There are many symbiotic connections in marketing: processes and software, email and mobile, marketing itself and sales, and the big and obvious one, of course, customer and company. Another primary pairing that has evolved in recent times is CRM-email. CRM, as you’d know, is both the process of customer relationship management and the software, platform or tool that builds, implements, and tracks this process.
The software can inform your email marketing campaigns to a large extent: who to target, when, with what—all these decisions are made easier with this integration. The insights you derive from analyzing your campaigns can then go into making your CRM process and offerings better and bigger.
Making the Best of the Email-CRM Link
With email continuing to rule the roost in digital marketing tools, you have to know exactly how to devise and detail your communication on this channel. While knowing your customer and tracking their CRM journey goes a long way in doing this, you also have to be aware of the trends. What’s changing on the customer experience front? What are the new tools out there that can boost both the CRM and email marketing? These are some questions to ask before you start streamlining your email marketing communication, aided and abetted by CRM.
Let’s now look at 5 unique goals a robust CRM strategy should integrate. These elements—some old and time-tested, and others still evolving—of your platform can then help put together focused, optimized, and cohesive marketing emails.
This aspect of email marketing just can’t be stressed enough. While personalization of emails has been a must-have for a few years now, marketers often skip this step. Seen from the customer’s point of view, opening an email that begins by addressing them is definitely more engaging and builds that extra bit of curiosity about the message and trust in the brand.
This email from G2, for example, went out with the subject line “Arun’s 2020 Year in Review”. It would definitely get the recipient to click through and take a look! So, personalization can be embedded in every part of your email: the subject, the address, and the main content. Also, stay up to date with the newer tracking features now available for your CRM. You can study the different elements of your customer’s purchasing patterns and make sure these too go into your email to personalize. These can be about product offerings, discounts, loyalty programs, etc. Everything would be better served and read if targeted to the individual customer.
The other aspect of personalization, of course, is at the marketer’s end. When possible and relevant, introduce yourself and add a proper sign-off with your name attached. You can also ensure the sender’s address is a valid receiving one and not a ‘no-reply’ ID as far as possible. The latter can be off-putting for customers and block valuable responses. All these little details will definitely make your marketing email appear more striking and less gimmicky.
2. To Segment
Segmenting is all about making your emails more personal and not just personalized. According to one report, subscribers or leads are 26% more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines. Also, marketers are seeing segmented campaigns driving a whopping 760% rise in email revenue.
A broad-scale, one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work for any kind of email marketing anymore. You will have to speak to every kind of customer out there directly, with different emailing lists. These can be segmented at various levels and in multiple ways—geographic location, age, gender, and other key demographics, purchase history, and personal preferences. With the right CRM software, the capturing and sorting of data and profiling of individuals and lists can all be automated.
In your email, leverage segmentation to share relevant content. Knowing your customer’s personal situation at a deeper level can help with this. With the appropriate consent-based forms, you could consider capturing their relationship status, family details, etc depending upon your business. This way, your emails are going to be highly tailored. You can bid adieu to the hit-and-miss mode of marketing or, worse, the embarrassing kind of sending the wrong message to the wrong target audience.
Also, be specific in formulating your email for a segmented audience: be clear on what you’re offering and what they stand to gain. “We thank you with a 50% coupon code on select menswear”, for instance, speaks louder than “Super sales on our product categories”.
3. To Loop in Customer Service
With the dizzying array of options offered to customers, marketing is no longer a one-way road, to say the least. Every piece of communication will evoke a particular response and/or raise a few questions for the customers. Often, if they open a marketing email and have some queries, they will want to reply through the same mode. This would be timely and convenient, not just for them but for you, the marketer, too.
So, as we said before, make sure you have a reply-to address upfront and center. What would be even more effective and customer-friendly is adding the relevant customer service contact. This could be an email address or a toll-free (ideally) number in addition. You just have to make sure there’s an easy, surefire way for your customers to respond to your email marketing and reach out when they need to.
And, how does all this tie into your CRM software? Experience across sectors and regions has shown this tool helps align marketing and sales in both small and big ways. All of it boosts customer experience and the bottomline. Why not go a step further and loop in your customer service team, too? When you make your CRM software easily accessible to this group of troubleshooters, they will always be prepared. With one click, they should be able to view this interface to know the hits and misses of sales and marketing with a particular customer. They can then figure out what exactly has gone wrong (or right) and address requests and complaints with greater ease and professionalism.
4. To Offer Differentiated Content
Email marketing, by nature and necessity, increasingly leans towards pushing out product offerings and other related announcements, customer incentive and reward programs, and the like. In this plethora of promotional messaging, how can you stand out, go that extra mile for enhanced customer experience?
Research shows that content marketing is a definite way to grab eyeballs and improve your CTRs. While this is a big buzzword and broadly adopted method, every marketer can formulate unique content at various points of the CRM journey. Most brands use content marketing to boost brand awareness. But, you can also integrate this strategy in your emails to speak to the customer experience and address painpoints.
You can personalize for this purpose, too, by drawing from your CRM data. If you have put in the permissible tracking tools, you will be clued in about the kinds of content and platforms individual customers favor. Is this 21-year-old looking to become an influencer and interacting with your brand only on social media? Then, consider targeting her with social proofs and branded content to promote on her page.
One of the more significant and more recent takeaways with content marketing, of course, is the ever-increasing efficacy of video. Its reach, influence on sales, and positive reception just cannot be understated. Wistia, in their roundup mail sample below, seems to be smartly tapping into this trend and ‘selling’ everything video in their content marketing.
5. To Test and Tweak
So you have a working email automation flow set up with integration to your marketing CRM software. The work doesn’t stop there. A coherent email strategy should also integrate the option and a process to continually test and tweak. This should take a 360-degree approach, testing the subject line, copy (both content and form), buttons, design, and format. Your CRM data and its derived analytics can help put together an effective and fail-proof A/B testing process to improve your email marketing at every stage.
So, there you have it—some ways to put together a cohesive email marketing message informed by the appropriate CRM software and data. These will hold true for 2021 and beyond as we go increasingly digital in every sphere of marketing, sales, and other functions. Just make sure every part of the process is streamlined and aligned with the customer—both at the base and segment level—and you are good to roll out standout email marketing campaigns.
Not sure how to create coherent and cohesive email marketing? Get in touch with our experts to design the perfect email-CRM integration.