Data management is an integral part of any email marketing campaign, no matter the size of your business. Just like online marketing and search engine optimization, email marketing is an evolving tool. However, it’s still a valuable way to engage and connect with current customers and acquire new ones at the same time.
Your email marketing campaign is only as strong as the data it’s built upon. If you don’t manage your customer data correctly, you’ll end up with an unsuccessful campaign that yields little to no positive results.
Why Use Email Marketing?
In the online marketing industry, email marketing may seem like an ancient and outdated technology. However, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. While social media may provide a way to connect with current and potential customers, it lacks the personal aspect that comes with email marketing. There’s nothing quite as personal in a marketing strategy than connecting with your customers in a personal way – through their inbox.
According to CopyBlogger.com, email provides marketers with the most direct way to reach current and prospective clients. In fact, email marketing is more cost effective than relying solely on social media or pay-per-click advertising, with an average return on investment of over 4,300 percent, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
Email marketing is more than sending spam email that holds little to no value to the reader. Your readers need to know that they can trust you and your business, and that your email marketing campaign offers real value that can lead to sales conversions, while strengthening the relationship you have at the same time.
Email marketing relies on effective subject-line writing. This means that your readers take the time to open your message in the first place. An effective email marketing campaign also relies on providing your audience with something of value that can be shared by word of mouth. The more customer-to-customer referrals you have, the less money you have to spend on your overall marketing campaign.
Don’t just send out emails for the sake of doing so – make sure the content is valuable to the reader and causes them to act on the message you’re spreading.
Why Data Management Is Important
Successful email marketing campaigns start with good data management practices. In “Crossing the Data Integration Tools Chasm,” director of product marketing Jorge A. Lopez found that “despite the advancements in functionality and performance of data integration technology, many organizations are still using manual coding for their DI projects.” It’s partially to blame that business owners are not aware of the benefits that come with using a data integration provider, but rather rely on the “perception that SQL can solve all data integration tasks.”
The truth, however, is that data integration providers can streamline the process, ensuring you have access to the most reliable and up-to-date data for your email marketing campaigns. While you can’t force your customers to give accurate data, there are steps you can take to verify you have correct information. The first step is to audit your customer databases, purging any information that is outdated, incorrect, or duplicated.
Data integration providers can help achieve your desired results, taking out the guesswork and mistakes that come with manually completing such a process.
How to Get Started
If you’re interested in starting an email marketing campaign to increase the return on investment of your overall marketing strategy, one of your first steps should be to choose a reputable data integration provider. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, these service providers can help you determine the data your business needs to succeed and provide the platform to collect and integrate the data into your business processes.
With the help of a data integration provider, determine what data is valuable to your business. Collecting customer names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses is a great start, but may not be enough to keep your campaign sustainable in the long run. Think outside the box. You should be tracking valuable data such as purchase history, conversion rates, website traffic, and offering valuable programs like customer loyalty and rewards incentives.
Target your email marketing efforts on your customers that spend money with you, who can help increase sales by word-of-mouth and direct referrals to family members, friends, and others in their immediate and extended networks.
The overall goal of your data integration efforts should be to make informed business decisions while managing your customer relationships more effectively. Look at collecting data that will lead to more conversions, up-selling and cross-selling opportunities, while at the same time collecting real-time data to optimize your business intelligence and analytic capabilities.
Provide a Way Out
To decrease the risk of being marked as spam by Internet service providers and email services, always provide a way for your customers to opt out. No matter how reliable and accurate your data is, there will be customers who don’t wish to receive your message. Not providing your customers with a way out can affect your reputation as a business, and how your message is delivered across the Internet in future campaigns.
In any case, data management is one of the most important aspects of running a successful email marketing campaign. Without accurate data, you take the chance of ruining the reputation of your business and pushing customers further away from making that ever important purchase.
Brian Flax is a freelance writer based outside of the Washington, D.C., area. He is experienced in a variety of topics, including education, finance, and Internet applications. Brian holds a Master’s degree in education technology and a Bachelor’s degree in entertainment business.