Give your audience what they want
The best way to ensure your email campaigns are effective is to know your audience, understand what they want, and target your content accordingly. A highly effective way to do this is to segment your contact database.
A common tactic is to gather as much information as possible when someone signs up from your website. That means asking for full name, email, gender, date of birth, postcode, etc.
But in our experience, asking for too much information at your first interaction will cost you sign-ups.
Put obstacles in the way of a simple sign-up and many people will decide it’s too hard, and click away from your page. You're far better off gathering those details over time.
One way to gather this information is by indirect profiling. That means listening to your customers and deciphering what they are trying to tell you. What can you discover about them via their behaviours, what content do they click on and what content do they ignore?
Another great way to gather intel is through direct profiling; that is, to simply ask for more information. If you have nurtured your subscribers and been respectful and polite, they'll probably be happy to provide you with information about their preferences.
You can also take a ‘give to get’ approach. This is something you might try after nurturing your subscribers for a while. You can offer something of value to them and ask for their address to post it to them, or ask them to fill in a form with relevant information before they download their ‘gift'.
Or you can try the most upfront approach: survey your users. Simply ask them some questions about who they are and what they want from you.
So, how do you set up your database segments? We recommend you segment your data for relevance: what do you need to know about your audience? Do you sell products in different categories that you could use as preferences? Are your services targeted to different age groups or genders?
It’s better to have segments from the start, even if you’re not using them right now. So set up your database so you can segment/personalise in the future, and try to segment your data as much as possible. More segments are better than less. That will allow for more tailored and useful communication which results in better engagement.