A few years back I saw the stand-up comic Phil Jupitus endure an excruciating two hours in a village hall in Cornwall.
He was trying out new material for a show he was doing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (which went on to get rave reviews). However, the audience in a village hall in deepest, darkest Cornwall are a very different breed to those in Edinburgh. He failed to take this into consideration and the result was a car crash of a show; he wasn’t happy, the audience weren’t happy, and the organisers felt dreadful.
Whether you’re doing stand-up, posting on social media, or sending out an email marketing campaign, if you fail to understand your audience you’ll fail full stop. The more you know about the people you’re trying to engage with (what they like, what they dislike, how they behave) the stronger your messaging will be.
Data is the key
Let’s take a look at how understanding your audience can benefit your email marketing campaigns.
Blasting the same content to everyone, in a generic tone, won't get the same results as tailoring your message. Knowing what your audience is interested in will help you to tailor campaigns to meet their needs (and not just your sales targets).
Data is the key to understanding your audience. This includes data specifically about them (where they live, when their birthday is, what they like) and data about how they behave (how often they purchase from you, what they buy, what content they engage with.)
Once you have this data - and understand how to use it - you can segment your database and send highly targeted emails to your subscribers which stand a much higher chance of converting than a ‘batch and blast’ email.
If we use a luxury hotel as an example, here’s what this looks like in practice:
- The first guests live locally to the hotel. They are a married couple in their mid 40s. They stay once a year in the shoulder months. They usually take advantage of ‘locals only’ offers. They visit the spa when they stay and play golf but they don’t eat at the restaurant
- The second guests are a family of four who stay once a year in the summer holidays. They book activities for their kids when they stay, eat at the hotel restaurant every night and engage with any content sent to them about things to do in the local area.
This information allows you to tailor your email marketing campaigns to each guest. The email to the first guests could have the subject line: “Shhhh! Our locals only offer is back” while the email to the second guests would say “We’re filling up fast! Book now for summer 2021.”
Now, these two campaigns would be designed to make the guests go on and book a stay. But it doesn’t stop there. To keep them engaged through the year you might send the first guests information on the latest spa treatments or the new beauty products you have while the second guests will be far more likely to engage with content about the provenance of the food in the restaurant or the latest things to do in the area.
A word of warning; if you take this approach and fail to segment your database correctly then you will most likely annoy customers and lose subscribers.
For example, if you send a locals only offer to your whole database you’re going to anger your subscribers who aren’t local and can’t take advantage of the offer. If you run a hotel in Falmouth and the recipient is in Newcastle, they are going to be annoyed, no matter how much they love the hotel, simply because it’s out of their reach. If this happens regularly, they will passively unsubscribe.
The same goes for sending a discounted half term offer, or guaranteed upgrade. If you send this to everyone, including those who have booked and paid full price, you’re going to undermine and anger those who have already booked. That’s why you need to suppress this data and choose the segment carefully.
The secret to success
Applying this level of sophistication to your email marketing campaigns means you’ll be delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. The same rings true for all businesses. Take the time to ask yourself who your loyal, frequent, and past customers are. Identify how they interact with you and pin down what drives purchasing decisions. The more you know about your subscribers, the more successful you marketing will be.
By making the effort to understand your audience you’ll avoid the fate of Phil Jupitus and - rather than getting laughed at for all the wrong reasons - your subscribers will love hearing from you and happily engage with your email marketing campaigns.
If you want to find out more about how data and understanding your audience can take your email marketing campaigns to the next level we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us here.