It’s common practice for businesses and brands to have an email marketing programme. After all, email still remains king of the marketing channel, with a $44 ROI for every $1 spent. If you’re a good marketer you would have segmented your email database and sent out personalised email content based on your recipient’s preferences. You may even send out a Welcome Email and a Birthday Rewards Email and call it a job well done.
The mistake most digital marketers make is equating an email programme to an eCRM programme. An eCRM programme is about managing the relationships your have with your customers digitally. While email is a solid foundation to start with, an integrated eCRM program allows you to connect to customers through multiple communication channels such as Web, social networks and SMS so that you can always be connected wherever they are.
Here are some tips for building a proper eCRM programme:
1. Do progressive profiling.
You will need to understand your customers if you wish to communicate with them one on one. However, presenting them with a long list of questions during the sign up process is an effective way to get zero sign ups. The trick is to collect only key data during the sign up process. Once your customers join, they will be most receptive to your brand so this is the most opportune time to invite them to answer an online survey. Just ensure there is a clear value exchange so that your customers are incentivised to answer the survey. And don’t forget, understanding your customers also means understanding their behaviour and how they interact with your brand – so ensure you can collect the required engagement analytics (with their consent of course).
2. Create personas for your customers.
Your customers are not all the same. That is why you should segment your customers into different personas and develop different communication strategies for each of them. For instance, what should your elevator pitch be? How would you position your brand as the one they’re looking for? What is your marketing message? Over time, as you get to know your customers more you can refine the personas, or even change some of them if you find that they don’t apply.
3. Incorporate competitions and promotions
Competitions and promotions are a great way to grow your marketing database. It’s also just as effective in nurturing your existing database. A great example of this is Maybelline’s M:Edition monthly e-newsletter, where they incorporate competitions as part of the content. What made this effective was that they were giving away products from their brand. Not only did this reinforce their brand identity, it also enabled their subscribers to try out different products in their portfolio. Furthermore, the quantity of prizes they gave away each month was sufficient for their subscribers to feel they have a chance of winning, thus further increasing their engagement.
4. Integrate your social media, emails and promotions.
Social media and email complement each other well. Emails are often used to push awareness of your social media channels but you should also consider using your social media channels to announce when an e-newsletter has been launched. Furthermore, you can use social media channels to raise awareness of your promotions or even use it as a channel to enter. XXXX Gold ran Australia’s largest liquor promotion using just email and Facebook, yet was so successful it managed to increase the sales of the entire beer category industry by 3.5% during the promotion period.
5. Don't forget mobile.
As mobile phones are becoming more like an extension of yourself, more and more opportunities exist to create engaging and innovative digital campaigns. Aside from using SMS for outbound communications and competitions, you can use other channels like WhatsApp or mobile passes to communicate to your marketing database. According to Forrester Research Inc., more than 55% of consumers are inclined to use mobile passes for loyalty programmes, coupons, discounts and special offers. The great thing about mobile passes are that they don’t expire (once they’re downloaded into your subscriber’s Apple Wallet or Android Pay) and you can update the message on-demand. Therefore, you can use mobile passes to create a year-long programme where you change the content each month with a different promotion. Passes have built in notifications, so your subscribers are notified when there is a new offer, and if you’re on the high street, you can even notify them when they’re in your vicinity to remind them to drop by.
6. Create a digital communications calendar.
One of the main reasons customers unsubscribe from a marketing list is because they receive too many communications (whether email, SMS, social media posts, etc) from a brand. On the other hand, if you send too infrequently, they may forget why they subscribed to you in the first place and choose to opt out. Getting the right frequency of digital campaigns is a tricky process which is why having a calendar helps. The calendar should be a schedule of content sent to a specific persona by channel.