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in Business - 23 Aug, 2013
by Muneer - no comments
Using Emails to Manage Customers

Is there anyone amongst us who does not get more than 10 junk mails a day? What I do first thing in the morning is clear hundreds of unwanted and unsolicited emails from my Inbox. While it is a task everyday and a nuisance for many of us, the businesses or individuals who send these must have been delighted on the number of potential customers they have been able to reach out. Interestingly, when you compare cost benefits, the returns from such a campaign for a business is always high. In fact, it is estimated that on an average the benefit is about 40 times per rupee spent! It is not always just about low costs with email campaigns. Companies can reach out to a larger audience and also analyse and discover new segments and content for future campaigns based on responses. While many might end up in junk boxes and trash, unsolicited mailers may sometime give unexpected benefits. Yet it can be a challenge for managing these campaigns. Some of these challenges marketers face can easily be addressed with proper tactics. Preparing email campaigns are the first part. A strategy is clearly needed with the normal analysis of competition, SWOT, pricing and so on. Here are a few suggestions for you to use emails effectively to manage your leads and customers:

  • Start with your objectives. What is it that you want from the campaign? Do you want to build your name and brand? Or do you want people to act quickly on something? Do you want segmented approach or shoot in the dark so a large audience is preferable? Is there a financial goal you need achieve? Will the campaign need to be tied into other business functions in order to maximise the benefits? Asking some of these questions will help in making sure that the campaign is carried out in the right direction.
  • Teach, teach, teach. It is important to learn more and more about the various ways by which you can plan the campaign. Do you want to use simple email sans any html programming or do you want to send a creatively designed html mailer? You need to teach yourself lots of email marketing basics. Learning about the email marketing industry is always helpful in making better campaigns. For instance, identifying a creative sender name alone could result in more people viewing your mailer.
  • Clean up your database. Based on your latest understanding for the campaign, clean up the database of unwanted and non-existent email database. Correct database will help you retain your brand as anon spammer. It is also good to keep the final database in one place in order to avoid duplicating mailers to recipients. As author Seth Godin puts it make sure you have followed the Permission Marketing rules of making recipients opt in for receiving your mails.
  • Test the mailer before blasting. Once the mailer is ready to go, send a test mailer to yourself in order to check the From field, subject line and the overall appearance of the mail in your Inbox. Critically examine the results before deciding to do the blast. Constant checking and verification will be helpful in making the campaign more result prone. You may also want to check with a couple of others too for delivery into Inbox vs. a Spam folder. The other point is to ensure that all the links in your mailer works. So click and test when you get the test mailer. What is worse than sending unsolicited mail is links not working.
  • Practise creativity in your subject line. Unless your subject line is catchy chances of your mail being read are very low. Depending on the target segment, you may want to experiment with this in order to maximise your chances of people opening your mail. Try to avoid phrases like Best Offer, Improve your performance, etc. It will be good to have a date on the subject line to ensure nonspam delivery.
  • Optimise the content. You cannot say everything you want to say to sell your product or service in your emailer. So identify the best content and use that. Treat the mailer as an advertisement with limited space. It can be slightly more than that and the rest you can make available via a link for those interested.
  • Use an intro mail before the campaign. Using an introduction mail to establish your brand or company in the recipients’ minds is a good first step to a campaign as not many follow this route. Send a simple normal text mail introducing the company and the services, followed by what to expect from a series of mails you will be sending in due course.
  •  Ensure that your mailer works smartly on smart phones too. Today more and more people use their smart phones for accessing mails and websites. So ensure that your mailer works beautifully on smartphones too. Also the links you provide should also be compatible for smartphone use. In essence, make sure that the email campaign is technologically compatible with multiple platforms.
  • Be seen and heard. Even after ending a campaign, smart marketers find ways to stay in touch with the prospects in the database. If you are not seen or heard, in today/s short attention span, you will be dead in the prospect’s mind. This could also be accomplished using the social media presence. A better way will be to integrate the email campaign message and content with your existing social media networks.
  • Track industry trends. The constant learning demand that you stay relevant to the audience in terms of the new ways of doing email marketing. What at the new trends in industry and how are competitors riding it? In order to improve the effectiveness of your campaign, keep tracking.
  • Measure, measure, measure. In order to make improvements in your effectiveness, you need to know what worked and what did not for every campaign. Always go back to checking whether strategically set objectives at the beginning of the campaign have been achieved or not. In fact smart companies put lead measures to ensure that activities are on track to deliver results

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