Segment consumers to better connect with them.

How can customer life cycle drive email messages?

Regardless of the industry, monitoring email marketing lists is critical to spurring product engagement and maintaining – if not improving – revenues. Yet as technologies continue to change and consumers’ expectations and desires develop alongside them, organizations may start to feel as if they’re continually trying to keep pace with the Joneses.

Fortunately, email as a marketing channel has remained one of the most effective ways of interacting with customers and strengthening relationships. While Facebook and Twitter may be comparatively new and popular, they have yet to demonstrate the same effectiveness as the inbox. That being said, some emails are inherently more successful than others, and to get the most out of their email distribution lists, companies may want to take note of these best practices.

Engage current customers with dynamic content and offers   
One mistake companies often make is taking their shoppers for granted, especially if consumers have a long purchasing history with the business. Writing off customers or just assuming they will continue patronizing a particular firm regardless of receiving updates, information or savings is a foolish and costly mistake, especially when there are so many options for email communications.

Many companies use business email as a way to keep active customers in the loop of industry trends and news, Marketing Profs explained in a recent article. While these messages allow recipients to feel engaged with firms, they can also serve the double purpose of positioning companies at the head of their fields in terms of innovation, price or quality.

Additionally, businesses can target specific emails to their VIPs. “Segment out VIPs that fit the 80/20 rule (the 20 percent that drive 80 percent of revenue) and provide them with personalized email offers,” the news source explained. This allows those customers who are most loyal to know that their business is noticed and valued.

Attract prospects to transform them into clients   
However, as important as existing customers are, companies are continually focused on growing their consumer base to fuel business expansion and protect against possible losses.

The news source characterizes prospects as “pre-customers.” These are individuals who need to be persuaded to learn more about an enterprise and its offerings by opting in to an email list. But once they begin receiving business emails, how can companies transition them from readers to shoppers?

Many firms begin not by sending information on their products, but instead offering newsletters about relevant items or activities. Marketing Profs offered the example of an individual who may be interested in golfing – while he or she may not be prepared to buy a full set golf clubs, he or she may like to learn about courses or events in their community. Sign-ups for such communications can be offered on a company’s website or other media, such as Facebook or Twitter.

“Provide information that is useful and engaging while unobtrusively offering your product’s value proposition,” Marketing Profs explained. “You need to stand in the customer’s shoes and truthfully judge whether you would read your own newsletter content.”

Adopting these tips can help businesses approach their email marketing databases in a more holistic and customer-centric fashion, which is especially critical when considering that the effectiveness of the marketing medium is only continuing to grow.

According to the Q1 2013 Email Trends and Benchmarks Report from Epsilon and the Email Institute, the average email open rate across sectors is 31.1 percent, which is a significant increase from Q4 2012, when messages were read 27.4 percent of the time. The Q1 2013 open rate was the highest since Q3 2006, ClickZ reported.

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