5 Steps to Improving Subscriber Data for More Personalized Emails

By Cathy McPhillips

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When I started at the Content Marketing Institute in 2012, I sat with founder Joe Pulizzi to discuss the 2013 marketing goals. Back then – and still today – everything revolved around email subscribers and event (Content Marketing World) attendees.

Ever ambitious, Joe’s goal was always “double it.” And yes, double them we did. From email subscribers to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn followers, and more.

Fast-forward to fall 2015 when we were planning for 2016. We had over 150,000 subscribers. Wow! But really was it really a “wow”? At most points of subscriber entry, we purposely only asked for email addresses and maybe a first name. A long lead form could dissuade people from subscribing so we were satisfied with just having an email address. But learning more about our subscribers would allow us to truly customize messaging to them.


Learning more about our #email subscribers would allow us to customize messaging, says @cmcphillips.
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Additionally, learning more about our subscribers also would help our Content Marketing World marketing because over 75% of CMWorld attendees are subscribed to one or more of CMI’s newsletters.

That year, working with Joe and Audience Development Manager John Hanson, we determined that a “complete profile” (translation: usable and actionable) would include:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Company
  • Company size
  • Job function
  • Industry
  • Country

Of our 150,000 subscribers, we had that robust data for only 8% (12,000). Meaning we were doing a disservice to 138,000 subscribers because we couldn’t deliver the most valuable and relevant content for them.

Over the course of the next two years, our subscribers increased 40% (not double, but not a bad number), but, more importantly, complete profiles jumped from 8% to 48%.

What we did

1. Created a taxonomy

Creating a consistent taxonomy across CMI product offerings, …read more

Source:: content marketing

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