A database consisting of just email addresses is of limited use in planned email marketing. Information alone is not enough. What you need is relevant information. But that leads to the question: what is relevant?
You will, of course, have your customers’ purchasing history and that must be included on the database. But a tick in the relevant box tells you very little beyond the fact that they have bought something.
The email itself, or at least their response to it, will provide considerable detail. For instance the percentage of times they open the email, and then click through. These statistics will provide a rather course way of judging the customer it is true so what you need to do is narrow the range.
For a more precise assessment of your customers you will want a certain systemised system to record key points about their habits. The most fundamental are:
• How often they purchase,
• How much they have paid,
• What they have bought, and
• How recent was their last purchase
The point of collecting and referencing this data is to predict a customer’s likely behaviour. Whilst it is accepted that this is less than precise, it is far from crude and, more to the point, it can be an effective marketing tool.
The record will show not only how often they have completed a purchase with you but other rates, such as how often their purchases have corresponded with an email campaign. Depending on your product, frequency of visits to a website can be included.
This will not be just a case of total value of their orders. An average might be more appropriate depending on your product, and it is also useful to have it averaged out over a period of time, the length depending again on what you sell.
Type of purchase
You need to know not only what items they have purchased but what relevance these had to any recent purchases. If they bought a product such as a printer from you, their purchase of ink cartridges will tell you much about them.
The timing of their last purchase can of considerable use on its own. But again, it is not only purchases that we need to record but also the last time they opened a marketing email, clicked through to the microsite or logged on to the website.
Further, with an integrated marketing strategy where other forms of media are used to support your email marketing, you will need to include the date of, for instance, any direct mail sent, or phone calls made, to the customer.
The point of a database is that it should consist of relevant and quantifiable information so that it can lead in classifying the customer. Whilst it has to be accepted that it can be a broad brush, what it is not is arbitrary. It is discrimination in its best sense. It predicts what a customer’s preferences are, what might put them off and, most importantly, it predicts their likely response to an email.