This guest post is by Francis Santos
Email marketers are used to handling huge chunks of customer data and with the advances in digital communication, these chunks have got bigger than ever before. The big data explosion is here to stay, but it can be a double-edged sword. The over-enthusiastic email marketer may let himself be deluged by the quintillion bytes of data that his systems throw up every day and end up just blasting out messages to subscribers. On the other hand, the astute marketer can use that information to devise more focused email campaigns that will boost the ROI.
Capitalizing on the big data requires adhering to certain age-old email marketing principles. These are highlighted in the following discussion.
Principle #1: Take aim at your target; do not blast blindly
Direct mailing marketers were compelled to send out targeted mailers; the costs of printing and postal charges prohibited blasting. But just because emails are cheaper to send, you should not shoot them by the thousands. Targeted mailing that is, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is the ONE and ONLY ONE success manta in email marketing.
The big data trend now gives you access to customer information that you never could lay your hands on just a few years back. Apart from demographic details like age, location, gender, and profession, you can now delve into the shopping history of your customers and their Internet browsing behavior and patterns. Advanced email software also let you keep track of and archive data like the mails that your customers have opened and responded to.
All these bits of data will help you identify your customer base and learn about their needs and preferences. These are potent pieces of information to help you devise more targeted and meaningful campaigns that will drive customer engagement and lead to stronger and lasting bonds between you and your audience.
Principle #2: Be prepared to test before you shoot
This is another time-honored principle of marketing that holds true for emails as well. Test drive your promotional offers to gauge audience response. This will save you a lot of time and money that could otherwise have been wasted on rolling out offers that have few or no takers.
Shooting out a few test mails before launching an email campaign is also crucial to test its effectiveness at meeting your marketing objectives. For instance, the responses of your target audience will help you determine if you need to modify your message to make it more convincing, personal, and/or less preachy or include more images to entice recipients to visit your online store.
The improved availability and accessibility of the big data is bound to throw up more statistics that will make analyzing these tests easier. Using these test results, you can streamline your targeting and marketing efforts and thus increase the ROI.
Principle #3: Read between the lines of the Big Data; analyze to spot patterns
The easy availability of Big Data should make you very happy. The more the volume of information, the more the volume of customer data you can extract to make your email marketing campaigns more targeted and relevant. But for this, you will need to invest in recruiting personnel and installing and deploying tools and technologies that will facilitate minute and precise exercises like spotting patterns in buyer behavior or predicting customer responses to your soon-to-be-launched products and/or services.
These efforts will enable you to gain deeper insights into your customer’s psyche and thus design and develop customized email campaigns that will appeal to his tastes, address his needs, and/or solve his problems. Such email campaigns help you forge more meaningful relationships with your customers; the conversions will follow automatically.
Visionary business owners who have realized the immense power of big data are already investing in teams and technologies to carry out statistical modeling and predictive analytics exercises to make more sense out of the humongous chunks of customer data at their disposal.
Big data is only going to get bigger in the days to come as computer systems become cheaper and storage spaces increase in size. This data lets you know your customers more intimately and enables you to be more responsive to their needs and wants. You will miss out on loads of marketing opportunities if you cannot use this data to your advantage and craft more relevant and meaningful email campaigns that make your customers feel valued and convince them that they mean more to you than numbers.