The Data Points You Need to Master Email Automation

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Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails (Campaign Monitor). So, the argument for automating your emails is pretty much already won. But, what work do marketers need to do to ensure their email marketing, nurture campaigns, and social media activity is effective? The answer is knowing your data!


How to collect the right data points?

When thinking about what data to collect on your prospects, you should break it down into profile and behavior. Aka who is this person, and what have they done? This will help you to focus on the type of data that is going to be useful in moving them through the buying process later on.


Forms are the most obvious way you can capture data within your marketing automation platform (MAP). For example, when you’ve got a piece of content that people can download or an event where you want someone to register, creating a form in your MAP is the simplest way of making sure you’re capturing that data. 

Keep it simple – as we all know people don’t like to fill in long forms. You yourself have probably gone to websites and been confronted with forms that have put you off. Keep it brief and use auto-fill tools where you can. 


Surveys can be a great way of gathering information on prospects as you move them through the sales funnel. Your sales team may need additional information to aid the buying process e.g. What’s the prospect’s budget? What size are they looking for? What location are they looking for? This isn’t top of funnel activity but having the answers to these fundamental questions will give you insights on the type of content you should be pushing.

You should build a survey that is directly integrated into your MAP so that you can immediately pull the data which will drive the content of your future emails.


Data enrichment should be your best friend. This is where you merge third-party data from an external authoritative source with your existing database of first-party customer data. companies do this to enhance the data they already possess so they can make more informed decisions (redpointglobal). There are a lot of tools that will help you to add industry data or sets of company data which allows you to further personalize, target, and segment your emails.

There are many data enrichment tools you can use, such as Explorium, Audienceplay, InsideView, Salesgenie, or Clearbit.

Digital behavior is another key data point to collect. You need to understand where these people have come from and where they have already interacted with you. For example, where is your event registration data held? Try and see whether you can integrate your event platform with your MAP so that this data can be easily organized.

“My own experience is that if I do not have my webinar platform connected up with my marketing platform I end up spending a lot of time trying to segment my mailing list,” says Holly Gage, SIA Coach. 

“I end up thinking… ‘I want to send a second webinar email now. But hang on, I’ve got to exclude the people who have registered so far and I need to do that as of today. I need to go re-export that list’. It takes so long and it means that you often don’t end up sending enough reminders because you just don’t have the time to keep doing it!” 

HubSpot, for example, will track what pages people have visited and what reminder emails they’ve opened, as long as you’ve got the right tracking data in place.

Mistakes to avoid…

There are common data problems that you can avoid with a few simple steps. Holly Gage, our coach for the Work Smarter with Email Automation course, touches on this in class.

Unusable formats, multiple values, and typos in forms

Often, when you fill out a form you’ll see form fields like ‘country code’ which is free text. The problem with this is one person may type in “the UK”, someone else will write the “United Kingdom”, and somebody else might put in “Great Britain”. When you’re pulling your list at the other end, you’ve got to factor all of this in. If you do not have that data in a consistent format, then you won’t be able to personalize, segment, or target your emails. 

Holly recommends using picklists so that you have consistent data types coming from your forms. A picklist is a list of name-value pairs; when you add a picklist to a form, the names appear as options on a drop-down list. Picklists allow viewers to select one or more options from the list, depending on the picklist type (Oracle). The most obvious places to use a picklist in forms are in Industry and Country fields.


Unconnected systems

Data held in multiple unconnected systems is a big problem. If you’re using a MAP like HubSpot, there’s a whole wealth of connectors they have set up allowing you to connect up with lots of different factors. Or, you can use tools such as Zapier or Segment which are tools that connect your different systems allowing you to bring that data in automatically.



Duplication can be a big problem for lots of companies. Start with examining your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to sure that your CRM isn’t full of duplicate data. You need to know who the right contacts are and clean your lists.


Not being General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant 

This is another big one. Having the right opt-in process and knowing who you can contact and how you can use their personal data through your CRM and MAP systems is vital. If you have subscribers based in the EU, you are responsible for following GDPR regulations even if you operate outside the EU. It’s important to note that the “GDPR definition of personal data is far-reaching and includes things like behavioral data, IP addresses, biometric and financial data to name a few,” (MailerLite). So, it’s not just names and email addresses.

You can use tools like MailerLite to automate your emails and keep up to date with GDPR rules. MailerLite makes it easy for you to revalidate your subscribers’ list with a new GDPR template. If you can’t get this right then you can’t move forward with your campaigns. Have a read of How to ensure your email marketing is GDPR compliant.


Have a go yourself!

  1. If you don’t have a MAP, list the challenges that you think a MAP would solve and research which system would be the best fit for your business e.g. HubSpot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo, and Oracle Eloqua.
  2. If you do have a MAP, decide what emails you should be automating. Think about which emails are taking you the most time to create and send? Look at your email engagement and ask yourself which emails would benefit from more personalization?
  3. Replace some free text fields in your forms with picklists to standardize your data.


Work Smarter with Email Automation with Holly Gage

Email Automation is the most popular type of marketing automation with 80% of marketers reporting an increase in leads due to automation. Marketing automation also increases productivity by 20%, which has a positive knock-on effect on not only your personal output but also the marketing team’s proficiency.



Our course with Holly Gage – Work Smarter with Email Automation – teaches how best to capture and use data to create engaging email campaigns.

Holly is a Marketing Consultant at Rowland Gage Limited with 21 years of experience in marketing, working in Europe, Asia, and the US. She brings a fresh hands-on approach to classes by using recent examples of email automation successes.

Want to master an essential part of commercial output? Revenue, sales, and marketing ops teams, as well as CMOs and Content & Product marketers, can all make the most of the hours in the day through email automation.


Members can enroll here.