Collecting high quality data for email marketing

Posted by: Alexandria Allsop


Most businesses are aware that collecting data is important, though not all understand how data collection fits in with their strategy.

Consumers receive such a high volume of commercial emails each day, it’s necessary for businesses to maintain a positive relationship with their database. In sending blanket emails, using no segmentation or personalisation, you risk damaging this relationship.

So how do you keep the attention of your subscribers and increase the likelihood of a conversion? Start with collecting high quality data.

Quality, not quantity, is the measure of good data

Good quality data forms the foundation of a strong email marketing strategy. Without it, we know nothing about our customers.

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to marketing communications, and continuing to send irrelevant content will result in deletion and unsubscribes. Batch and blast email marketing simply won’t cut it.

“90% of the fate of your email program has been determined at the point of data collection.”

Return Path

Quality data leads to quality content, allowing you to create segments and tailor your content based on the information you collect.

What information do I need?

As a minimum, collect an email address. Once you are able to contact the subscriber, you can begin to build on the information you have.

However, your data collection methods should tie into your wider strategy. Whether it’s sector, business size, or location, consider what you need to know in order to qualify the individual as a worthwhile lead.

Similarly, by keeping your strategy in mind you can ensure you only collect the data you need to move your efforts in the right direction, and avoid collecting unnecessary data that may go unused.

Data collection methods

Where there’s customer interaction there’s a data collection opportunity, be it online or offline.

  • Start with your website. Optimise each page for data capture to increase the number of sign ups.
  • Keep it simple. If you’re expecting people to provide their personal information, don’t make them work hard to hand it over. Avoid too many mandatory fields and consider using drop down lists to improve user experience.
  • Don’t rule out putting pen to paper. But if you are collecting information the old fashioned way, be sure to include a boxed text field on your form to encourage the separation of characters and reduce failure rate.
  • Offline events are great opportunities to generate leads. In one face-to-face conversation you can garner all the information you need. Make the process simpler and take an iPad with you.
  • Use a preference centre. A great way to keep data healthy, a preference centre is a tool that allows your subscribers to manage their relationship with your business. They are able to specify in their own time what they receive from you and how often, whilst providing additional information regarding their interests, helping you to manage frequency and relevancy.
  • Don’t overdo it. Less fields on data capture forms correlates to more conversions, but choose your moments wisely and you’ll be able to obtain the information you want.

In which case you can…

  • Offer an incentive. For an ecommerce business, for example, completing a transaction can be incentive enough. Other businesses can offer their expertise: ebooks, whitepapers and webinars can all be kept behind data capture forms.

Next steps

Now that you’ve established a healthy database, ensure you maximise your efforts by putting it to good use.

The data you’ve collected will help to remove the guesswork from your email marketing, allowing you to personalise and refine your content through segmentation and send emails that consistently achieve high engagement.

Next week, we look at serving up relevant content to your subscribers through segmentation.

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