The amount of data that people create online every day is borderline ridiculous. IBM claims that we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and 90 percent of all available data has been created over the course of last two years.
This is a trend that will only get more extreme. On the one hand, this amount of data is very useful for businesses, since it reveals a tremendous amount of info about their customers.
On the other hand, it’s become very difficult to process and analyze this volume of information without getting completely lost in this ocean of data.
And this is what we mean when we refer to “big data”. Basically, “big data” represent data sets that are so huge and complex that they can’t be analyzed successfully by using conventional methods and software.
Big data is characterized by its volume, variety, velocity, veracity and value. It’s very challenging to capture and store this data, sift through them, pick all the relevant pieces of information, interpret them and then put them into action.
However, when this is done properly it can be extremely beneficial for businesses in many ways.
Email is Here to Stay
One of the ways you can use big data is to plan and execute your email marketing campaigns. The world of digital marketing has changed a lot recently, mostly thanks to social media, but email marketing isn’t going anywhere for now.
On the contrary, as much as 59 percent of B2B marketers identify email as their most effective channel when it comes to revenue. This isn’t surprising, since for every single dollar invested in this type of marketing, businesses earn staggering 38 dollars.
Nevertheless, this is mere statistics – in order to actually reach this number, proper use of available data is crucial. So here’s a few tips on how to use big data to improve your email marketing efforts.
Which Data Can Be Useful?
At first, the amount of data at your disposal might be limited. You’ll get some of the data from the users themselves when they sign-up or once they buy your products, or you can even obtain some of the data from a third party.
But over time you’ll accumulate more and more data about your customers’ buying habits, interests and reactions to the content you’re sending them.
The exact data you need depends on your goals. If you’re running an ecommerce website, you’ll be interested in stuff like conversion rate, ROI or adds to cart. But if your primary goal is engagement and not sales, then metrics like delivery rate, open rate or CTR are more important.
So let’s suppose you have your data sorted out and arranged. How to make use of these?
The Importance of Segmentation
The most useful way to implement the info you obtained is by accurate targeting. Naturally, you’ll have more than one homogenous group of people you’re addressing and you don’t want to overwhelm them by non-selectively sending all the emails to all the people.
Every email you send needs to be carefully designed in order to appeal to your customer or prospect as tailor-made for them.
Obviously, you’re not going to create a different email for every person, but you’ll have to divide your email list into several segments, based on the criteria you choose.
If you pick the right criteria, you can avoid the generic and automated vibe that radiates from most promotional emails you get every day. The effects of segmentation are significant, and this personalization strategy causes an increase in basically all the relevant numbers.
Open rate gets 14 percent higher, unsubscribe rate goes down by 10 percent, while click-troughs are doubled.
Criteria to Select
A list can be segmented by a number of criteria, most obvious of which are geography and demographics. You’re not really supposed to send offers for winter jackets to people who live in Mediterranean islands or sell bras to 60+ year old men.
Try to segment the list in a way that will be as sensitive to your customers’ potential needs as possible.
You can also use data you obtained yourself, especially if you own an ecommerce business. You’ll get a lot of data about your customer’s buying habits, previous purchases and other interactions that can be useful.
Naturally, you shouldn’t recommend an $800 item to a person whose average order value is 30 dollars. And the knowledge of a particular previous purchase can bring you easy money – offering different phone accessories and all sorts of gear to all those who just bought a phone from you will definitely bring good results.
If you own a rather big business and do a meticulous job when it comes to collecting customer data, you can end up drowned in irrelevant information.
Often you won’t be able to do a proper analysis of the data you have, but some top big data companies could help you find your way through this forest of numbers and metrics.
Mind the Feedback
It is often recommended that you don’t set a rigid long-term strategy before you start the actual campaign. The feedback you get once you start sending emails is of huge importance.
Doing a thorough analysis of who and why opens your emails, who clicks on your links or who is most likely to unsubscribe is crucial.
It’s necessary that you listen to the feedback and adapt your strategy based on what you found out.
The reasons for failure can be numerous, from bad targeting to sloppy copywriting or simply poor timing. Use surveys or A/B tests to try to determine the real causes.
A survey may sound a bit old-fashioned but it could actually work, since as much as 70 percent of shoppers are fine with disclosing their personal info if that would ensure they get more emails relevant to their buying habits.
All in all, big data is the future and it’s only going to get bigger. Much bigger. Filtering and evaluating the data properly is going to demand more resources and more advanced tools.
Having the access to the right data and the right tools will often make a difference between successful and failed businesses or marketers.
The idea that “who owns the information owns the world” is getting more accurate by the day and we’ll all have to have that in mind in the times to come.
Natasha is a web designer, digital marketer, lady of a keyboard and one hell of a tech geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and technology trends via creating high-quality content.