How to Leverage Email Marketing To Boost Customer Relationships

Computers & TechnologyEmail

  • Author Becky Repka
  • Published April 29, 2010
  • Word count 806

In the 1960s, business executives marveled at their new organization tool – the Rolodex. This clever contraption made it easy to find an associate’s or customer’s phone number and add or delete contacts in just a few minutes, spinning cards around on its wheel alphabetically. The Rolodex became an essential tool for communication, taking us through the next two decades and into the computer era.

Once personal computers began to populate office desks, electronic mail ensued and business professionals discovered an even smarter way to connect with their customers and foster long-term relationships – email.

Today, electronic communication has become far more prevalent in customer relationship management than the old fashioned phone call or direct mailer due to several key benefits:

  • the freedom to review and respond at one's leisure

  • the ability to include supportive documents and hyperlinks

  • the ability to carefully plan and fine-tune a message prior to delivery

  • the ability to communicate with a larger audience faster and more cost-effectively

  • the ability to easily document and archive correspondence

Using Email Marketing to Enhance Customer Relationships

From professional services to manufacturing firms and everything in between, companies depend on email marketing more and more as their primary means for building and sustaining strong relationships with current and prospective customers. Companies may use email newsletters, automated messages and value-added email promotions to enhance customer relationships. Email marketing is effectively used with customers to:

Reinforce Your Brand. Promote your business image, unique selling proposition, corporate philosophy and values using targeted email marketing messages delivered at a frequency most comfortable for your audience members. After repeated exposure, recipients will automatically think of your company’s image and message when they need the products, services or solutions offered.

Share Topic Expertise. Don't just advertise your industry expertise. Demonstrate your knowledge by sending regular email newsletters with relevant articles that set your products or services apart. Offer tips and strategies that your readers can use to improve their own lives, work or productivity. Increase customer demand by suggesting creative ways readers can use your company’s products or services. For example, a financial consultant may send email newsletters complete with personal finance articles or strategies for higher education or retirement planning. Similarly, a software development firm may offer ideas on using their solution in ways customers might not have considered otherwise.

Build Trust and Loyalty. Email marketing offers an effective means for fostering interaction with your customers. For instance, companies may implement automated triggers that send valuable and appreciated messages to customers immediately following a sale to recommend similar products or other relevant content. They could also send a message a few weeks following service to gather valuable customer feedback through an online survey or poll. Marketing and sales departments also use scheduled birthday and anniversary messages to make their customers feel more appreciated.

Optimizing Your Customer Relations Email Campaign

Investing some time and effort to develop a customer relations email campaign can pay off handsomely in the long run. Email marketing provides an efficient means for message delivery, tracking, assessment and analysis. A permission-based email marketing solution helps companies manage their lists of prospective, current and past customers in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

When launching an email campaign to optimize relationships, you’ll first want to develop a strategy that pushes relevant, timely and value-added news and information to your contacts on a consistent basis. This content might include featured and guest articles, Q&As, product reviews or recommendations, special promotions, news or other company announcements. You can get to know your audience and their preferences by implementing a web-based survey or assessing purchasing habits.

Welcome recipients to your list right away, establishing expectations and describing your company’s trouble-free email opt-out processes. Interact with your readers by encouraging comments and feedback. Stay mindful of your goal in building long-term customer relationships and brand awareness, avoiding the natural inclination to push a hard sell. Keep messages brief and interesting, with new installments delivered on a regular and predictable schedule.

List segmentation and targeting tools can take campaign relevance to a completely new level, offering the means to present communications based on the recipient’s location, interests or behaviors. Companies are able to design sub-lists based on age, geographic location, purchasing habits, customer need or location within the sales funnel. Segmentation capabilities also help email marketers better understand their customer’s behavior. As results are analyzed, marketers can fine-tune messages and delivery schedules to align with their readers responses. Like segmentation, message personalization further cultivates rapport and lets readers know you care.

Building your own customer relationships with email has never been easier. Email marketing tools can help bring your creative ideas to life and allow you to communicate in a meaningful way with thousands of customers, without spinning the wheels of the Rolodex. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.

Becky Repka is the Marketing Manager for StreamSend Email Marketing. StreamSend specializes in helping companies and organizations harness the power of permission-based email marketing promotions and email newsletters.

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