By Claire West

'One strike and you're out': a guide to CRM-focused email marketing

By Rogier van der Veen

As terms such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and business intelligence creep into marketing language, it is important to clarify the benefits these disciplines offer to digital marketers. With that in mind, we have put together the following practical tips as a checklist for ensuring CRM-focused email marketing:

1.Respect the recipient
Before sending anything, put yourself in their position to check that the email is of value in some way.

2.Do not 'broadcast'
Sending the same message to everyone is no longer effective - or acceptable. Instead it is important to send people content that is relevant to their preferences and therefore likely to engage them.

3.Be human
Consumers are 'real' people with individual preferences, interests and life-cycle events. Emails must treat them as such.

4.Engage in dialogue
Social networking has led consumers expect two-way conversations — make sure you deliver.

5.Learn about the customer
Use each communication as an opportunity to develop and strengthen your relationship with the customer by learning more about them.

6.Personal details have a price
If you want consumers to divulge the personal information that you require for targeted email campaigns, you need to 'pay' for that by providing something that they perceive as valuable in return.

7.Gather, store and analyse data
CRM is the essence of intelligent email marketing. It requires that as much information as possible about the consumer is gathered, stored, analysed and used to enhance messages.

8.Loyal customers
Treating recipients as individuals as a result of emails that make them feel valued and important will encourage all-important customer loyalty.

9.Viral adds value
Getting the recipients of your emails to share the content via social media or forwarded messages introduces a powerful 'snowball' effect to your campaign. Encourage them to do this with easy-to-see, relevant buttons in the body of the email. Spreading the word through 'recommendations' is a fast and straightforward way to develop your subscriber database.

10.One strike and you're out
Some consumers are forgiving — most are not. You usually have only one chance to get it right. Use it wisely!

There is currently so much focus on social media that it is easy for marketers to forget that email is still an equally important part of the marketing mix. However, email is only a powerful tool if it is used intelligently — and as technology advances, the rules change rapidly. CRM must be considered integral to the email marketing process in order that it enables digital marketers to run effective campaigns that, by always respecting the customer, see a significant return-on-investment.

'Putting CRM at the heart of email marketing', a free white paper from E-Village that expands on the above, is available to download from: http://www.createaclang.com/en/Downloads/

About the E-Village and the author:

Rogier van der Veen is UK business development manager for CRM-based email marketing tool, Clang (www.createaclang.com), which has recently launched in the UK by digital marketing technology specialist, E-Village (http://www.e-village.eu/www.e-village.eu).

A pioneer of e-commerce, Rogier has over ten year's experience of promoting email marketing as a core business strategy that enables organisations to attract, engage and retain customers. He has implemented many successful email campaigns for a variety of organisations, and his achievements include winning an EMMA (email marketing award) for for Robeco, a ‘large asset management’ company.

Current Clang customers (direct and via partners) include: B2B travel company, BCD Travel; BP; GM Worldwide; KLM (B2B programme); Kuoni; Shell; t for telecom and The Phone House.