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Cash in on your data bank

A well-maintained database is crucial to ensuring the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is not a new concept, but in order to maximise its potential, what can retailers do to target email campaigns more effectively?

Nick Gold, regional manager for northern Europe at marketing software provider Emailvision, says the first thing to start with is the database. Ensuring the database is up to date with relevant contacts will create much better results for any email marketing campaign. Customers who have chosen to continue to receive emails will also be more likely to provide further personal information, so emails can become more targeted and specific to the individual. As Gold says: “There is no point in sending email to people that don’t want to hear from you - it’s a waste of time and money.”

Once the data has been cleansed, customers can then be split into target groups. In order to do this, businesses must have a clear strategy as to what information should be collected. For example, a postcode is often part of a data capture but a pure-play etailer may not require this information for marketing purposes. As Tim Watson, operations director at marketing solutions firm SmartFOCUS says: “Demographic data should be determined by the target market segments and values that influence customer behaviour.”

Andy Francis, chief executive of email marketing provider E-style, believes it is simplest to split data into three categories: those people who have never viewed an email, those who view but don’t interact, and those that interact regularly. He adds: “Straight away we have three pots of people that need to have separate communication strategies, tone of voice and separate offers/discounts.”

Once the data has been split, customers can be approached to supply more information. A good way to encourage customers to do this is via a competition or an offer rewarding them for being a loyal customer. Simon Bird, technical director at diital marketing agency dotDigitalGroup, suggests there are three main areas to focus on: customer profile, preferences and behaviour. This information will allow businesses to understand who, how and why customers purchase and engage.

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