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How can e-mail marketers drive loyalty and sales without driving recipients crazy?

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Answer: Some marketers take the simplicity of e-mail marketing to mean it’s easier to undertake than traditional direct mailings. In truth, marketers must be extraordinarily diligent in the development and presentation of e-mail campaigns, as e-mail is one of the most personal forms of communication. Think about it: Unlike traditional mail, e-mail arrives on your desktop during work, on your BlackBerry or mobile 24/7 and on your family’s home computer. A poorly managed e-mail campaign can severely damage customer relationships, while well-executed campaigns can foster a positive brand image and inspire customer loyalty.

E-mail marketers must be committed to providing the most pertinent information, to the most relevant potential customers, at the most appropriate times. They must maintain consistency, quality control and contact timelines in order to be successful. E-mail marketers should also take advantage of the analytic capabilities intrinsic in e-mail marketing, as maintaining visibility into rates of receipt, opens and click-throughs can provide valuable business intelligence that is impossible to glean from traditional direct mail programs.

All in all, e-mail marketing is a wonderful tool with numerous benefits that businesses of all sizes can use to help drive customer loyalty and sales. Marketers simply must remain aware of the potential downside, and equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to manage e-mail marketing projects effectively.

Michael Emerson is chief marketing officer of Aprimo (www.aprimo.com), a provider of marketing automation software.

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