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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Budai

MailNinja Guest Post: It All Starts with Data.

Data is a two-sided coin.

On one side you have the business that has access to this data. Their intention is to make sure this data is fresh and relevant to their business, understanding that email marketing is all about relevancy, and sending the right message to the right person.

On the other side you have the person that data belongs to, (that’s right, they own it, not you – more on that soon), their intention is to make sure their personal data doesn’t fall into the hands of spammers.

Before we move on, onto my point about data ownership.

It’s important to understand one thing.

There’s a misconception with email marketing over social media, in that with email marketing you own your database, whereas with social media you do not. The reality is that the data is not owned by you at all, it’s owned by the person it relates to – your customer or subscriber – and you are simply permitted by them to use it to send them stuff they are interested in. In fact, GDPR states that people need proper and easy access to their personal data and the ability to request removal of this data if they wish. They can even ask you to prove where and when you obtained this information, so you’d better keep a record.

If you’re a seasoned marketer you may be thinking “Right Doug, I know this already…”

Awesome, but I’ve worked with some huge brands for over 15 years, and trust me… this is a common misconception.

Now that’s out the way… when it comes to data we ultimately achieve two things:

  1. Keep data fresh and up to date, allowing your subscribers/customers access to this data to keep it updated themselves, ideally

  2. Keep a database of relevant subscribers/customers, and that we send them stuff they actually want to read or buy

Point one:

Keep data refresh and up to date, allowing your subscribers/customers access to this data to keep it updated themselves, ideally

Wherever your data ends up (marketing platform, ecomm platform etc), you’ll want to keep your data fresh. There’s two way to do this:

  1. Integrate a primary data source that you know has the most up to date data

  2. Give your subscriber/customer access to update it themselves

To integrate a data source, you will want to connect up different sources that contain different pieces of data, then thread it all together into a unified profile.

For example, if your subscriber is also a customer, that makes it easier. If you are shipping a physical product then chances are you have an up to date email address and physical address, so you know something more than just an email address. Whoo hoo.

Regarding access; some platforms are better at this than others, in that most offer up basic preference pages that allow subscribers to update their preferences. Ecomm companies have the vantage point here, as ‘customers’ will likely be more open to providing more personal information at the point of purchase, and you also have the transactional data to boot.

If you aren’t an ecomm company or are yet to attain any customers yet, you can achieve this by offering something of value, like an ebook or coupon, in turn for this ‘value’ you can ask your subscribers for more information, such as demographic data, allowing you to gather more information on them, and make your emails relevant and personal to them.

Second point:

Keep a database of relevant subscribers/customers, and that we send them stuff they actually want to read or buy

Email marketing is all about relevancy. If you send a highly personalised email, with products and info you KNOW they’re gonna love, then you’re on your way to email marketing success.

It’s important to attract people into your database that are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

At the top of your marketing funnel (before anyone has downloaded or purchased anything), you want to have a steady flow of new subscribers. For an ecomm company the obvious and logical thing to offer is a coupon off a first purchase, so you can drive someone from being interested to being a subscriber, then from subscriber to customer. That’s your main objective.

Coupons are great, but let’s vary this a little. Take Shopify Plus, they offer a bunch of live events like webinars and loads of helpful ecomm-related downloads, usually PDF ebooks. I’ve seen a lot of ads on LinkedIn for this.

The key here is to offer something valuable to the target demographic you want to attract.

At MailNinja, our resources (PDFs, free tools etc) attract around 50 subscribers every day. These resources are all relevant to the business (email and digital marketing). Once they subscribe we have an automated welcome series that introduces them to our company and what we offer, nothing salesy, it’s more about brand building than sales, as we want them to stick around and become engaged. Once they’re done with the automation, we keep them up to date on what we’re building (an email marketing platform).

– Doug Dennison

CEO at MailNinja

To learn more about what we’re building at MailNinja, head to

To connect to Doug on LinkedIn, go to

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