In a recent survey carried out by e-consultancy, 50% of respondents cited email marketing list quality as the number 1 headache in sending email campaigns. – Things never change! Back in the day when direct marketing consisted of telephone & mail contact, individual communications were relatively expensive so managing the data was a priority and seen as a core element of the whole process.
Emails are free, aren’t they?
The advent of email marketing has meant the actual delivery cost for an individual message has plummeted to the point that some people think it is free (not true!). While this cost reduction has brought undoubted opportunities, particularly for SME businesses, the focus seems to have moved to the content of emails (both design and coding) with the survey suggesting that 3 times as many people spending 2 or more hours on coding (62%) compared to the 19% spending the same amount of time on data management!
The email marketing triangle
3 elements which work together to deliver the best email marketing.
1. Email Content
There is no question that the content of your email is important. It is the content that effectively communicates your message and proposition, encouraging readers to respond. Coding of your email is also important. Email clients are notoriously fickle and getting your email to display properly on your recipient’s PC/tablet/mobile needs to be planned, developed and tested. The results of the survey mentioned earlier suggest that this is where people are spending much of their email marketing resource.
2. Email Marketing List Quality
Although, as the survey would suggests, people do not devote as much resource to this aspect of the process, I would argue that it is equally as important as getting the content/design right. What is the point of carefully designing your email and coding it so it gets past the junk filters if a significant number are simply bouncing or getting through to the wrong in-box! Better email marketing list quality means 2 things:
- You know the data is accurate so you aren’t wasting time sending messages that will bounce or, worse still, go to people where your message isn’t relevant.
- You have more data on your contact so you can individualise each message to make it even more personal and relevant to the recipient.
It is worth spending time to make sure your data is comprehensive and accurate but you must then maintain this commitment. Keeping data up to date as part of your ongoing marketing process is much easier than allowing the quality to slip and then having a big job to do to sort it all out again!
3. Email Marketing List Size
Some people take the view; forget list quality, if the list is big enough I will get a useable response to my email. These people are called spammers! This is not a valid approach but nevertheless, a bigger database of quality contacts is better than a smaller list. Email marketing is unique in that the cost of sending more messages does not increase as the list gets bigger (at least to a point!). It is not necessary to start your email marketing campaign with the biggest list but considering how you plan to effectively grow your list with well qualified data as the programme develops can yield significant long term benefits.
Joined-up email marketing
Consider as well, how effective it would be if you could integrate your email marketing with your other marketing channels and identify which recipients were following you on (for example) Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, then personalising emails based on this information. If you are running an e-commerce site, personalise your message to customers based on when they last placed an order, or if they spend a lot (or a little!). One of the big issues in reaching this level of integration is the ability to get data systems to communicate effectively. Couple this with the fact that most email marketing providers are design and/or technology driven and it is not surprising that the issue of data quality frustrates many email marketers. At BSA we are different. We acknowledge the value of data and put data management at the heart of the joined-up marketing communication we do for our clients. Take a look at these case studies to see how effective marketing carried out in this way can be:
- Joined-up marketing & management of professional conferences
- Joined-up marketing & web data capture
- Integration of accounts data & emailing
Want to talk about how to improve the quality of your email marketing list and make the most of your data? give us a call.