How do I combine activity data with preference data for even more-relevant e-mail campaigns?

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The data you collect on your customers and prospects from your preference center is a great place to start to make your cross-channel communications more relevant, but you can do even better. By enhancing preference center data with behavioral data—information you can gather about your customers based on actions they take (or don’t) on your website or within e-mail communications—your programs will be even more successful.

Where do you begin? Start by looking at the data you’ve already collected and build from there. See what holes you need to fill. You can do this by analyzing a number of different behaviors: Are your e-mails being opened? Are links being clicked on? If so, which ones? How frequently are e-mails being opened and clicked on? Is your e-mail flowing to the junk mail folder? Is the e-mail being forwarded?

E-mails are just one place to get more information. Visits to your website are another. Whether or not a Web visitor purchased, you often know what pages they visited. Page-view data can yield a huge amount of valuable customer preference and interest information to help you further personalize your messaging. Your ultimate goal is to incorporate this information into the customer’s profile within your marketing database.

Marrying behavioral data with your preference center data allows you to accomplish two things: First, you can ensure you have accurate information on your customers; and, second, you can fine-tune your communications based not just on what they say but also on how they act.

Now you know what to do, but still need to know how to do it. Here are a few simple tips to get you started:

  • Make sure you’re accurately tracking your links and pages, both in your e-mails and on your website. If you’re not, you’re losing valuable information.
  • Have multiple links in your e-mails. This will allow you to understand your customers’ interests.
  • Analyze your data. Your customers are telling you what they want. You just need to listen
By paying attention to your customers’ declared preferences, and inferring their interests from their day-to-day behaviors, you can create even more-relevant and effective communications.

Michael Thompson is director-deliverability and ISP relations for ClickSquared (, a provider of relationship marketing programs.

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