How to Use Analytics to Create Targeted Email Campaigns

When we think UX, we think about the ways we help our users navigate our website. Among various types of conversions (subscriptions, submitting a form, etc.), the primary objectives are the conversions that directly translate to revenue. These conversions could be clicks that lead to advertising revenue, or checkouts that lead to sales.

So we optimize our visual design, we optimize our navigation, we reduce any clutter, and the user generally finds it easier to navigate your website. But … what happens when the user doesn’t find anything they like, despite how fantastic the user experience is? What happens when there’s so much to consume that the thing they need is like a needle in a haystack?

In this article, I’m going to talk to you about targeted user experiences, the careful art of finding out what users want, and delivering it. We can use these concepts to tailor content depending on the users’ needs. While some may consider this marketing, it’s actually a combination of both design and marketing. Design doesn’t always mean visual design.

What We’ll Learn Here

We’ll learn how to find out what users want using analytics, segment them into tailored email lists, then send them content recommendations via email. The same concepts can be applied to users visiting your website (i.e. “Popular content”, “You might also be interested in …”, etc.), but since email UX is a very neglected aspect of design, we’ll be using that as an example.

We’ll also talk about UX in regards to what happens when the user clicks on something they like in an email.

Email Marketing 101 (Optional Reading)

There are two main approaches to email marketing:

  • the traditional “batch-and-blast” approach, in which you lump all subscribers together and email them the same thing
  • the targeted approach, in which relevant emails are sent to segmented subscribers based on their interests.

Sending targeted emails is by far the most effective (although larger websites will benefit the most). In fact, it’s so effective that a study by MarketingSherpa found that it can boost email conversions by up to 208%. We’ll use a combination of email marketing and analytics to deliver this relevant content. (By “content” I mean products or articles.)

Step 1: Isolate Email Traffic

First things first: you’ll want to isolate your email traffic from any other traffic and make it so you can find out how individual email campaigns are doing. You need to know how your email efforts are contributing to your conversions in the grand scheme of things. With Google Analytics, this can be done with Tags and Advanced Segments.

Start by creating link-tracking tags using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder. This will help you create URLs with utm_parameters that will help you track clicks and campaigns.

Google campaign URL builder

Fill in the relevant details:

  • Website URL: this should be the exact web page you want to link to
  • Campaign Source: the source of the traffic (which in this case, is the name of your newsletter)
  • Campaign Medium: the medium in this case is “email”
  • Campaign Name: the unique, friendly name of the campaign (used for conducting analysis/identification)
  • Campaign Term: we don’t need this right now
  • Campaign Content: this is for A/B testing reasons—for example, if you wanted to create multiple versions of the same link inside the same email, this can be used to differentiate them (e.g. “text logo”, “image logo”).

Once you’ve filled in all the relevant details, scroll down, where your link will look something like this:

Google UTM link

You’ll send your email subscribers to this link, where the utm_parameters you’ve defined will automatically be tagged as coming from your email marketing efforts. For every email link you want to track, you’ll repeat these steps. Although some email marketing software does this automatically, it’s important to know the underlying concept of how it works.

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Source: Sitepoint