Great email marketing isn’t a set-and-forget task.
If you want to generate real results with your email campaigns, you need to focus on constantly optimizing and improving your strategy. The best way to do this is usually with data.
Most companies today are sending at least a couple of emails a month, if not a few emails a week to their target audience. Every time your customer opens an email or interacts with your business it generates data you can use to make better marketing decisions.
If you’re not using data in your email marketing strategies yet, you could be missing out on some serious opportunities for growth. Today, we’re going to cover some of the kinds of data you should be leveraging, and how you can make the most of your insights.
Step 1: Set a Plan for Collecting and Using Data
The good news is that most (if not all) email marketing software solutions will come with access to tools specifically to help you leverage your data. Even the basic versions of most email campaigns will allow you to track things like open rates for your latest campaigns, unsubscribe rates, and so on.
To ensure you’re leveraging your analytics tools correctly, you’ll need a plan. After all, you can have all the information in the world available at your fingertips, but you still won’t accomplish much if you don’t have a plan for using it. Start by:
- Setting specific goals: Setting goals gives you an insight into the kind of data you need to collect. For instance, if your main focus right now is on increasing the number of conversions you get for a specific product, you’ll need to track things like click-through and conversion rates from email campaigns linked to that product.
- Define your KPIs: Ask yourself which metrics are the most important to defining your progress towards your goals. In the example above, examining both your click-through rates and conversion rates is helpful. If people are clicking to your website but not converting, you know it’s your landing pages, not the emails that aren’t making an impact.
- Decide how to analyze the data: Learning how to analyze data can be a little complicated at first. Having someone on-hand who understands email marketing is often helpful. They can tell you things like, why a bad open rate might be something to do with your sender name or subject lines.
Step 2: Know the Different Kinds of Data
There are many different kinds of data you can use to make a difference to your marketing campaigns. Most kinds of data have a specific purpose and benefit attached to them. For instance:
Demographic data refers to things like the age, location, and sex of your subscribers. You can usually collect information like this when you ask someone to subscribe to your newsletter, provided you go beyond simply adding for a name and email address.
If you don’t want to ask for too much personal information straight away, wait for your customer to set up an account with your website, or ask them to fill out their client profile.
Demographic data is great for segmenting your audience. The more information you collect about your users, the more you can adapt your marketing campaigns to send people messages that really appeal to them. It’s a good idea to avoid collecting too much data too fast during your sign-up forms, as numerous form fields can be overwhelming for visitors.
Usually, preference data is collected when your customer fills out information on their user profile. Unlike demographic data, preference data can change over time.
For instance, your customer might start off wanting to receive regular weekly emails from you, then decide they only want to hear from you every other week. Giving your customers a chance to change their preferences with a specific part of their profile is a great way to reduce the risk of them unsubscribing.
Create a page on your website where your customers can log in to determine how often you send them messages from your editorial calendar. Remember, you should also give your customers plenty of opportunities to unsubscribe too.
Usually, you won’t collect transactional data straight from your email marketing campaigns, but you can usually connect most popular email marketing software tools to your ecommerce or website builders, so you can track sales funnels and purchases.
Collecting transactional data from your ecommerce platform is one of the best ways to enhance the quality of your email campaigns. You can use this information to send customers product update emails based on items they’ve bought in the past, or even suggest relevant purchases to them according to their preferences.
Your transactional data powers transactional emails, which let your customers know you’ve safely received payment for their product, and where they can go to track your delivery. It’s also a great way to see who your most valued customers are, so you can create a list of VIP clients too.
Recent behavioral data is probably the kind of information companies use most often in their email marketing campaigns. With recent behavioral data, you can track information like which of your emails are gaining the most engagement (clicks and opens), and which pages are getting attention from your audience. You can also track things like popular products, and which kinds of customers make the most purchases.
Behavioral data is also at the heart of sending behavioral marketing campaigns, like abandoned cart automated emails. When someone leaves your website without purchasing anything, you can use that data to send an immediate email to your customer reminding them to make the purchase.
Abandoned cart emails are one of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a conversion, even after a customer has left your site. After all, there are many reasons why someone might abandon your website without making a purchase. Some simply get distracted by something else, while others want to “shop around” and forget to come back later.
Sending an email at just the right time ensures you don’t miss out on an opportunity to convert a client just because they were temporarily distracted.
Step 3: Designing Data-Driven Campaigns
Generally, using data in your email campaigns will mean combining various tools to collect information from different areas. While your email marketing software will give you a basic insight into things like which campaigns are working, you’ll still need to use other data sources to determine which strategies to try next. Collect all your data from:
- Your email marketing tools: This is where you’ll find out which of your emails are having the biggest impact on different segments of your audience. It’s also where you might want to align data from your website, and landing pages for easier sales funnel planning.
- Website analytics: This shows you things like which customers are purchasing which products, which of your pages are getting the most attention, and how customers interact with your site before making a purchase.
- Landing pages and sign-up forms: This is where you’ll collect basic demographic data and occasionally preference data from your customers to help you create your campaigns.
Once you’ve got all of your data in one place, you can use it to create an email marketing campaign based on your available information. For instance, with your sign-up forms and landing pages, you could segment your audience for an upcoming event into different groups based on their location.
Using your website analytics, you can thank customers for signing up for the event and send them content from your website about what they can expect, what their schedule looks like, and more. For people who haven’t signed up yet, you can use the same website data to determine what usually pushes customers to a conversion. If you know your attendees get excited about guest speakers, for example, you can send an email listing who’s present at the event, complete with a discount code.
Using your email marketing tools, you can track which offers and emails cause customers on the fence to convert and which emails keep existing customers excited about your event, causing them to share on social media or refer friends.
Using Data in your Email Marketing Campaigns
Bringing data into your email marketing campaigns might sound complicated at first – but it’s surprisingly easy in today’s world. There are countless tools out there to help you collect the information you need for every stage of the marketing funnel. Once you’ve got that data, the toughest part is just figuring out how you’re going to use that data to create more powerful, personalized campaigns.
Don’t forget to continue collecting information about your campaigns as you send them out, so you can see which of your efforts are paying off. After a while, you’ll get into a lucrative cycle of using and collecting data.