McDonald’s decided to take engagement to a whole new level. The fast food giant put up an interactive billboard in Sweden that allows those passing by to engage in a classic game of Pong tennis via their mobile phones. Coupons for McDonald’s discounts are being rewarded to participants lucky enough to stay alive for 30 seconds.

Over the years, companies have employed methods of all sorts to target the masses. The McDonald’s Pong-powered billboard is a more extreme example, but email marketing is a simpler tactic that could work just as well. And while this tool can provide you with convenient access to a large audience, it takes a well crafted targeting strategy to reach the individual subscriber.

How Well Do You Know Your Audience?

The key to use a mass marketing tool like email effectively is knowing your audience. You may have defined an ideal market, but what about the individuals that make up that market? Who are they? What are they like? Getting to know your audience entails a lot, probably much more than it seems, so to give you a better idea, here is some information that will be good to collect:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Interests

This is simple demographic data that could prove invaluable to your email marketing strategy. Just having these basic details helps you understand much more about the person you are targeting. For example, if an individual or even a group of subscribers indicate that they are only interested in receiving information at the moment, this could prevent you from scaring them off by sending offers. What you know about your audience ultimately dictates your strategy and marketing in general. Or at least it should.

Being in the Dark Comes with a Price

When it comes to using email marketing to reach the masses, your lack of focus could cost you dearly. There is much standing in between you and your audience, and competition is perhaps the most serious. Not only do you have to worry about marketers from your industry, but every other sender your subscriber has decided to have an email relationship with. Fail to maintain their interest, and they’ll tune you out in a heartbeat because they simply have other options. The consequences of your message falling on deaf ears could be more bounces, unsubscribes and complaints. By narrowing your focus, you can make it easier for your marketing message to stand out and give subscribers a reason to take notice.

Get That Data

You can start getting to know your audience the moment they sign up. While this information is usually enough to get you started, there is no need to stop there. You can get even more valuable information about your subscribers through occasional surveys and regular two-way interactions. Combine this with your performance data, and you will be that much closer to understanding what your audience truly wants.