…but here’s my number, Facebook login, height, weight, favourite day of the week and cat’s birthday, email me maybe?
As email marketers, we all know the importance of knowing our customer. Burly truck drivers don’t want to see your newest range of flowery dresses (well most of them don’t) and there’s no point in telling your Scottish subscribers about your London store event, but how much information is too much information?
Like everything, the answer differs based on who you are, what you’re delivering and who you’re speaking to, but here’s a couple of top tips to decide on how much information you need:
Only gather what you want to use
This is the golden rule. As appealing as having a detailed insight into every client is, if you’re not going to use it, don’t capture it. For example, unless you’re sending a birthday communication or segmenting based on age, date of birth is surplus to requirements for you.
It’s a value exchange
Email marketing is a value exchange. You’re being given a contacts email address because the contact believes you’ll use it to send information that is of benefit to them. This stretches past the initial contact details. For every extra piece of information a contact gives you, they expect it to add value to your offering. If they tell you they like tennis, they want to see you talking to them more about tennis. This means you need to be sure you can offer the breadth of content to cater for the different segments you’re creating.
So once you’ve determined how much data you need, you can be clever about how you capture that data in order to not sound too intrusive. Remember, sign up is one of the points when they’re most engaged, after all they’ve come to you…
Phase your data capture
One of the major downsides of asking for lots of data as it will put people off signing up at all. You can reduce this risk by asking for data post sign up. The downside? You may get less people on your database with fully completed profiles, but surely that’s a risk worth taking to ensure they sign up in the first place?
Use clever sign up boxes
A trend amongst clothing retailers is to replace the ‘Sign up’ button with 2 separate ones for ‘Mens’ and ‘Womens’, after all we all know how a sign up works so why not capture your first bit of customer data without them having to think twice about it?
Offer a discount
As I’ve said, it’s a value exchange, so maybe offer a little sweetener to make them more inclined to tell you about themselves.
Data enables us to create a better user experience for the subscriber, in doing so, it increases their propensity to buy. An email marketer should gather data that they know will use to tailor the emails they’re sending and no more, so ask yourself, what’s the best user experience I can create - then ask yourself what data you require to make this happen.