You could have the best creative, a compelling subject line and the most irresistible call to action, but if you haven’t thought about who you are sending it to, all your hard work is wasted. Gathering data should be a core part of your strategy, so make sure you're not missing a trick.
Data strategy is an integral part of email marketing campaign planning. Excellent creative can be undermined by a failure to identify those contacts with a high propensity to respond. Invest time and budget in data collection and reap the rewards. Opt-in data is increasingly difficult/expensive to buy or lease from data providers and data collected on your own website is, by its very nature, of better quality (cheaper) and of more value to your business.
How many unique visitors a day do you get to your website? How many of them are you able to communicate with again? Visitors to your website have taken the time to seek you out or have found their way to your website courtesy of the marketing budget invested in SEO and PPC. Don’t let this expense be wasted – capture those visitors on your homepage by offering something of interest, e.g. newsletter/industry hot topics subscription, whitepaper downloads, event registrations or entry to a free draw for an iPod/bottle of champagne/book on relevant topic etc.
Keep it simple
Don’t put off potential prospects by presenting them with a lengthy form asking for details ranging from mailing address to inside leg measurement. Keep it simple; first name, last name, email address, company name and telephone number is plenty of information to capture initially. You will be able to gather more information about them and their interests from subsequent email campaigns. Tell them that by entering their details they are subscribing to receive further information from you – this should help to keep the unsubscribe rate down as they will be expecting/wanting to receive communication from you. It would also be prudent to encourage subscribers to add your emails sending address to their address book or safe sender list to ensure they receive 100% of the communications that you send.
Using an email marketing package that includes web capture functionality streamlines this process. A web capture form is created in the software and included on your website as an iframe. Results are fed directly back to the contact database enabling automated triggered campaigns. For example, a person has subscribed to receive late availability offers for holidays in Spain. In the web capture form they are able to tick their preferences, e.g. family holidays, tennis holidays etc. A triggered email is sent on submission of their details to thank them for subscribing. The message is a reassurance that their details have been successfully received; it communicates the framework for future emails and gives them contact details/links to the website for reference. Capturing preferences in this way enables intelligent marketing campaigns promoting the type of holidays in which they have expressed an interest.
What not to do
Don’t go to the effort of capturing a prospect’s details on your website, feeding them into your contact database and then let that contact sit there with no contact for 6 months. Chances are, when you do get round to sending them an email campaign, they will have forgotten that they subscribed, will class the communication as SPAM and hit unsubscribe.
If you want a good email list – build one and then make immediate and intelligent use of it.