In the 1960s, business executives marveled at their new organization tool – the Rolodex. This clever contraption made it easy to find an associate’s or customer’s phone number and add or delete contacts in just a few minutes, spinning cards around on its wheel alphabetically. The Rolodex became an essential tool for communication, taking us through the next two decades and into the computer era.
Once personal computers began to populate office desks, electronic mail ensued and business professionals discovered an even smarter way to connect with their customers and foster long-term relationships – email.
Today, electronic communication has become far more prevalent in customer relationship management than the old fashioned phone call or direct mailer due to several key benefits:
Using Email Marketing to Enhance Customer Relationships
- the freedom to review and respond at one's leisure
- the ability to include supportive documents and hyperlinks
- the ability to carefully plan and fine-tune a message prior to delivery
- the ability to communicate with a larger audience faster and more cost-effectively
- the ability to easily document and archive correspondence
From professional services to manufacturing firms and everything in between, companies depend on email marketing more and more as their primary means for building and sustaining strong relationships with current and prospective customers. Companies may use email newsletters, automated messages and value-added email promotions to enhance customer relationships. Email marketing is effectively used with customers to:
Reinforce Your Brand. Promote your business image, unique selling proposition, corporate philosophy and values using targeted email marketing messages delivered at a frequency most comfortable for your audience members. After repeated exposure, recipients will automatically think of your company’s image and message when they need the products, services or solutions offered.
Share Topic Expertise. Don't just advertise your industry expertise. Demonstrate your knowledge by sending regular email newsletters with relevant articles that set your products or services apart. Offer tips and strategies that your readers can use to improve their own lives, work or productivity. Increase customer demand by suggesting creative ways readers can use your company’s products or services. For example, a financial consultant may send email newsletters complete with personal finance articles or strategies for higher education or retirement planning. Similarly, a software development firm may offer ideas on using their solution in ways customers might not have considered otherwise.
Build Trust and Loyalty. Email marketing offers an effective means for fostering interaction with your customers. For instance, companies may implement automated triggers that send valuable and appreciated messages to customers immediately following a sale to recommend similar products or other relevant content. They could also send a message a few weeks following service to gather valuable customer feedback through an online survey or poll. Marketing and sales departments also use scheduled birthday and anniversary messages to make their customers feel more appreciated.
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