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Real-Time Subscriber Data: The Key to Email Marketing Success

Posted by Phil Davis

August 30, 2017

Real-Time-Subscriber-DataSome things will never change:

  • The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.
  • Popping bubble wrap will always be strangely soothing.
  • The popularity of the Pet Rock will always be incomprehensible.

However, when it comes to connecting with an individual consumer, things are changing constantly. And if you want to connect with that subscriber at the right time, on the right channel, with the right content, you’re going to need as much data about him or her as possible.

But what kinds of data does an email marketer need? Well, let’s start with two of the most important categories of data, first-party and third-party:

First-party data is the demographic and contact information a person supplies directly to the brand when he or she completes a transaction, such as making a purchase or registering an account on the brand’s site. Examples of first-party data include name, gender, age and email address.

Third-party data is behavioral information aggregated from a consumer’s interactions on various online and offline channels, which is delivered directly to a brand from a data provider, often via an API. Because this information is collected from multiple channels, third-party data offers brands a more complete picture of each subscriber in their database.

By combining first and third-party data (via API feeds) you end up with rich and complete real-time subscriber data.  

Merging first-party and third-party data is what allows marketers to create the kind of hyper-targeted, hyper-personalized campaigns they dream of. It empowers email marketers with greater insight into a subscriber’s identity, interests and preferences and gives them more context around the actions of each specific subscriber.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s take a closer look at three ways real-time subscriber data helps you create magnificent email marketing campaigns.

Understanding the Subscriber

Data doesn’t stay constant — it updates regularly. Because of this, marketers who focus on using basic demographic data (and nothing else) have no more information about their subscriber than a rep from a nonprofit who stops someone on the street.

But real-time subscriber data gives you visibility into so much more: interests, lifestyle, purchasing habits, online behaviors and so on. These details help you paint a full picture of your contacts, enabling you to create more comprehensive profiles and make better decisions on everything from marketing messages to product development.

In other words, you have access to powerful information that can help you target and captivate your subscriber across channels.

Engaging with the Subscriber

Let’s say you’ve combined your first party-data with a vendor’s third-party data to create real-time subscriber data. You now have a more detailed understanding of what motivates your subscriber both online and offline.

Now what? It’s time to actually use that information—a concept that, sadly, not every brand has embraced:

According to MarketingProfs’ The State of Email Marketing by Industry, 42 percent of marketers don’t send targeted email messages. And only 4 percent use multi-layered targeting (i.e. combining additional subscriber data such as browsing behavior and purchase intent with basic demographic information.)

Details about your subscriber exists in places other than just your database. And their information is likely in the databases of many of your competitors.

This means there are plenty of companies vying for the attention (and business) of a single subscriber. This also means you must send your subscriber a personalized email that shows you have carefully considered his or her interests and past purchases. Brands whose definition of “personalization” starts and ends with using a recipient’s first name will undoubtedly see low engagement. But personalization gives you a leg up.

Building Loyalty with the Subscriber

The more you engage your subscriber using data-driven targeting, the more you’ll learn about them. And the more you learn about them, the more you can personalize your email campaigns. And more personalized email campaigns lead to more continued engagement. (You can see where I’m going with this…)

One of the best things about generating real-time subscriber data is that it lets you adapt your email campaigns to important changes in the life of your subscriber. For example, if you see the subscriber has stopped purchasing diapers and onesies and started shopping for high chairs and toddler-sized plates, you can begin sending your subscriber emails promoting crayons and coloring books.

Plus, beyond the ability to more effectively personalize on an individual level, having more data about your current subscribers helps you determine ways to target more consumers.

When it comes to improving your email marketing success, real-time subscriber data is your secret weapon. By using this information to better understand, target and retain each subscriber, you’ll generate greater ROI and help improve not only email communications but also all marketing efforts.

Want to get started using email subscriber data to improve your campaigns? Discover the power of Active Customer Intelligence and begin enhancing your email list today.

Find out what your customers are shopping for right now!

Topics: Email Marketing, Consumer Data

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