Using Data-Centered Storytelling To Enchant & Engage Your Email Audience

Our goal as savvy email marketers is to look beyond the lure of the one-time conversion and strive to build an ongoing relationship between consumers and our brands. Why is this goal so important? Because it’s been proven through many a marketing study that engaged customers become loyal customers and loyal customers are the most valuable segment in any list or database.

This type of highly engaged, loyal customer typically has higher overall lifetime value than the casual consumer. They’re also more likely to be an evangelist, introducing new customers to your brand in a very personal way and building the next layer of loyal customers.

But, how can you help to build a stronger bond with your customer base? In my last article, I outlined ways to stimulate an unengaged audience by increasing the relevancy of your email creative by including more dynamic content. Sharing relevant content demonstrates to customers that we know them as individuals and are dedicated to providing them with useful information, products or services.

Using historical and behavior data is a great way to present content that’s tailored to their individual needs and preferences, but you also need to engage with your audience on an emotional level in order to achieve the goal of creating a true brand-loyal customer.

This means you need to talk to your audience members like they’re real people — and real people are most satisfied when they are making connections. One of the easiest ways to make a connection is to share a story that’s easy to relate to, fun or draws the user deeper into their customer journey.

Let’s explore four creative ways in which email marketers have used data as a platform to build creative that forms a bond between their customers and their brand.

Example #1: JetBlue TrueBlue Summary/Reactivation Email

This could have easily been a straightforward annual summary statement. But instead, JetBlue used some simple data — last flight taken — to remind the customer of their last trip.

The most personalized and relevant information is at the top of the email. Scrolling down the email, the story is still based on data but becomes less personalized and more about all JetBlue travelers. Finally, the email includes stats about the JetBlue loyalty program itself.

Overall, the email creates the impression of a personalized message, and also makes recipients feel as if they’re truly a part of a community of JetBlue travelers.


Example #2: LinkedIn Invitation

As a recipient, I was delighted to see this personalized message come across my inbox. Now, when I later discovered that the top 1% most viewed profiles received their own separate email (which didn’t include me), I was a little less stoked. But, ego-busting moment aside, this is a great application of data-centered story telling that has a very relatable component to it.


Example #3: Microsoft SkyDrive Thank You

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s answer to cloud based media storage recently thanked their user base with this mobile-friendly email. The message kicks off with a thank you and a bold statement that affirms the size of the SkyDrive user base, making the recipient feel like they’re part of a larger movement. While less personalized, the message still pulls upon stats and metrics to frame the story of how SkyDrive has served their community throughout the year.


Example #4: Orbitz Destination Email

While the use of data is less obvious in this example, it is still driving the main message of the email. Subscribers within driving distance of major city centers received a message that was customized for their metro area and other likely drive-in destinations. In the middle is a fun game to draw readers though the email. What this shows is that you don’t necessarily have to use stats to have a data-driven message — you can use data like location, interests and purchase history to help create a compelling and personalized email.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to take a little extra time to brainstorm on your next engagement assignment. Why not use data in a creative way to promote the confidence and trust that lead to repeat business for your brand?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column


About The Author: is a Creative Director with Responsys — a technology company with a focus on cross-channel digital direct marketing solutions. Over the last seven years she has created campaign for leading brands, which have been recognized industry wide for their high creative standards and campaign performance.

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  • Pallab Kakoti

    Great share and had to re-post it with your permission on our Email Marketing discussion group @ –


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