How to use your email marketing data

Posted under Email

One of the best things about being an agency is that we have to be disciplined about tracking and managing data and reporting statistics, because we’re accountable to our clients. But in fact, this is best practice no matter what type of business you are.

There’s no reason to wait or put off a spot of data analysis when you send out your latest email-marketing message, as those insights could be the key to your next sale or conversion. It’s also advisable to review and segment lists as often as possible.

According to the Marketing Sherpa 2013 email benchmarking report, 60% of marketers think that email marketing is producing an ROI so how exactly do we guarantee that ROI?

We already know that personalising emails gets much better results than “blasting” one general message to all of our contacts, hoping that something sticks. If we use the tracking data from emails that we send and separate contacts into different lists we can plan both short term follow-ups and longer term nurture campaigns.

Tracking email marketing data

There are two main areas of data that you can use:

1. Tracking statistical data for emails that have been sent

Depending on which system you use, once you’ve despatched an email campaign there will be a report available to you. These reports will usually include data on the number of:

  • Opens
  • Click-throughs
  • Bounces
  • Unsubscribes

A good email marketing platform will also let you split test your emails, so you can expect to see split test results in a report too (you can split test subject lines and other variables in a message).

For every open, click-through, bounce and unsubscribe (in both the main sends and split tests) you will be able to see which email address that action came from.

Taking account of and analysing the results from your split test will also help to formulate the best approach for follow up emails. A common, but effective, variable to consider is if one subject line got more opens than the other. You can find out more about writing a great subject line in Dawn’s blog, ‘Which email subject lines work best?’

2. Captured contact data

As well as examining statistics from campaigns that have been sent, you can also be smart with storing email addresses into specific lists from the outset. This works particularly well where you encourage people to “sign up” for something.

Good examples include signing up to receive your free newsletter, attend an event, or receive a download. It’s relatively simple to set up forms on your website to capture these and put them straight into a unique list. That way you’ll know exactly what they’re interested in. The other contacts that you will acquire will be in the course of sale or doing business generally.

Make sure contacts automatically go into their own separate list or are tagged in some way so you can specifically target them later.

Below is an example of a targeted follow up email because my data has been used in this way. This company currently sends me messages specifically about London restaurants because I’ve clicked on links about London in their previous email marketing campaigns.

Targeted follow up email

This sort of approach to contact data also enables you to nurture contacts, adopting a longer term method of keeping in touch with them with a series of follow up emails that are of particular interest to them.

Using email marketing data to drive sales and conversions

1. Follow up campaign post e-mail marketing activity

You’re probably busy, so using your stats once you’ve completed an email sending process can seem like another time-consuming thing to do. It doesn’t have to be though, if you follow these tips:

  • Have a plan – before your emails even go out – what can you do to maximise an opportunity? Do you want to send a particular message to those who opened your first email? This could be with a call to action, offering something, as you know they read your first email. For those who followed a link and clicked through to look at something on your website, you know they’re interested so can you have an email ready to go to those people with an incentive?
  • Prepare the whole campaign in one go so once you’ve decided on what you could do in point 1, prepare those message at the same time as you do the first email.
  • Download the opens and click-throughs within a week of sending your email so you can action them in the same time period
  • Track and measure the results

You’ve probably worked out the connection with sales – your follow up messaging, if done well, will resonate with the recipient while it’s still relevant and fresh in their minds. This greatly increases your chances of some sort of conversion.

If you look after an eCommerce website then there are a specific set of email marketing techniques that will help you get conversions. Have a read of our blog on the best eCommerce email marketing techniques.

2. Create nurture campaigns

Using your segmented lists, you can develop a campaign targeted at a specific audience. These often work best in response to an action such as:

  • Downloading something from your website (where you captured their email address)
  • Recently ordering something/purchasing from you
  • Attending/signing up for an event that you’re running
  • Signing up for your email marketing from your website

All of these activities can group “sign ups” into targeted lists. Then you can develop a controlled campaign, striking while the iron is hot, for example:

  • Following a download action, send an email instantly to thank them and direct them to other useful content, then follow up in a fixed time period later – say a week or month with an incentive or sales email.
  • For an event – send reminders before, follow-ups and incentives after.
  • Recent orders – cross sell other things they might like and new releases related to their order
  • Signing up to hear from you – brilliant! Have a mini campaign ready to welcome them and follow up.

For some of this activity you can prepare messages well in advance using auto-responders so they go out automatically.

Karen McNulty

Karen joined Media Matters in 2007. She is an accredited trainer and Chartered Marketer (with the CIM) and has worked in the sector for over 20 years. She is passionate about technology and loves to keep up with new innovations and trends around Digital Transformation, digital marketing and cloud computing. A strategic, dynamic and innovative senior digital marketer, Karen has a rich and varied portfolio of experience in a variety of disciplines, industries and verticals.

Karen actually left us to pursue her interest in IT for a two year spell but couldn’t keep away! She has returned full of beans to raise the profile of digital and cloud marketing opportunities for business. Her role as operations director covers all things “techie" both in house and with on-boarding clients.