E-mail marketing is one of those things that most companies do. The problem is that few companies actually do it right. You know the drill: you craft an e-mail, you blast it out and you hope for the best. If you’re like most companies, however, your response rates are fairly dismal, and you’re more likely to get a collection of demands to remove your prospects from your mailing list, likely because you’re irritating them with improperly targeted messages and you’re blasting too often.
Professionals recommend that you make sure that your e-mails are content-based. For example, a series of e-mails focusing on the pains of most customers can be an easy way to get started and helps to identify interested prospects. Sending content-based e-mails to the right people – qualified prospects – can move your campaign forward dramatically. A campaign of FAQ e-mails helps move those qualified prospects toward the close with all the information they need to feel comfortable and knowledgeable, and ultimately request more information or move forward with a purchase.
These are the rules generally followed by companies that are successful in properly crafting and sending e-mail marketing. They are successful because they know their company, they know their prospects (and have qualified them), they know their prospects’ industry and they understand what the best possible message is. They also know that e-mail marketing shouldn’t exist in a vacuum: it should be crafted so that it complements your company’s overall customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. Your company’s CRM solution should able to help, writes Destination CRM’s Tricia Robinson.
“Several of today's CRM solutions--from the least sophisticated software to the priciest integrated offerings--contain a module for email marketing,” writes Robinson. “E-mail marketing is the most efficient, measurable method of communicating with your most valuable customers, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. However, it's essential to ask yourself if your CRM solution can offer the sophisticated functionality to create, track, schedule, and deliver your messages in today's changing e-mail marketing climate.”
So the question is, can your CRM solution handle an e-mail marketing campaign?
Solutions such as those from CRM provider Soffront can help with the basics, such as templates, to more complicated issues, such as compliance with CAN SPAM legislation and other regulations that pertain to e-mail communications. Opt-in forms that can be prominently displayed on your website and social media page can help turn visitors into e-mail subscribers. Easy to use wizards are able to help companies create the most effective opt-in forms. Many of these solutions also contain import tools allow you to easily import lists and external databases into CRM; they can also manage subscriptions for your contacts and invite them to manage their opt-in/opt-out preferences automatically.
With some thoughtful planning, proper use of your databases and a true understanding of what your prospects are looking for, you can turn what can sometimes be an indifferent tool – e-mail marketing blasts – into a valuable source of leads and sales.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey