The Evolution of Email Marketing & Social CRM

February 7, 2012
By Caitlin MacDonald

Smart email marketers know that leveraging customer data is the key to creating relevant and effective email marketing campaigns. Tying into customer databases allows marketers to segment emails to consumers based on key demographic and preference data. And people are even taking it a step further and integrating with e-commerce systems and/or web analytics data to help trigger relevant messages based on past purchases, page visits or shopping cart activity. These are all excellent tactics that many email marketers are doing today (or at least know they should be doing!), but how about fine-tuning relevancy based on your customers' activities on social media?

We are now seeing the opportunity to have social media influence email marketing activity. Tal Nathan, VP of Client Services at StrongMail, offers his advice on connecting Social CRM with email marketing:

First things first, do some research. Find out where your customers are on the social web, and how social they are, which can be done through a variety of social monitoring and listening tools. Carefully, evaluate what they are sharing, the topics they are passionate about, and any concerns or complaints that they bring up. Once you've identified a list of key influencers, mark them as such in your database and create specific campaigns that treat them like a most valuable customer, whether via special promotions, advanced access to products, or other ways to "surprise and delight" them. The whole nine yards. Once you have that data, you can then send more targeted email marketing campaigns designed for those influencers -- this could include inviting them to participate in surveys and sending invitations to joining an exclusive offer. By giving them a level of status among their peers, they will likely be motivated to share your message with more frequency and love.

The bottom line is that your customers are interacting with your brand via multiple channels, and you should be collecting all of that data to be able to craft relevant messages that reflect the entire brand experience.Take the time to invest and identify your most loyal customers, as well as recognize opportunities to refine your messaging and offers. Successful email marketing is powered by customer data, and you can't afford to ignore the customer insight you have access to across multiple resources.

What are some clever campaigns or tactics that have worked for your email marketing efforts?