Email offers the highest and most measurable returns for businesses.With all the attention garnered by social media and smartphone app marketing, some might regard email marketing as old-fashioned compared to newer tech toys. The contrary is true, however, as email marketing not only remains effective and widely used, but forward thinking businesses are employing customer relationship management, or CRM, to create better targeted and highly personalized customer messages to their data base. Email Marketing reaches customers where they spend a lot of time each day — their inbox.According to a report from the Direct Marketing Association, 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase online due to an email marketing message.For retailers considering where to spend their marketing dollars, few more cost-effective options are better than email. And since response rate is easily tracked, it will always be an excellent tool for determining a retailers return on investment.The Direct Marketing Association reports that email remains unbeaten, with ROI still almost $41 per dollar spent. It has maintained its dominant position in relationship to other Internet channels, which remain far behind in their ROI results: mobile, $10.51; social media, $12.71; display, $19.72 and search, $22.24.But while collection of customer data becomes easier over time, experts say that many retailers are using this valuable information to market directly back to their customers.Its like retailers forget that the customer likes them already and that the customer wants to know more about their business through email. Personalize the MessageTo make email marketing effective, retailers and businesses alike must build a robust customer list to spread the word , wide and far. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this, whether via the low-tech route of sign-up cards at every table, point-of-purchase reminders that lead customers to sign up online or through their smartphones.
All three options are highly successful in enticing customers to contribute information.The best lists are those that capture the most information about each customer. Not only does that cover the basics of names and email addresses, but also the next steps, such as birthdays and special anniversaries, preferred product items — even favourite local sports teams. Clever businesses know to build special events around this idea to encourage likeminded customers to join in the fun.Also, it’s wise to find out what customers want from your emails. Do they want to know about product updates, promotions, special events and clubs tied to your store? Knowing this information allows the retailer to better target promotions to those who want them rather than sending out a generic email.Not everyone wants the same deal — they want what they want based on who they are. People who deliberately opt in to an email offer want to think they’re special, part of a club of customers who are the only ones getting that offer. You don’t put those offers on Facebook.Sending emails without a clear idea of who’s receiving them depersonalizes the message and makes it ineffective.When someone supplies their email, they want to be contacted. The customers who give us their emails actually want to be part of our loyalty program. They also expect to get some sweet deals.Your email marketing tool must allow for the following to make you a better marketer:
Easy self-service local marketing. Especially true for first-time marketers. Owners must be able to market locally within a strong brand identity, and evaluate and improve ongoing efforts.
Brand control. Choose a system that allows you to create templates for any marketing that you will carry out, such as email for customer birthdays, new menu items, events or specials. Make sure you can lock down branded sections while providing customizable sections for specific information.
List growth. Keep your network’s email lists and sales growing with sign-up tools for Facebook pages and websites as well as business signage or receipts that enable mobile texting or scanning to join.
Administration portal. You must be able to track success at both the local and network level through an easy-to-use dashboard.
Support. Your online marketing vendor also should provide expert technical and marketing support and services directly to anyone in the network who needs guidance.
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