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How can I reach my most valuable e-mail customers?

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If you’ve ever spent time evaluating the incremental contribution an e-mail subscriber brings to your bottom line versus that of a nonsubscriber, you know that subscribers tend to drive more revenue. If you haven’t looked at that, now is the time.

After you’ve completed the exercise, take it a step further: Look at your subscribers’ behavior and their engagement with your e-mail program. Collect data such points as length of subscription, how long they’ve been a customer or prospect, job title and frequency with which they open and click. Then let the analysis begin.

Dig in to the details to identify clusters or groups of similar subscribers. Next, create corresponding engagement categories—highly engaged to unengaged—filing each subscriber accordingly. Now you are on your way to reaching your most valuable e-mail customers.

Once you have finished this exercise, it is time to get strategic with the data. In order to reach your most valuable customers, you need to know more about their online behavior. This can be accomplished by doing some proprietary research like a customer survey; executing a data append to help identify and understand presence, affiliations and engagement in the social space; performing a detailed analysis of purchase behavior to uncover buying cycles and frequency of brand engagement; and looking at previous engagement with acquisition or evangelist programs to uncover advocacy.

Leveraging any single piece of this information or any combination thereof will help you understand who among your e-mail subscriber base has influence over their organizations and/or their professional networks.

Not only are you now able to determine who your most valuable e-mail customers are, you know where they are—and knowing where they are drives how you reach them. For some, it may be a combination of e-mail and social programs; for others it may be event materials and SMS programs. The integrated communication possibilities are numerous, but you will never get there if you don’t fully understand the data first.

Kara Trivunovic is senior director of strategic services at e-mail marketing and social CRM provider ThreadMarketing, a StrongMail company (www.threadmarketing.com).

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