As terms such as 'customer relationship management' (CRM) and 'business intelligence' creep into marketing language, it is important to clarify the benefits that these disciplines offer to digital marketers. With that in mind, we have put together the following practical checklist for ensuring CRM-focused email marketing:
1. Respect the recipient
Before sending anything, put yourself in their position to check that the email is of value in some way.
2. Do not 'broadcast'
Sending the same message to everyone is no longer effective -- or acceptable. Instead, it is important to send people content that is relevant to their preferences and therefore likely to engage them.
3. Be human
Consumers are 'real' people with individual preferences, interests and lifecycle events. Emails must treat them as such.
4. Engage in dialogue
Social networking has led consumers to expect two-way conversations -- make sure you deliver.
5. Learn about the customer
Use each communication as an opportunity to develop and strengthen your relationship with the customer by learning more about them.
6. Personal details have a price
If you want consumers to divulge the personal information that you require for targeted email campaigns, you need to 'pay' for that by providing something that they perceive as valuable in return.
7. Gather, store and analyse data
CRM is the essence of intelligent email marketing. It requires that as much information as possible about the consumer is gathered, stored, analysed and used to enhance messages.
8. Loyal customers
Treating recipients as individuals as a result of emails that make them feel valued and important will encourage that all-important customer loyalty.
9. Viral adds value
Getting the recipients of your emails to share the content via social media or forwarded messages introduces a powerful 'snowball' effect to your campaign. Encourage them to do this with easy-to-see, relevant buttons in the body of the email. Spreading the word through 'recommendations' is a fast and straightforward way to develop your subscriber database.
10. One strike and you're out
Some consumers are forgiving -- most are not. You usually have only one chance to get it right. Use it wisely!
There is currently so much focus on social media that it is easy for marketers to forget that email is still an equally important part of the marketing mix. However, email is only a powerful tool if it is used intelligently, and as technology advances, the rules change rapidly. CRM must be considered integral to the email marketing process in order for it to enable digital marketers to run effective campaigns that, by always respecting the customer, see a significant return-on-investment.
Rogier van der Veen is U.K. business development manager, Clang by E-Village
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