Data, data, data. And more . . . Data.
Accurate and quality customer data is the precursor to any successfully executed email campaign. Without it, you’ll be stuck with early 2000’s-style “spray and pray” email tactics that achieve low response rates and give you little to no return on your investment (ROI). Targeting, customization, device optimization and personalization are all proven tactics that increase email engagement, but are only possible with good data in the back end. Here are a few steps you should take to start managing and leveraging your data better for email Marketing :
Centralize it! If possible, try to centralize your customer data in a single system that can easily integrate with your Email Marketing platform. If you have a Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) system, you’re off to a good start! If not, you might want to look into the different CRM systems and data marts available to help your cause.
DID YOU KNOW? Email platforms such as Marketo and even our very own Centermark allow you to integrate lead lists and data from your various sources (CRM, POS system, etc.) into a central database that lives natively within the system. While it’s not advisable to rely solely on your email platform to manage your customer data long term, it can be a good option for franchise businesses dealing with fragmented data and disparate systems spread across the network.
Get to know your audience (even better): If you’re still in business, you likely have a decent understanding of your target customers. However, customer behavior is ever evolving alongside new technologies and the World Wide Web, providing Marketers with more and more tracking capabilities and insight into their customers’ interests and shopping tendencies Online.
TACTICAL TIP! It’s important to be set up with the backend infrastructure that allows you to track and record how people are responding to all the Marketing campaigns you execute. Whether it’s email, Direct Mail, Online Advertising, Social Media, etc. – it is possible to obtain response information from all your Marketing channels. For businesses that are already leveraging basic customer contact and demographic data, try enriching your customer profiles with Online behavioral and response data. Of course, proper application of step one is recommended and practically required to make this happen.
Apply what you know: Remember when we said targeting, customization, personalization, etc. are only possible with good data? Well here we are… Once you have a solid data management system in place, start analyzing and manipulating your data to curate specific customer segments for targeted email campaigns. For example, target your baby-boomers with tailored messaging that resonates with their generation, or run a promotional campaign that delivers special offers to customers on their birthday. The possibilities are endless!
And don’t feel intimidated if you are new to Email Marketing. Start with simple campaigns and slowly work your way to more sophisticated targeting and segmentation.
*ACTIONABLE RECOMMENDATION: Divide your new customers and returning customers into segments, then deliver them different versions of a Holiday offer (eg. Discount on new purchases vs. an upsell incentive). These relatively simple tactics will likely provide better ROI than blasting a blanket offer to all.
Stay tuned for my next blog post on Top Email Tactics for the Holiday Season and comment below if you have questions or feedback on this post!