The 1-2-3 Guide to Data Driven Email Marketing

The 1-2-3 Guide to Data Driven Email Marketing

Data defines the way we do business today — it’s the most powerful tool companies have to understand their target audiences and make smart, informed decisions. For marketers, email is one of the places where data’s value has become most clear.

Data-driven email marketing builds better relationships with potential buyers, provides insights to drive better strategy, and helps marketers maximize ROI from their efforts.

Further, it drives higher sales revenue for your company — research shows that organizations relying on data to make decisions are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals than their laggard counterparts.

You can apply this best practice to your email marketing strategy to be more intentional about how you communicate with customers, yield real sales results, and drive higher growth for your business.

In this guide, we’ll walk step-by-step through how to do it.

Quick Takeaways

  • More than 80% of companies use a software platform to power their data-driven email marketing strategy.
  • Data should always be cleaned up prior to being uploaded to your platform.
  • Collect data with intention to always include important segmentation fields (like name and email, job title, company, and other attributes).
  • A/B testing yields 37% higher email marketing ROI.
  • Data-driven automation can elevate the ability to personalize emails according to user preferences.
  • Always measure email KPIs (both positive and negative) like open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes.

How to Execute a Data-Driven Email Marketing Strategy

Get the right software solution

An overwhelming majority (82%) of companies use email marketing platforms to execute their strategy — more than any other type of marketing tool — and for good reason. The other tactics on this list aren’t possible without the support of automation, design, and data analytics tools provided by email marketing platforms.

If you want to execute a data-driven email marketing strategy, you need the right software solution to help you do it. 

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Here’s what to look for in a potential platform solution:

  • Automation – Can execute individually automated emails and full campaigns
  • Integration – Easily integrated with other systems for seamless data access
  • Analytics – Measures important KPIs and displays them in meaningful ways (ex: charts or graphs showing email performance)
  • User-Friendly Interface – Easy to use and simplifies steps like email design with customizable templates
  • Customer Service – 24/7 support in case your platform or campaigns run into issues

Clean up your data

Remember: the way your data is entered in your email lists is the way it will be automatically entered in the actual emails you send. Make it part of your process to clean up every list before you upload to maintain high data quality standards from the start.

Check every list to be sure data is in the correct fields, that there are no blanks or spelling errors, and that it’s formatted correctly (i.e. no all-caps words or missing apostrophes, etc.).

After you upload, keep your data clean once it’s added to your email marketing platform. If you experience bounce backs or unsubscribes (you inevitably will), quickly remove those contacts from your lists (many platforms can automate this process) to improve performance and give a more accurate picture of audience engagement.

Segment in different ways

Different emails and campaigns have different audiences. For example — one message may be designed for buyers from a particular industry, while another is developed for small businesses only. Perhaps you’re writing an email to purchase decision makers who hold a specific title at their companies (i.e. all HR managers or CFOs).

The point: Be sure you’re able to segment your lists in different ways depending on the purpose of your message.

The ability to do this starts with smart data collection. Think about your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas — what important attributes do they include that you should always aim to collect for your email lists?

Separate fields as much as possible so you can get granular about segmentation, too (ex: always include “Company Name” and “Job Title” as two separate fields).

Use A/B testing

A/B testing is the process of sending two (or more) different versions of your email to see which one performs better. The differences between each version can vary. For example, you could use different subject lines, try different design layouts, or include different CTAs.

Alt-Text: A/B testing is the process of sending two (or more) different versions of your email to see which one performs better.

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A/B testing is one of the most effective parts of a data-driven email marketing campaign — Litmus reports that companies currently A/B testing every email earn 37% higher ROI on their efforts compared to those who don’t.

Over time, you can use A/B testing to pinpoint which components of your emails yield greater results to significantly increase your overall conversion and engagement rates.

Leverage data to personalize

Automation is a huge part of executing data-driven email marketing campaigns. A common myth around this is that automation means sacrificing personalization — that automated emails are cookie-cutter messages not attuned to unique recipients.

The opposite is true when your strategy is data-driven. Initially, you’re using customer data they provide (like their name, email address, and company) to communicate with them, but once they start interacting with your emails, you get even more valuable behavior-based insights that help you tailor your messaging to their preferences and needs.

For example: If you send a product promotion email and set an automation for every recipient who clicks a particular link to also receive a follow up they might find valuable. You can even directly ask for interests and preferences, then automatically segment responses into different lists.

Most email platforms can also automate email remarketing campaigns that use data from other online interactions (through other channels like your website, display ads, and social media), to send follow-up messages relevant to user interests (like the abandoned cart email below sent by Target).

Without data-driven, automated email marketing, this type of personalization tactic wouldn’t be possible.

Alt-Text: A personalized abandoned cart email from Target reminding the user to finish their purchase.

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Identify and measure KPIs

No data-driven email marketing strategy is complete without measuring performance metrics. As you build and execute your strategy, identify your important KPIs and measure them for each email and campaign.

Valuable email marketing KPIs to measure include:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Spam flags
  • Sharing/forwarding rate
  • List growth rate (for those that have subscribers)

In the end, measuring KPIs is what ensures your strategy is on track, that you’re capitalizing on opportunities to improve, and that you’re pinpointing the email messaging and tactics that yield the best results for your unique business.

Revboss’s outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.