The importance of data management and consistency for email marketing

The importance of data management and consistency within your marketing programmes

When it comes to email marketing, do you apply data management to the inputs or just review the outputs from your campaigns.  Too many people focus on the wrong data. They obsess over open rates, click-through rates, or unsubscribe numbers.

While all that data has its uses, it’s also only part of the picture. Email clients can display your email in a preview window. The subscriber still reads the content but doesn’t show up in your list of subscribers who opened the email. Some subscribers might not click the first time they look at the email, but they may come back to it weeks later. If they click the link after you checked the report, it skews the data.

Don’t be a slave to data reporting. Focus on data management instead. It stops you from drawing the wrong conclusions about your audience. It also lets you build consistency in your marketing, leading to happier subscribers and more sales.

We’ll address both in this post, but let’s look at the importance of data management first.

Data Management Is the Key to Successful Marketing

Any email marketing platform gives you access to huge reams of data. What you do with that data determines your success.

Websand’s first principle of email marketing is that using data enables you to send the right email to the right person at the right time.

It’s all about what the subscriber needs, not you.

Using data management means you can check which messages go to the segments of your list. That’s crucial. Sending messages to the wrong segments damages your brand and undermines the effectiveness of your emails.

And many marketers focus on getting more subscribers. But sometimes you need to slash the number and clean out email addresses. Sending emails to wrong or outdated addresses leads to deliverability issues like bounced emails. That skews your data too.

Ask users to update their details so they get the emails they want. Or clean out addresses that always bounce emails back. Some marketers create a segment of subscribers who haven’t opened emails in the last six months. They email the user asking if they still want to be on the list. Letting the subscriber know you don’t want to pester them lets them feel you care about them.

Make sure your email platform records consent correctly so you have a history of when subscribers signed up. And it should honour unsubscribes. You’re breaking regulations to continue sending emails to people who have unsubscribed. With a good data management plan, those subscribers won’t hear from you unless they sign up again.

recording consent in WebsandWhich is how it should be.

Data management also means you can avoid the duplication of data. It’s good practice and it’s also one of your responsiblities within GDPR.  With some providers, a subscriber can sign up twice from two different forms. They appear as two separate contacts in your database. That means you end up paying twice for the same subscriber.  But it also means it’s difficult to manage from a personal data perspective.  Use data management to combine records by email address regardless of where they sign up. Just pay for them once, and get GDPR compliant

Send the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time

Trying adding personal data to your records to better personalise messages. Allowing subscribers to enter their birth date lets you send birthday offers. Makeup firm Illamasqua sends subscribers exclusive discount codes as a birthday gift.

You could also use this form of data management to add locations to your records. That’s helpful if you want to send a location-specific email. Say you have a new store opening in Basingstoke and you’re planning a launch event. You might prefer to only email those subscribers in southern England who are more likely to go.

Build analysis into your data management schedule. While we said you shouldn’t obsess over open rates and so on, it’s worth checking your reports regularly.

You’ll be able to determine which subject lines prompt higher open rates. Or perhaps there’s a better time of day for sending your emails.

Social media scheduling platform CoSchedule studied several reports about the timing of emails. You might follow a post like that and schedule your emails for Tuesday and Thursday.

However, be wary in following the herd on this.  Here’s a memorable quote from Megan at Wordstream:

That’s the advice. Now ignore it.

What works for others might not work for you.  Understanding your email marketing data will help, you might find more subscribers open your emails on a Friday.

We recommend that you automate emails as much as possible. Set them up so subscribers receive them at the right point. Perhaps they bought a product you know runs out after 30 days. You’d set up an automated email reminder to buy a replacement 20 days after their order.

But you may still want to send newsletters too. You must manage your data to know when the best time is to schedule them.

So How Does Data Management Impact on Your Consistency?

Customers are more likely to buy from a brand when they know, like, and trust them. Regular emails can help them get to know you. Useful emails that serve a purpose help them like you. Consistency gets them to trust you.

Why?

Think about your circle of friends. Which one do you turn to when you need help or advice? It’s the one who always comes through for you. The reliable one who consistently lends a hand. You turn to them time and again because you trust them. No one turns to the one who’s a lovely person but bails at the last minute or stops replying to messages for weeks at a time.

Your brand needs to be that reliable friend to your customers to earn their loyalty.

Follow the data management principles above to build a consistent email schedule. Your emails will show up in the right inboxes at just the right point your subscribers need them. It’s like you’ve anticipated their needs.

You don’t want to be that company that only emails when you want something. Leave it too long between emails and subscribers could forget who you are.

Send emails to serve a purpose and give the subscribers something in return for opening them.

Use data management to build consistency and boost your email marketing success.

If you’d like to talk through your data management issues, pop a comment below. But if you’d like more help to manage your data and build consistency, we’d love to help so please get in touch.


Also published on Medium.