Are you incorporating an effective e-mail strategy into your marketing plan? According research gathered by the Chief Marketing Officer Council Worldwide, e-mail marketing was the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in 2014. In this guest article, Frank Bunte from Act! gives tips on how to engage your customers via email.
E-mail is distinctive because it gives you the most personal method of communication for providing customised, valuable content to your customers. However, more is required than simply sending a promotional e-mail on a periodic basis. As is true with all marketing methods, a strategic approach is needed. Consider five tips to creating an effective e-mail strategy and how a SaaS cloud-based CRM will help you do this.
- Don’t be salesy. What do you think of a friend that only calls when they need something? Relationships take time and nurturing, even in the business world. A small business owner that reaches out to his or her client base with a relevant message at the right time will not only gain a customer, but cultivate trust and loyalty as well. Think beyond coupons and promotions. Don’t be afraid to share trade secrets. Shop owners who sell laptops may send an e-mail entitled “How to increase the lifetime of your notebook battery.” If you sell toys, you may attract the attention of readers with an e-mail entitled, “How to rock everyone’s Christmas by making fantastic presents”. Be your reader’s trusted resource. Then, when you do send a promotional e-mail, it will be more readily welcomed. Your CRM software is critical to this process since it will help you track your clients’ interests and create e-mail groups based on relevancy.
- Incorporate other content marketing methods. Use e-mail to say, “hey, we thought you might like this blog about…” or “download this whitepaper about….” Be their trusted source of information, industry trends, and tips and tricks of the trade. For example, a shop owner who sells smartphones may use his or her CRM to group all customers that bought an iPhone. Use your e-mail to send them a link to a blog about “Five things you did not know your iPhone can do”. It could either be linked to your own blog or one written by an industry resource.
- Be personal. E-mail gives you the unique ability to be personal. Always use your customer’s name, not a generic “dear subscriber.” While you may create e-mail groupings, your CRM will allow you to customise each one with the customer’s name. Additionally, clearly identify yourself. Never use an impersonal e-mail address, especially one they cannot reply to. Humanise your writing by including a photo in your signature line for example. Lastly, provide several methods for them to contact you.
- Clearly communicate what’s in it for them. Your e-mail should tell the client how they win. Get to the point, but don’t give them an ultimatum. “Use this coupon this week or you’ll never have this opportunity again” is not the right message. However, don’t devalue your product by being overly promotional. Instead, use your e-mail to show them the value of purchasing your product or service now. For example, an air conditioner online shop may try this: “Get ready for summer and save by getting a new AC before June 1.” Lastly, be sure your call to action is clear. Don’t make them search for how to take advantage of the offer.
- Gather feedback. Communication should not be one-sided. A customer who feels his or her feedback is valued will feel engaged and invested in the product or service, and more likely to be a repeat customer or recommend you to their friends. Use e-mail to ask how you can make their experience better. What improvements would they like to see? In turn, you can use the feedback you’ve gathered to share with other clients. “Learn how customers like you are getting the most out of our services.” Getting back to the smartphone shop example, they may want to gather feedback about the most important mobile phone features for their buyers. Use this valuable data in your marketing plan and share it. Create a blog such as “Top 10 most valued smartphone features.”
Research shows you have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling to an existing customer. Whereas, the chance of selling to a new customer is only five to 20 percent. If you have an e-mail address the person is already a customer or at least a very interested prospect. Build an effective e-mail strategy and retain your valuable customers. Act! Essentials is a contact and customer management solution that enables you to track valuable customer data to incorporate in your e-mail strategy. Contact us to learn more about putting relationship management to good use.