Last week we talked about the importance of email targeting and ways to segment your audience to deliver more relevant content. So how do you go about acquiring the necessary information about your readers to start doing this?
1. Collect more audience data in the sign-up process
The most direct way to collect the information you need to begin segmenting your email list is to ask for it upfront in your sign up form. However, many email marketers wisely hesitate to ask for anything beyond the email address for fear that too many questions will deter potential subscribers. We have found that if your sign-up offer has value, you can ask for a few pieces of additional information. Proceed with a bit of caution if you go this route, and ask only what you WILL USE to create more targeted emails.
Another approach is to ask them for more information as they increase their engagement with your site. For example, after they sign up, offer another incentive in exchange for more information.
2. Ask your readers about themselves with a survey or quiz
For those who don’t want to deter potential subscribers with a lengthy sign up form, or want to know more about their longtime subscribers, follow up with a survey. SurveyMonkey integrates with a number of email service providers (ESPs) and some ESPs even have their own built-in survey tools. Give your readers incentive to participate in the survey such as a discount code or entry to win a prize upon completion. If you want to get creative, send out a quiz with interesting results — you can either collect the data you need within the quiz or as a requirement to see the results.
3. Leverage the data you already have
As audience segmentation becomes more and more important, most major email service platforms are building in valuable tools and analytics to better understand your readers. MailChimp for example tracks reader location when they open an email. You can then segment your list based on this geolocation data without needing to collect any additional information from your readers. Explore your email service platform to see what other data you may already have.
4. Include a call-to-action to update preferences in every email
A more passive approach is let your readers provide you with the information you want at their own convenience. Most email services providers offer a “preference tag” which allows subscribers to manage their own preferences. You can typically decide which information is visible for them to update — which lists they are on, sending frequency, interests, demographic data. Include a call-to-action in all of your emails asking users to indicate their preferences.
Want more ideas on how to fix your email marketing?
Read our popular post: 3 reasons why your email marketing strategy sucks out how to fix it and download our 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.