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Why Behavioral Data Is the Key to Better Email Marketing

Posted by Phil Davis

December 26, 2017

behavioral dataEven though its origin dates to 1736 the phrase “actions speak louder than words” is a guiding principle in modern marketing — or at least it should be. How a consumer interacts with a brand reveals more about his or her opinions, attitudes, values and interests than what he or she adds to a form.

Leveraging engagement metrics (opens, clicks and conversions) and demographic data (age, gender, geography, level of education and annual income) to segment your audience is a fundamental and absolutely critical part of effective email marketing.

But you can’t divide your database solely by how often a subscriber reads your emails or by the city where they live and call it a day. This would seriously stunt the success of your campaigns.

You need to go beyond simply segmenting by level of engagement and demographic information. You need to add another layer: a consumer’s individual behavior.

Your Database Is Not Full of Clones

Many members of your audience could be the same age and gender, reside in the same town, call the same school their alma mater and work at the same job, but that doesn’t mean their interests and attitudes are the same. Your audience could even have a set of identical twins, whose genes are nearly indistinguishable, and they still wouldn’t interact with your brand in the same way.

You must take a note from Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Inception and recognize that you must go deeper.

Rather than simply asking, “Did the subscriber click a link in the email?” think about the answers to questions like these:

  • Which type of link did they click on — for example, in-line text or a product image? Did they click on multiple links within the email?
    • If it was a text link, what was the anchor text?
    • If it was a product image, which item was being promoted?
  • What did they do when they got to the landing page? Did they make an immediate purchase, view additional product pages or simply bounce?
    • If they made a purchase, did they buy one of the items promoted in the email, or did they buy a different but related product?
    • If they browsed through your site, which items or product categories did they view?
    • If they bounced, is the landing page content incongruous with the email content?
  • Did they forward your email to someone they know? Or did they share the message on one of their social media accounts?

It may seem a bit cumbersome to track user interactions to this level of detail. But when you take a more granular approach, the volume of valuable data you’ll amass will more than make up for the time and resources you dedicated to collecting it.

With this type of comprehensive behavioral data, you’ll have a more complete picture of each member of your audience, allowing you to segment even further and create even more personalized, hyper-targeted messages.

Pro Tip:Don’t neglect the importance of where a recipient goes after they leave their inbox, or the landing page. Why spend time carefully segmenting your audience and creating hyper-personalized emails if you’re just going to send everyone to the same generic landing page?

One last thing: Behavioral data can’t be used in a vacuum. Consumers don’t just purchase items for themselves — they shop for their friends, family, colleagues, the mail carrier who takes the whole “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” motto to heart.

So if you see a recipient was shopping recently for neon pink iPhone cases and then use only this information to trigger an email offering a discount on matching neon pink earbuds, the 70-year-old gentleman who was shopping for his teenage granddaughter probably won’t be interested in your promotion.

Every piece of data you collect is helpful — make sure you take advantage of it.

Active Customer Intelligence

Topics: Email Data, Email Marketing

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