Combining consistent audience development and targeted email is the key to success for media companies, publishers and beyond.
Alongside this article, Brandon Badger, Product Manager for PostUp, sat down with Liz Huff, Senior Director of Customer Success for Second Street, recorded a webinar “Top 5 – Expand Your Audience and Grow Revenue Through Targeted Email” – watch it here.
The Importance of First-Party Data
Let’s start by talking about first-party data. This is the gold standard of data, information collected directly from an individual or customer by a company. This information is owned and controlled by the company – for example, running a promotion in which users complete a registration form to participate.
Brands are experiencing an approximate 30% churn in email each year1, through unsubscribing and those data becoming inactive. Combine this with PostUp research which shows zero-party data from new list subscribers outperforms tenured subscribers’ revenue generation by 200%.
Alongside this, broadcast media would lose $2.1 billion in digital advertising revenue annually (6.3% of the total industry) when third-party cookies are depreciated2.
Finally, first-party data will help you facilitate better segmentation, target better and increase the all-important ROI on your email, and other marketing channels using your first-party data.
How to Grow Your First-Party Database
Now we can agree that first-party data is important, let’s look at some best practices when growing this valuable data.
First up, evaluate what you have, scrub your lists of unengaged users, and form a goal strategy. Do you need to grow certain advertising categories? Focus more on personalizing content? Increase advertising revenue? What achievable goals can you set to test that your strategy is working?
As you look to grow your first-party data, make sure you have an opt-in for users to provide explicit consent on everything – and do not precheck your opt-ins! Be explicit and involve your legal team, with your opt-in data. An example could be “Yes, I want emails from Upland Example Media Company, its affiliates, and advertisers about promotions, offers, deals and events!”.
Alongside the actual consent, it is a good idea to collect other demographics but, and it may sound obvious, only collect what you need. A long opt-in form with countless questions is far less likely to be completed. So, keep it direct and simple, focus on actionable data (i.e., data which can be used to segment future emails, for example).
Let’s unpack this segmentation a little further and focus on interest tagging. As well as opt-in forms themselves, data collected from a Second Street contest can also be used to tag a contact. Going further, and your email service provider can help with this, tag your contacts based on the clicks on emails and indeed on websites.
All this intelligence will form the most complete picture about each of your first-party data contacts and give you the tools to deliver high-performing email.
As well as segmenting the audience, use dynamic content in your email to increase relevancy of newsletter, reduce churn and increase engagement. Tags enable you to send one email to one list, and it will be seen differently by each recipient based on the dynamic content in the email.
Don’t get too niche with your tagging – spot trends in your analytics and jump on it!
Create a Clear Monetization Plan
The overall goal of many email campaigns is to monetize your data. Inbox placement and deliverability are key to landing your emails into the inbox.
There are four main monetization strategies to help you realize a high ROI.
- Scale up your newsletter program quickly with data and new categories (use email automation to get you there).
- Dedicated/promotional Emails to untapped segments (PostUp’s Inventory Management tool can help your coordinate with your sales teams).
- Run personalized drip sequences, customer journeys, for Subscription Management campaigns.
- Include in-email ads (programmatic, house, direct sold).
Email will be part of your overall marketing technology stack alongside SMS, podcasts, social posting, mobile push, and ecommerce. Where possible, connect and integrate your data and content marketing technology with your email service provider to give your data a joined-up experience.
Finally, an important strategy is re-engagement. Remember the 30% churn statistic, and alongside this, up to 75% of your list may be inactive, depending on age.
Re-engaged data is just as important as new first-party data and there are some key best practice strategies to drive this. Try, after three months of no opens, change daily subscribers to a weekly cadence, include offers and ensure there is a one-click button to upgrade them back to daily emails.
Value content will encourage re-engagement. Temporarily stop sending dedicated advertising emails. While these can be lucrative, better open rates on the offers help publishers command a higher price for reaching engaged subscribers.
In final weeks, proactively send a different newsletter (for example, if a subscriber receives sports, send them entertainment).
If the subscriber still does not engage after a few weeks, send them a final email with subject line like “FINAL EMAIL: last chance to keep your subscription”. In it, have a button to allow them to reactivate their subscription.
And, as always, test, test, and test some more!
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