CRM Email Marketing Best Practices
Which is Better for Marketing – CRM & Email or Social Media?
Social Media Marketing
Social media has grown ten-fold over the last decade. It has influence in politics, work, life and communications around the world. Social media is terrific for spreading the word about your product or service among like-minded people. So, naturally, you’d think it’s the best medium for promoting business as well.
- Email has over 4.3 billion users (yes that’s billion – with a ‘B’)
- 90% of them check it every day
- Over 200 billion emails are sent every day
- Over 100 billion promotional emails are sent every day
If so many promotional emails are sent every day, does that mean you should join in or ignore it? Before making that decision, read the following facts and then decide what’s best for you.
When used for customer acquisition, email is 40 times more effective than social media!
Email is actually more effective than social media at reaching customers and potential customers and nurturing them to the point of purchase and as a customer loyalty tool.
Because of the rapid rise of social media, email as a marketing tool has been overlooked. Some companies do more than downplay it; they shun it as old-fashioned and ineffective. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The use of CRM email marketing has evolved and improved. You can continue to use it to make a broad announcement or offer, much as you might use Facebook or any other social media, but email is a better vehicle for reaching specific customers at the right time to influence them.
How Can This Be?
Along with the rise of customer relationship management (CRM) systems came the ability to infinitely segment a database; no longer is a database only split into clients and prospects (or non-clients). The ability to micro-define a list of contacts based on multiple data points allows you to customize messages to finely targeted audiences.
Keys to Effective Email
Not only can you identify prospects that have opened your emails (or not), downloaded specific pieces of your educational content, and attended webinars – you can send them emails on certain days of the week, at specific times of the day, based on their previous interactions with you or their location.
73% of all B2B leads are not ready to buy. Follow the best practices below and you’ll find that email is the best tool for nurturing those leads until they are ready.
Make Yours Stand Out
Here are our email marketing best practices and observations of what constitutes a good email campaign.
- Subject Line – Subject lines are the traffic light of email. Good subject lines open doors to communications and relationships. Bad subject lines can prevent your email from ever being opened or delivered. Subject lines should be 30 to 50 characters in length. Traditionally shorter subject lines have higher open rates.
- Personalization – Email should always be personalized. Personalized emails have a 50% higher open rate and have a 22% higher reply rate.
- In order to connect, make sure you spell the recipients name correctly.
- In some cases, open rates are higher when the recipients name is used in the Subject line.
- Include something relevant to:
- Their job or role
- A previous conversation or meeting you’ve had
- An event they attended
- A non-related work event they mentioned
- Get to the Point – Tell the recipient What and Why in the first two sentences. If your database is well segmented your messages can be aligned and specific to your intended audience. Emails that are informative and concise:
- Are more likely to engage readers
- Have a lower unsubscribe rate
- Are more likely to be opened by your recipients in the future
Every email must have a goal. Keep your messaging simple and clean. Trying to cover too many topics in one email causes readers to shut down. Place the most important content ‘above the fold’ so readers don’t have to scroll through your message to get to the point. If your email messages are educational, you’ll be in a better position to build trust and authority through proof (social proof, industry proof, testimonials).
- Call-to-Action – As a result of reading your email, the recipient should know exactly what to do next. State how taking action will help your prospect. Offer something of value for taking action (yes, a bribe). Your offers should vary based on where prospects are in their journey to purchase. Offer them something unique, not available elsewhere (from you or anyone else) a special report, a tally of survey responses, etc. Position CTA’s throughout your email. And finally, make sure to set up a separate (unique) landing page for each CTA so you can measure your results.
- Mobile ready/Responsive – Since over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, ensure that yours is compatible. Test it before sending it. Make sure it shows up as you planned on mobile and tablet devices.
- Include one image. Too many images result in slow page loading times.
- Keep the look clean – take advantage of white space
- Use alt text for your image in case it does not load as planned
- Link the image to your Call-to-Action
- Make sure CTA buttons are large enough to click on a small screen – there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to click on a button that’s too small!
- Effective email campaigns consist of more than one email. They are the product of carefully thought out messages to a specific audience.
The most successful email campaigns are designed around helping prospects overcome a specific challenge.
Targeting each list with an appropriate message and educational content contained in the body of your text, a link, or call to action within your email, builds trust and credibility.
- Add social media buttons, links and video to your emails when appropriate. Both tactics are proven to increase engagement and sharing of your message to people not currently in your database.
- Ask – Asking a question or their opinion makes people feel important/needed. It gives you an opportunity to learn something. Create a survey. Offer them something in return for their response (see below)
- When appropriate, give them a way out – not just by allowing them to unsubscribe (it’s the law, see below) but by being authentic. For example, have you ever sent an email with this message?
“Since you haven’t responded to my phone calls, is it safe to say that you are not interested at this time?”
This wording allows the recipient to provide feedback that can be of great value to you.
- Know the law. Specifically targeting your lists results in more opens, higher click through rate, less unsubscribes and less SPAM complaints. The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial use of email. An easy to read compliance guide of established requirements for businesses that use email is available here.
- Include a tracking capability – Tracking codes, links to specific landing pages within a particular email, or tracking pixels, allow you to identify where each inquiry came from. How will you know what’s working and what’s not if you aren’t tracking this information?
Here are some additional ways to improve and differentiate your email so prospects take actions that lead to more sales.
The best email marketers;
A/B test. Testing is an email marketer’s best friend. Over time, you want to test everything, but be sure to test one element at a time to ensure you know what’s working and what you can improve upon. For instance, test different subject lines keeping everything else the same. Or, use the same subject line and wording and change the call to action. Keep everything the same and test two different landing pages. You get the idea. Incremental improvement and testing against winners helps you determine what works.
Measure open rates – This number is a direct correlation to Subject line effectiveness. FYI: Overall, cold emails have an open rate of approximately 23%.
Look at click rates – Clicks are important – but only if you’ve got a clear objective in mind for each email. Is the goal of your email to drive specific behavior? What action is that? As the result of reading this email, what steps do you want the reader to take? Measure the action, not the clicks.
Measure bounce rate – Bounce rates reflect the accuracy of your database. Databases quickly become outdated over time. Make sure you are maintaining yours by constantly updating, adding and scrubbing your lists.
Measure unsubscribe rates – Contrary to popular belief, unsubscribes are good. They clear out the dead wood. Unsubscribes self (dis)qualify prospects and ensure you are spending your time efficiently with only your best opportunities.
Keep track of the best days of the week to send email. Based on a history of emails, you can identify which days people are most likely to open your email. This can cross over with email open rates, but by A/B testing the same subject line on different days will help you determine which days are best for specific audiences.
Keep track of the best time of day to send email. As discussed above as part of personalization, make note of what time zone each prospect is in and schedule your emails accordingly.
Automating your emails and integrating them with a CRM system is a powerful way to personalize the experience for recipients and measure and analyze your effectiveness while nurturing leads. Sure, social media posts can go viral, but so can email – just ask the presidential candidates!
Email does many things that social media cannot. Take advantage of emails many strengths, popularity, and personalization. It’s not a replacement for social media, nor is social media a replacement for email. Combined they enable you to accomplish your marketing goals even faster.
Want help putting together an email campaign? Contact Crest for a free 30-minute consultation.
At Crest, we help companies:
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists