7 Ways to Use Data Successfully in Your Email Marketing

Email marketers are well-aware of the importance of data-driven triggered emails, such as welcome and cart-abandonment messages. And we know how to leverage data like recipients’ names and interests.

But some email marketers are discovering ways to use data in new and different ways.

“Used strategically, data can help you get smarter with your marketing,” writes Ritika Puri at WordStream. “But don’t expect the story and action items to just ‘come together.’ Take the time to dig into the trends, explore, and figure out creative ways to add touch points to your campaigns.”

Here are seven ways to use data creatively and effectively:

1. Leverage data sets beyond personal interests and purchasing history

“Personal interests and purchasing-history-based campaigns are only one example of a plethora of different ways that the same data can be used,” writes Ott Niggulis at Klaviyo. “By looking at things more broadly, we can identify trends in purchasing behavior of many different customers and group them by those behaviors.” Niggulis suggests designing email marketing campaigns based on additional data sets, such as average order value, purchasing frequency, purchasing recency, and coupon use.

2. Use your email data to cross channels to and retain customers

“Because email generates so much useful data, it can support cross-channel engagement,” writes Eric Stahl at Marketing Land. “The number one and most important goal with cross-channel is to reach customers where they are and with content that they care about, which will help drive results and keep customers coming back for more. This can mean pairing emails with focused digital ads to increase visibility and the likelihood that a customer will buy. Or using customer email data to create customer audiences on platforms like Google or Facebook.”

3. Use a variety of types of triggered messages

“Recent behavioral data is the most reliable indicator of what your subscribers are interested in right now,” writes Andrew King at Campaign Monitor. Noting that while cart-abandonment emails are the most common kind of triggered emails, King writes that “many technologies are now available which allow you to follow-up pretty much any action that a subscriber takes on your website. That sounds a bit stalker-ish, but I assure you that it can be used to send helpful, relevant emails based on the products, services or topics they have recently browsed.”

4. Leave off names and leverage other personalization data

“Personalizing emails with the recipient’s name may work against you, according to research,” suggests Vinay Koshy at MailMunch. “Given the amount of phishing, identity theft, credit card fraud, etc., many people are wary of emails with personal greetings.” As an alternative, Koshy suggests emulating Groupon, which sends emails with deals based on the recipient’s location but eschews personalization that uses the recipient’s name.

5. Zero in on how much customers are spending – and plan campaigns accordingly

“If you sell a range of high and low dollar items, ‘amount spent’ can be a great segmentation strategy,” writes Andrew Raso on the Kissmetrics blog. “Use customer expense history to determine which customers are likely to buy more expensive items and which are more interested in affordable, low-dollar items. Then you can send out targeted emails featuring products that are actually in each person’s price range.”

6. If you know your recipient’s age, make that information work for you dynamically

This suggestion may seem obvious, but it can be easily overlooked by email marketers: “Simply knowing the age of your audience members could take your email conversions to the next level,” writes Mallory Mongeon at Email on Acid. She cites a Fit for Me campaign that featured a promotion that varied for different age groups.

“Instead of creating separate campaigns for each age group, they dynamically switched out the image, but kept everything else the same,” Mongeon notes. “With the power of dynamic software, it’s possible to make a simple switcheroo like this to ensure your email visuals resonate with the different age groups that make up your list.”

7. Use outcomes metrics to prove email’s value to the CEO

Your customers aren’t the only audience on which your data can make a positive impact – how about using it to prove your worth in the executive suite? (And this doesn’t mean preparing a big presentation about your opens and clicks.)

“While most email marketing managers focus on the clickstream metrics to analyze the results of their campaigns, chief executives care only about the outcomes,” writes Ivan Kreimer at Campaign Monitor.

“Chief executives don’t care about your open rate; they want to see whether they are making any money with email marketing or not. Showing the outcome metrics to the executive team of your company can change the way they perceive your email marketing efforts and its impact within the organization.”