Love your email data

Man at computer looking over his shoulder, smiling.

Calling all marketers. Whether you're B2B or B2C you don't need me to tell you that email marketing is cost effective and useful.

Marketing industry surveys about trends for 2019 point to a greater use of cleaner email data - but what's the best way to get more out of your email data and make 2019 the year you really LOVE email data for marketing?

This is the first of a three part blog series on Loving Email Data...

There are 3 areas we're going to look at;

  • improving email marketing
  • reducing costs and getting more efficient
  • planning ahead and making better decisions

We're starting with the most obvious place, focusing on email data to help improve your email marketing.

What's your relationship with your email data right now? In fact - where does your relationship with your email data actually start?

Filter your email data before it gets into your system

Does your company gather email addresses online from sign-ups and sales processes? If so, do you filter it before it gets into your system? Nope? You should. Every relationship needs to be built on trust. But how can you trust your email data if it's doing the dirty on you in the first place? The easiest way to improve your email marketing is to make sure your data is clean from the second you start using it.

If you're not using an API to verify email addresses at sign-up, you're missing a valuable marketing tool

Not sure what an email sign up API does? It checks emails for typos and disposable addresses as soon as they have been typed in. No more bad email addresses getting onto your database. You can also choose whether to let people who use disposable emails sign-up. It's obvious they don't want to hear from you again - so why let them onto your mailing list? Your open rates will improve when your data is cleaner and if your open rates improve, so will your deliverability. You'll get more emails opened and more emails delivered.

If you use an email checking API for sign-ups you'll still need to give your data regular email validation sweeps to check for good email addresses that have gone stale over time. 

Build a relationship with clean email data and play around with more than just sending emails. 

By analysing your email data you can find out more about your customers. For instance, are they using business email addresses or free domains, what country are they in? Here's some ideas to get you thinking about getting closer to your email data;

  • Compare domains to see if people connect with you at work or at home
  • See what your open rates are like for different domains
  • Think about domain advertising and email delivery timed for lunchtimes or evenings
  • What's the value of your email list to partners?
  • Clean and profile your email data, add it into a data tool (like Data Studio) and see what transpires...

Most relationships are one to one rather than one to many; so create email campaigns that don't feel like campaigns - more like one to one emails.

Email marketing personalisation

Personalisation is the come-back-again buzzword. I'm old enough to remember marketing in the 1990's, when direct (snail) mail was all the rage. Response rates for campaigns went through the roof when mail merge allowed marketers to PUT A NAME IN THE SALUTATION LINE - can you imagine the opportunities we explored when we could suddenly contact people by NAME? 

Things go full circle. Just take a look at any Martech stack and you'll see how marketers are making links between data profiles to learn more about the behaviour and patterns of customers. The tools we have at our fingertips to use data are almost endless - yet the buzz for predicted trends of 2019 is still around personalisation - just the same as it was back in 1995...

Your data is complex but emails are simple and powerful

You get your email data from sign-ups, CRM, new accounts, shows, stores... I don't know what your footprint is for data gathering, but I bet it comes from different places and is bolted together. So it can get complex and hard to pin down. As a marketer you have to get a hold of it and make it work for your campaigns. No matter how complex your data gets, focus on the fact that at the heart of all the data you have is your old friend the email address.

What does the lovely email address give you? A powerful, immediate connection to your opted in customers. It's your gateway to a special place in their hearts and an immediate connection to a real person with a private message.

If your customers have opted in and you're getting in touch with useful, valuable content you have everything to gain by loving your data.

The take-homes from this blog?

  • Filter your emails at sign-up (especially for disposable email addresses) and regularly check them too
  • Analyse your email data alongside your other business data to get ideas for segmentation and better campaigns
  • Personalise your emails and add extra value by using data from your customers' profile

An email address is private and valuable. If someone trusts you with their email address they like you. So take time to love your email data, put it at the heart of your marketing and have a host of more rewarding, private conversations with your customers this season.

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