When it comes to playing the numbers game, marketers have a range of tools at their disposal, from traditional marketing media, such as print, radio, and television, to new media, including online platforms.
However, the evidence indicates that by far one of the most effective marketing channels is that of direct email. For all the hype surrounding social media, SMS, and other forms of digital marketing, researchers continue to find that consumers hold highly positive views of email-based marketing and are more likely to respond to promotions received through this medium than through most other forms.
Nevertheless, for all their advantages, email marketing campaigns can be highly complex and extremely labor-intensive. The good news, though, is that marketers have a number of highly effective tools for overcoming many of the most significant challenges of conducting an email marketing campaign. This article discusses some of the most effective marketing technologies available to help make your campaign both successful and efficient.
Making a Plan
When you’re designing an email marketing campaign, one of the first and most important things that you need to do is develop a strategic plan to carry the campaign from the original concept to the post-completion analysis.
To be sure, the principal goal of any marketing strategy should be to convert a viable potential customer into an actual one. Making a conversion, though, requires far more than simply introducing your target audience to your company’s catalog of products and services.
The simple fact is that most potential customers have very limited time or attention to devote to your company. They’re going to have neither the ability nor the inclination to rifle through a library of content in order to determine if your business is going to meet their needs.
At the same time, as a marketer, your time and capacity are also limited. It’s simply impossible to tailor a marketing strategy, or even a single marketing message, to the unique needs of each individual prospect.
This is where automation comes in. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems, for instance, are increasingly being used in email marketing. These systems can be used not only to dramatically accelerate the collection and curation of the customer’s vital information but also to deploy this information to generate highly personalized email content.
Because this content is specifically targeted to the unique needs, interests, and requirements of the individual recipient, you’re far more likely to avoid many of the most significant pitfalls of email marketing, including low open and low click rates.
CRM vs. Marketing Automation
Another significant challenge of an email marketing campaign is that traditional strategies may not be effective for short sales cycles. To understand why, it’s first necessary to explore CRM versus marketing automation strategies.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are generally designed for longer sales cycles and are oriented principally toward the cultivation of an enduring relationship with the target customer over time.
Marketing automation, however, is primarily used to navigate a shorter sales cycle and, above all, to boost conversion rates. CRM tools can be used to archive relevant data concerning individual clients for the purposes of driving customer experience and motivating loyalty.
Marketing automation, on the other hand, supports the completion of repetitive marketing tasks, such as the automated distribution of designated promotional content when a predefined “trigger” is activated. For instance, a marketing automation tool may be used in a promotional email campaign to facilitate cross-selling or upselling to designated segments of the existing customer base.
A sporting goods concern, for example, may use an email automation tool to notify only individuals who have purchased a specific type of mountain bike of the introduction of a new accessory for or upgraded model. By using this automated system, you avoid the time-consuming legwork of having to identify precisely which customers this new product introduction would apply to. At the same time, you also avoid inundating your existing customer base with a host of emails that are not relevant to them which, over time, could lead your customers either to unsubscribe or to redirect all of your content to their spam or trash folders.
Email marketing campaigns are among the most effective of the major marketing platforms, often generating significantly more responses than other forms of traditional and new media. Nevertheless, email campaigns are not without their challenges. Given their complexity, they can be quite time-consuming and labor-intensive. The good news, however, is that marketing technology can be highly effective in overcoming many of the most significant obstacles of an email campaign, particularly through the use of marketing automation and individualized AI-driven content. This ensures that marketers can maintain the personal touch without devoting every waking moment to customization.