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first-party data in email marketing - green envelope
Jun 20, 2024

Email marketing and first-party data – a perfect pair

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

First-party data is an excellent way to understand customers and is a perfect addition to any email marketing campaign. User data can be collected alongside email list signups and then emails sent to users provide a perfect opportunity to gather information and feedback. First-hand data, like that collected via email marketing, can then be an effective tool for all future marketing efforts. 

While there are several effective ways to gather first-party data (like loyalty programs), email marketing is an obvious and effective method. Email marketing forms a one-to-one connection between the brand and customers, much like a conversation. This open line of communication lets marketers understand and reach users like no other marketing method. 

While contextual targeting and behavioral targeting both provide marketers with the tools to run targeted campaigns, data gathered via email marketing lets marketers personalize ads even further. 

This is because the data gathered from emails and the online forms used to create email lists is self-reported. First-party data like this is therefore more likely to be accurate. Subscribers can tell marketers exactly how they would like to be marketed to; all marketers have to do is listen. 

Email lists are perfect for collecting first-party data because they provide an incentive for providing personal information, while also letting marketers continue communicating with the customer.

First-party data is mutually beneficial

Marketers love first-party data because it gives them insight into customer interests and behaviors. Customers love first-party data because it provides them with tailored ads and opportunities they find relevant. A 2018 study from Publicis Epsilon found that 80% of customers were more likely to purchase from bands that provided personalized experiences. 

This data gives marketers the chance to connect with customers who’ve abandoned their carts. In turn, brands can salvage a sale and customers benefit when offered a discount for an item they were already considering. 

To make the most out of this mutually beneficial arrangement, marketers should continually challenge their data collection and management methods. Flexibility lets marketers adapt. Ask: what do you want to know from customers and what is the best way to ask? But don’t forget it’s also critical to consider why you’re asking. How is your data collection relevant to your customer’s experience? 

By adapting to fit customers’ needs, the relationship between customer and brand remains strong. Without mutual benefit, many customers will stop interacting; customers provide their information with the promise of added value. Without value to the customer, first-party data becomes inaccessible and less reliable. 

Prioritize data points

To get the most value from first-party data, take the time to prioritize which information is most valuable to a marketer. What do you really need to know? 

Customers will not provide infinite information, so consider what to ask first. Start by considering which data points have the greatest strategic impact. Then, consider how you can collect that information from as many customers as possible

For example, a retailer may find value in knowing a customer’s birthday. This gives them the chance to send promotional messages during that time of year. They can gather this information by promising a small gift or discount via email each year. 

By creating a priority list, brands can limit how much they ask from customers at once. It’s crucial that brands only ask email subscribers what they are willing to answer, or else users will simply unsubscribe and walk away. Ad fatigue does not only apply to commercials and website banners, emails can fatigue your customers too. 

As third-party cookies make their way out the door, first-party data will be crucial in shaping digital marketing’s future. Email marketing is the perfect opportunity to connect with users, gather valuable information, and provide incentives for data collection. This acts as the closest possible approximation to a direct line of communication between brand and customer. It should be maintained and nourished as any strong relationship requires. 

If you’re looking to boost your first-party data and dive into the world of email marketing, check out some of our other articles: 

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