketers, but it doesn’t have to be complex — even simple pieces of data such as location, gender, and product preference can open up a number of possibilities.

Now that you know how to use data to enhance your email marketing, you can implement segmentation, personalization and automation. Let us know how you are using data in a creative ways.

Your turn: How do you use data to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns? And what have you found the results to be? Share your experience and best practices in the comments below.

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