Email is among the most powerful online marketing tools out there; for many marketers, email marketing trumps PPC and offline marketing. The reason is simple; email marketing lets you reach qualified prospects repeatedly, emails allow you to nurture leads like no other form of marketing. Leads from email lead to much higher conversion rates. Email is a highly developed inbound marketing channel because it has an established set of best practices.
CRM manufacturers have long realized the significance of email marketing, and they provide email marketing support integrated with their CRM.
What are the attributes that you need to look for in a CRM for your email marketing needs? Let’s take a look.
- Simplicity is key. The system should be simple to use. It is the only way of making your business system-dependent. In the absence of such a system, the business will become person-dependent. Employees can be trained to use an easy-to-use system. It shouldn’t be that every time a new user steps in, he first has to learn HTML and coding before being able to use the system. A good system will offer you a choice in pre-designed templates for newsletters so that you can develop themes around your company branding and product being marketed.
- Find out about the level of personalization that can easily be accomplished with the email package. A click of the button should allow the system to pull in data from your contact management database and custom fields. Email headings and content that are personalized offer better returns on marketing.
- You should have the option to send the email either to an individual, select groups, or to the entire database. Basically, it’s about the freedom to communicate with anyone that you want to.
- The email marketing module should work with web forms. Web forms are the major source of lead capture, and this form of online integration is essential. Email addresses from web forms should automatically be added to the contact form. The newly received signups should receive an auto responder message or a manual follow-up, depending upon your choice.
- Segmentation is key to creating targeted content and messaging. Find out how easy or difficult it is for you to segment your data as you keep receiving new information on leads during their progress into the sales funnel. Does the CRM offer a scoring system to identify potentially hot leads that you can follow up immediately?
- When you integrate CRM and email marketing, your business gains from this synergy. The cost of marketing comes down, you don’t have to maintain separate databases and software for CRM and email marketing, this is of particular value to SMBs for whom marketing resources can be scarce.
- You can get a much clearer picture of the returns on investment on activities where the leads were generated offline and nurtured online. Front-end personnel and marketing staff get real-time insight into customer behavior, and can target their communication based on information on whether a prospect has opened an email, links clicked, etc. Based on this information, you should be able t conduct A/B tests to further evaluate results.
- Sales representatives that interact with customers and prospects get first-hand data, which is then fed, into an integrated system. In a non-integrated system, keeping the data clean and current is a chore and a time-consuming process. There is always a chance of mistakes happening. Data integrity is a big benefit of using a CRM that supports email marketing. You should check the ease with which data can be added, removed, and edited on the system.