Future – Proof Your Email Marketing Strategies with First – and Zero – Party Data

Email marketing remains a crucial component of any business's marketing strategy. But with data privacy concerns and new regulations like the GDPR and CCPA, it's becoming more challenging to effectively target your audience. That's where the concept of first-party and zero-party data comes in.  

Here, we'll dive into what these types of data are and how you can use them to future-proof your email marketing strategies. By the end of this post, you'll have a solid understanding of how to utilize first- and zero-party data to create targeted, relevant, and compliant email campaigns that drive results. Let's get started! 

Future-Proof Your Email Marketing Strategies with First- and Zero-Party Data:

Understanding Different Data Types 

Zero-Party Data

What is zero-party data? To put it simply, it's information about your customers' preferences, hobbies, or demographics that they voluntarily share directly with your brand. Zero-party data is not inferred from customer behavior, but is instead explicitly provided by the customer to you with their consent. Examples of zero-party data include things a customer shares about themselves, like their gender, age, location, and preferences. In contrast to first-party data, which you infer from your consumers’ behavior and engagement in your email campaigns, zero-party data is information that the customer provides of their own volition. This frees you from the obligation of relying on cookie tracking or any other potentially invasive methods in order to collect information about your audience.

What are the Benefits of Zero-Party Data?

There is a wide range of potential upsides to incorporating zero-party data into your email marketing efforts. To begin, it enables you to construct a more comprehensive image of the people you intend to reach. This, in turn, can assist you in developing email marketing campaigns that are actually relevant and engaging. In addition, given that your clients are the ones who are actively choosing to provide you with this information, they are more likely to trust you and to have a greater level of investment in your brand. This could also lead to increased open and click-through rates, which can ultimately lead to more conversions being made.

How to Collect Zero-Party Data

The question now is, how can you begin utilizing zero-party data in the email marketing campaigns that you run? Customers can be asked about their preferences and interests through the use of on-site displays like pop-up’s, surveys, and quizzes. You might also provide clients with an incentive, like a discount code, in exchange for completing a survey. Also, don't forget to be clear about how you're using this data; your consumers will appreciate knowing that their information is being put to good use if they know that you're being honest about how you're using it.

First-Party Data

First-party data is information that you gather directly from your consumers through your owned marketing channels and sources, like your website. There are two main types of first-party data: customer data and user data. Customer data includes information you have collected from your customers, such as purchase history or demographic information. User data is gleaned from a customer’s interactions with your brand, such as email engagement, website browsing history, and more. It’s important to note that first-party data is not collected with the customer’s explicit consent; here, implicit consent is enough. However, this data remains extremely valuable because first-party data is information that your brand has collected through owned marketing channels, and does not need to be purchased from third-party sources.

What are the Benefits of First-Party Data?

So, what are the benefits of using first-party data in your email marketing strategies?  For one, it enables you to develop email campaigns that are both highly targeted and very personalized. You can send email messages that are targeted to each group by segmenting your audience according to certain preferences or behaviors, and then sending those segments. This ultimately results in a greater number of conversions, since it leads to higher open and click-through rates. 

In addition, utilizing data from first-party sources enables you to strengthen the relationships you have with your consumers. The fact that you gather and use this information demonstrates to your clients that you respect both their right to data privacy and their data rights. You are able to demonstrate that you understand their requirements and preferences if you make use of their data to develop email marketing campaigns that are more pertinent and tailored.

How to Collect First-Party Data

So, how can you get started utilizing first-party data in the email marketing campaigns that you run? Collecting information from clients using online forms on your website, such as those for subscribing to your newsletter or reviewing products, is one option. You may also construct targeted email campaigns by using customer data from your customer relationship management (CRM) system or your e-commerce platform. And don't forget to provide your consumers with the opportunity to opt-in or opt out of getting emails from you, in order to comply with data protection rules such as the GDPR and the CCPA.

Third-Party Data

The term "third-party data" refers to any information that you gather about your customers from sources that are not directly related to your relationship with those customers. This may include information obtained from databases or data brokers on a person's demographic characteristics, interests, and purchase history. Data obtained from third parties are frequently compiled from a wide range of sources, including public records, online behaviors, and many more. 

There are a number of advantages that might come from incorporating data from a third party into your email marketing campaigns. To begin, it has the potential to assist you in reaching new customers who may not have previously interacted with your business. You can expose these customers to your business through email marketing campaigns by targeting them based on the interests, behaviors, or demographic information you have about them.

What are the Benefits of Third-Party Data?

Data from a third party can assist you in gaining a deeper comprehension of your current customer base, which can help you better serve them. You may generate a more complete picture of your target audience by merging data from first-party sources with data from third-party sources. This can assist you in developing email marketing campaigns that are even more pertinent and targeted. 

However, it is essential to keep in mind that using data from a third party comes with a number of restrictions and potential dangers. For instance, the accuracy of data obtained from third parties might sometimes be questionable, and there may be privacy and security risks associated with the acquisition and utilization of this data. In addition, the use of data from third parties may be subject to limits under some data privacy rules, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

What is Happening to Third-Party Data?

Third-party data has been a hot topic in recent years, and for good reason. With growing concerns about data privacy and security, many organizations are rethinking their use of third-party data. Data privacy laws, like the GDPR in the EU and the CCPA in the United States, are one of the most important changes. These rules put limits on how personal data, including data about other people, can be collected, stored, and used. 

Also, more and more people are learning about their data rights and how valuable their personal information is. Because of this, consumers’ views on privacy have changed, and many people are now less likely to share their information with third-party organizations. Due to these changes, many companies are moving away from third-party data and focusing more on first-party data. By getting information from their customers directly, they can make sure the data is correct, build stronger relationships with their customers, and show that they care about data privacy.

3 Email Marketing Strategies with First- and Zero-Party Data

Employing both first-party and zero-party data is the key to successful email marketing. To help you get going, here are 3 techniques: 

Email Marketing Strategies

A Subject Line that is Tailored to the Reader's Interests

Have you ever noticed how much more likely you are to open an email if it addresses you by name? That is the power of personalization, and it is the reason why putting zero-party data into your subject lines, such as the name of your client, may be a game-changer for your email marketing. 

Personalized subject lines are an effective way to attract the attention of your consumers and to make them feel as though the content of your emails is more pertinent to them and essential to you. In turn, this can lead to higher open rates, improved engagement, and overall improvement in results. 

Simply using your customer's first name, or their entire name if you have it, is all that is required to generate personalized subject lines for your emails. You are also able to customize the subject lines of emails depending on additional zero-party data about the recipient, such as their location, purchase history, or interests. This contributes to the development of a more personalized and pertinent email experience for each of your consumers.

Divide Your Email List into Smaller Groups

Do you occasionally get emails that seem to have nothing to do with you? It's inefficient for your business and frustrating for your customers. Yet, targeted email strategies can help. 

Your email list can be divided into segments using first-party data like purchase history when you use segmented campaigns. As a result, you may send emails to your customers that are better tailored to their specific interests and needs. 

Customers who have recently purchased a product can be targeted with a different campaign than those who haven't. Customers who have already made a purchase can be reached via email for further upselling and product recommendations. Those who haven't bought from you yet can be encouraged to do so by sending them campaigns that feature your products.

Reminders for Abandoned Carts

Have you ever put something in your online shopping cart and then forgotten about it? Everyone goes through it. But for online stores, carts that are left empty can be a real pain. There is a solution, though, for recovering abandoned carts. 

With abandoned cart reminders, you can use first-party data, like what a customer left in their cart, to send follow-up emails that are more relevant to them. Reminding website visitors of what they forgot to buy and making it simple to do so with these notifications can help you recoup lost revenue and boost conversion rates. 

For example, you can send an email to a customer an hour or two after they leave items in their shopping cart. You may encourage them to complete their purchase by sending them a reminder email that draws attention to the benefits of the things they abandoned in their shopping cart. If you want to increase sales, you may also provide a limited-time promotion or discount. 

Reaching out to customers who have abandoned their shopping carts can be an easy and effective strategy to increase revenue and conversion rates. And because they are built on first-party information, they are tailored specifically to each individual customer. 

Final Thoughts 

As we wrap up this discussion about using first- and zero-party data in your email marketing strategy, it's important to emphasize the value of personalization in today's crowded digital landscape. With so much competition for people's attention, it's more important than ever to make sure your emails stand out and deliver real value to your customers. 

So, take some time to review your email marketing strategy and see how you can incorporate more first- and zero-party data. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes! 

Author Bio:


Ashley Ismailovski

Ashley Ismailovski is the Director of Email Marketing at SmartSites, a digital marketing agency that has been an Inc5000 fastest growing company for the last 6 years. Ashley is an email & SMS marketing expert, who is best known for her Masterclass video series with Privy, A Complete Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization, and her participation in Klaviyo's 2023 Community Champion program. SmartSites operates as a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media Management, and Web design. Since their start in 2011, they’ve managed $500M in paid search, won 30+ design awards, received 1k+ 5-star reviews, and have worked with almost every industry imaginable.

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