When it comes to collecting audience data, mobile apps, social media, and your branded website are all clearly heavy hitting channels worthy of consideration. However, none of these platforms can stand toe-to-toe with email marketing in terms of the ability to harvest information about a target audience.
In total, Jess Nelson of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog reports that 63 percent of all businesses use email to collect data, easily placing it at the top of the list regarding ways to garner insight into the lives of valued consumers. To understand why inbox outreach stands as the top dog on this front, and to prove that letting the potential of this channel fall by the wayside can cause lasting damage to your brand, join us as we explore the reasons behind email marketing’s data collection dominance.
Email Marketing Reaches Every Audience Segment
The old adage that “everyone has an email address” is probably the best place to start delving into why email is the most used channel for data collection. More specifically, Inc. magazine’s Peter Roesler explains that email marketing taps into desktop, tablet, smartphone and any virtually any other digital audience segment.
While social media and other channels definitely pack quite a punch in their own right, the truth of the matter is that even these consumer pathways don’t cover as much ground as email marketing. To prove this point with a little demonstration, take a moment to ask yourself two simple questions:
- How many people do you know that aren’t on social media?
- How many people do you know that don’t have an email address?
Obviously, this example is purely anecdotal and extreme corner case scenarios can arise at times. However, this mental exercise corroborates Roesler’s point in a poignant manner for most readers who can easily name a friend that doesn’t use social media, but not one that avoids the inbox. Email marketing is the most powerful data collection channel because the notion of not having an email account in 2016 is downright unconscionable.
Collecting Data via This Channel Is Inexpensive
From a practical perspective, this channel isn’t just the choice with the widest amount of reach, it also serves as an inexpensive way to harvest consumer information. Roesler goes on to note that inbox outreach campaigns often require an expense of only pennies per message to operate, so for brands of all sizes – and budget limitations – email marketing is not only the most cost-effective and impactful way to learn more about an audience, but also the most efficient way to put this insight to good use.
Tracking Offers, Discounts, and Other Metrics Is a Breeze
In terms of the “nuts and bolts” side of data collection, Business 2 Community’s Red Akrim points out that email marketing is, at its core, a data-driven and highly measurable process, so it only makes sense that it would rule the roost as far as gathering information and facts from inbox users goes. Delivery, open, click, bounce, and unsubscribe rates are just a few of the metrics that an email marketing platform can automatically measure and catalog.
Going a step farther, being a data-centric process also means that how and what your brand tracks can be customized with relative ease. Being able to adjust the scope and targeting potential of a campaign based on these customizable attributes provides campaign managers with the potential to optimize and refine data collection to degrees that other channels can’t even begin to fathom.
How to Take Advantage of This Opportunity
Now that you’re aware of why email stands as the most used channel for data collection, it’s a good idea to talk about the finer points of how to leverage this newfound knowledge. According to Corey Wainright of the HubSpot Blog, the best way to kick this process into high gear and start harvesting consumer insight is by learning how to segment and manage your list.
The big key here is that sorting your contact list by geography, engagement, behavior, and other metrics enhances your ability to uncover trends and changes hidden within this data. The alternative – a cluttered and unsorted contact list – serves as little more than a recounting of people who may or may not be consuming your inbox content.
Additionally, a segmented list also ensures that your brand removes opt-outs and inactive members in a timely manner, thereby improving the overall quality of the data collected via this channel. This means that if you’re able to enact this maintenance strategy, and put to good use the rest of what you’ve learned here, then you’ll be able to extract even more value out of a process that already stands as the most effective way to take a peek into the lives of your target audience.