The best email marketing results are achieved through segmenting and targeting, which produce higher open rates, leads, conversion rates and revenues. However, before you can segment and target prospects, you must know the makeup of your audience and be able to identify its members.
Thus, the first step to laying the groundwork for email marketing campaigns is to build customer profiles, which are based on demographic characteristics: age, gender, marital status, location, education level, income level, ethnic background, political affiliation and more.
Once you know the characteristics of your target group, you can take the necessary steps to find and attract them. But where do you find the attributes for your customers and prospects?
For existing customers, you may have a database of names, addresses and email addresses but not much more. Likewise, if you accumulate names and email addresses from your website and other channels, you probably have sketchy outlines of prospects’ attributes.
Other than surveying customers and prospects, how can you acquire the demographic information for your customer profiles? Fortunately, you can take advantage of the efforts that professional data collectors have made to acquire the demographic information. This is why many experts recommend demographic appending.
Carolyn Nye, for example, advises marketers to consider data append services to obtain physical addresses, demographics, and shopping behavior likes and interests to enable a segmented email approach.
Similarly, Margaret Spencer recommends list appending as a means to increase the usability of a contact list by adding more fields and attributes. A quarterly append operation, says Spencer, is highly recommended for B2B lists.
Fredrick Muriuki describes how you can find the attributes for customer profiles by studying your existing customer base, examining who your products appeal to and analyzing who your competition is targeting in their campaigns. Demographic appending can be used to fill in missing information for these profiling activities.
The savviest marketers are using data appending as an integral part of email marketing automation routines. Optify, for example, in “Website visitor & lead intelligence: your sales enablement secret weapon,” describes how sophisticated marketing software can detect a visitor’s IP address, look up domain ownership and append firmographic data from trusted databases. From that point, additional demographic data can be appended to build rich customer profiles.
Even if you are using sophisticated techniques like predictive analytics to determine the character and tendencies of your audience, you need to be able identify the attributes of the prospects you encounter to determine whether they fit your target group. Take advantage of data enhancement to fill in the missing information on your prospect list to determine who fits your customer profile. You can either append your list as a whole or use a real-time web service to provide demographics for each new contact submitted on your website. Demographics can be matched based on email addresses or names and postal addresses.
Here we glimpse the future, as marketing automation advances to a point where an integrated set of marketing software and analytical tools operates on big data to glean insights, track audience behavior and collect and assemble demographic data as part of a seamless customer profiling and marketing operation.
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