How to Use BI to Improve Your Email Marketing Goals

Summary: Business intelligence is key to establishing and adhering to successful email marketing goals. That means understanding what insights to leverage, how to apply them, and how to conduct your marketing campaigns. This guide explores the ins and outs.

Today’s marketers have more tools and insights at their disposal than ever before, like email verifier. But that doesn’t guarantee success. How you put those insights to use makes all the difference.

Arguably one of the most effective channels for information is a business intelligence platform. It can help marketers gain valuable information about an audience, their needs, their behaviours, and beyond. When applied to email marketing campaigns, it not only helps improve performance and success but also gives a leg up over the competition.

Here are some ways you can leverage BI to improve your email marketing goals.

1. Understand Business Intelligence

Data is the lifeblood of a solid and successful marketing campaign, which means you’ll be sifting through a ton of it. Understanding the difference between business intelligence and other strategies, like business analytics, will influence how you leverage the assets.

BI is more about descriptive analytics that detail historic and present data to help you contextually understand what is going on with a project, campaign, or decision. Business analytics, on the other hand, is more about using a host of data to predict what’s going to happen, or rather why something is going to happen.

So, the data you’re using must support the concept of understanding what is happening. Are your customers opening your emails? Are your subscriber counts dropping? Are your emails failing to increase engagement or sales?

2. Pieces, Assemble!

Rarely does a single business intelligence solution offer a comprehensive view of activities, data, and even analysis. A proper BI platform is made up of various tools, channels, and data streams — there are many parts to the whole, in other words. About 80% of creating impactful intelligence dashboards is not actually building the platform but collecting and organizing all the data sitting behind the scenes.

Not all data streams relate to email marketing or general marketing. To make the most of the incoming data, you first need to ensure you have the right pieces. Establishing a series of protocols for parsing this data, and building it into a more workable format, should always be step one. Some tools already deliver information in an actionable format, while some don’t. That’s precisely why this stage should exist, and why there should be a team dedicated to it, however small.

3. Work in Segments

At some point, you’re going to find yourself inundated with data. Maybe that’s already happening. You’ll be trying to make sense of click-through rates, email opens, responses or replies, bounce rates, and so on. It’s a lot to take in. And since there’s a bunch of metrics to deal with, it can be challenging trying to focus on one task.

Do you work on improving those open rates? Are click-throughs a better target for your business efforts? What about bounce rates? Do you care about customer feedback and replies? How do you process and utilize that information? What do you do with all those new emails and leads coming in?

You’ll drive yourself, and your team, crazy trying to focus on too much at once. Instead, work in segments, with individual goals. Then, find ways to maintain or work on those goals, nurturing improvements over time.

The important thing to remember is that when it comes to email marketing campaigns, there will always be something to work on. The trick is to not obsess so much over what needs to be done and how overwhelming it can be, but rather to narrow the focus to one process or challenge at a time.

4. Find Your “Thing”

Email marketing shouldn’t be used as just another sales or lead-burning channel. It’s an opportunity to communicate with your customers through extremely targeted demographics. Most people who subscribe are already interested in your products or services, so you’re doing them a disservice by just trying to sell more aggressively. The problem is finding something relevant to communicate about.

Imagine it like you’re walking up to a group of new people at a party. You know they like you and they enjoy talking to you, but you have no idea what to strike up a conversation about. That’s where business intelligence and reliable insights come into play. The information you have should be telling you what those people are interested in discussing.

Do they want to know more about what your products can do? Do they have a question they need to have answered? Does their behavior suggest they want an interactive demonstration or breakdown?

Find your “thing” or topic of discussion that you can use to engage with your customers and readers. Your emails should always be helpful, informative, and actionable, like how Salesforce introduces its customers to high-level resources.

5. Build Relationships

Because email marketing should be used as another channel of communication instead of just a separate sales funnel, it’s an excellent place to build relationships and rapport with potential customers. Fostering and nurturing those relationships, also called lead nurturing, should be a high priority.

Personalization is an awesome way to nurture close relationships and keep audiences happy, and that’s where business intelligence solutions can deliver the appropriate support. Use BI to learn about your target audience, their needs, and their behaviors. Then, incorporate that into marketing campaigns. Create buyer or customer personas, and then gather as much information as you can about them.

What do they like to do? What are their interests? What’s their average and common age? What region are they from? Why do they subscribe to your brand, and what are they looking for? Use what you can to strengthen the bond between brand and audience.

6. Identify Correlations

Let’s say you notice open rates have gone down after a recent campaign. It’s obvious that you should take that information and compare it to past metrics to understand how much it has gone down, when it started to snowball — if it has — and what that means for your future campaigns. Will there be fewer eyes on your content, for example?

The less obvious solution is to take that information and compare it to correlating details. That is what will tell you what is happening, and most likely why. But it’s not always apparent what metrics you should be comparing.

That’s why it’s important to find correlations early on, so you know what to look at and what to look for later. Maybe there’s an exodus event happening because of bad PR. Maybe people have stopped opening your emails because you’ve sent far too many over the past week or so.

Knowing how to identify these insights is half the battle. Look for ways to connect events, messaging, and sentiment with your email marketing statistics.

Dig In and Build for the Long Term

Email marketing is a reliable place to build relationships with both loyal and potential customers. To do that, however, you need to know a lot about them, their needs, and why they’re choosing to engage with your business. Cue business intelligence solutions, which can instantly reveal what’s happening and what happened in the past.

To make the most of BI, and apply it to email marketing, you need to assemble all the various insights and pieces of data to create a more complete picture. Then, you can branch out and focus on individual goals or missions. You can find your hook for why you’re communicating via email and what you’re doing with it. You can also use it to build and foster those successful relationships, which will convert leads into sales.

Finally, you can take the collection of insights you have available and find correlations or reasons why certain things are happening. You can then use those events to your advantage, or work around them, to create optimized campaigns.

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing firm prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.

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