While marketers continue to experiment with new channels and devices one thing remains a constant, the effectiveness and importance of email lists.
Regardless of what the future holds, email is the bread and butter of most marketing activity. Whether being used as a personal identifier across channels or as a reliable channel for delivering marketing messages, email will continue to deliver results for years to come.
However, success and longevity are far from guaranteed. Simply ‘doing email’ is nowhere near enough. Maintenance is essential to keeping your email marketing programmes moving and you need to be able to strike a balance between managing the overlap between sender reputation, large inactive email lists and driving return on investment (ROI).
In order to effectively protect reputation scores, us marketers end up having inactive email files full of people who we don’t market to, which can at times feel like a missed opportunity.
To better manage the balance marketers need to understand their email subscriber lists in order to uncover hidden opportunities for engagement.
Build a comprehensive view of your subscribers
Understanding your best customers is the key to developing your ideal buyer personas when you’re trying to grow your email list database. However, because marketers are often incentivised on how quickly they can grow their email database, this can result in opting-in various customer personas that don’t all have the same purchase cycle or email usage behaviours and could even fall outside the target market.
The key to identifying the person behind the email address is linking it to your CRM data and then enhancing each profile with third-party data. Are some of your customers new parents? Have they recently moved? What buying characteristics and categories make them likely to purchase? These are the types of questions that can be answered by appending third-party data. The answers will give marketers a more complete view of the person behind the email list addresses. Those insights then create opportunities further down the funnel.
Identifying segments for re-engagement
When determining whether or not to keep some inactive subscribers on your email list, keep in mind that seemingly underperforming emails may be inspiring actions across channels. It could be that email re-engagement is driving in store purchases simply by putting the brand front of mind – even if the email wasn’t even opened.
(Learn more about how to run the perfect reactivation campaign here)
Linking your own data will give you this crucial level of insight, allowing you to know which customers to keep on your list and the best way to reengage them.
What about the inactive email subscribers that don’t appear to be engaged with you through other channels? To capture these customers, you need to extend your data-driven approach to create the right re-engagement strategies.
How to identify ‘inactive’ email subscribers:
- Use your current email data and include all recently added inactive email addresses.
- Leverage reverse appends (i.e., name and address appended to an email address) or pinning solutions that can help connect your cross-channel interactions with your inactive subscriber base, as described above.
- Use a third-party source, such as Experian’s Email Insights, to identify email addresses that are active with other brands, but appear inactive with your brand.
By using all three practices of linkage, data enrichment and activity within a global consortium, marketers can target as much as 40% of their inactive subscriber file.
Optimise your messaging
By identifying both your target customers and those most likely to re-engage via email, you’ve put yourself in the position where you can focus on your content.
Ask yourself, “What content might resonate with the identified re-engagement target segment?” Just as third-party sources can provide predictive modelling for active subscribers, they can also predict the best time of day to send your email communications.
Target your buyer personas across channels
Keep in mind that email can inspire cross-channel activity from some of your best customers. Sometimes it might even be more relevant to target a customer via different channels to maximise your overall ROI. There are a number of cross-channel activation services that allow you to reach your inactive email subscribers via display, mobile, social and even addressable television.
Email remains king, but it still needs TLC
Overall, email remains the king of marketing channels. We’ve moved past spray and pray and are fully on board with requiring a more targeted approach. However, that doesn’t mean great swathes of your subscriber lists are worthless. With the right approach it’s possible to communicate with inactive subscribers without damaging your sender reputation.
As with most things in marketing it comes down to data. Data and the ability to use that data to generate deeper insights. Insights that drive actions. Actions that are more relevant to customers.
Experian Marketing Services is the leading global provider of consumer insights, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.
By helping marketers identify best customers, find more, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.