This is a guest post by Adam Tuttle, who manages Partner and Business Development at ActiveCampaign. On October 2nd, we hosted a webinar with ActiveCampaign to teach about using automatic emails while maintaining a personal touch.
If you use a CRM like Batchbook, you certainly know there is a ton of contact data that you can collect. The question I often hear is, “How do I take all that data and make it valuable within an email service provider (ESP)?”
Far too often, businesses have loads of contact data and literally do nothing with it. In today’s data driven world, this is nothing short of a loss. Now, I cannot speak as to how data should be used outside of email marketing, but I do want to provide a few tips on taking your Batchbook contact data and using it within your email marketing program, which will add a great deal of value to your existing contact data.
Evaluate your contact data
One of the things I love about Batchbook is how it allows me to add customized fields and tags in addition to the default fields provided. In the world of email marketing, this literally kicks open the floodgates of possibility.
My challenge to you as a CRM user is to look at the current data you have and ask if you are collecting enough details on your contacts. Does the standard name, phone, email, etc., meet your needs? Or do you need more data? Do not ask this question just in the context of a CRM, ask it about your email marketing as well. The reason being, in most cases an ESP will contain features which can make great use of the data you have in order to greatly improve the effectiveness of the email campaigns you are sending out. Ask yourself what data would be possible to obtain and store in Batchbook and then decide if the data could be used to impact your email marketing success.
Data is a very powerful tool, but only when used.
If you do find more data would be helpful, I recommend developing a strategy for how you can obtain the fresh information. It could be something as simple as a phone call, or a quick survey explaining that you are updating your customer information. At the end of the day, it should come down to what is valuable for your company. Data is a very powerful tool, but only when used. Try to ensure the data you are sending to your ESP or gathering within Batchbook is actually adding value to your business. Anything you don’t use is just clutter.
Assess your tools
Below is a list of common features ESP’s provide which can make good use of your contact data:
Segmentation — Filter a list of email contacts based on contact data.
Personalization — Use the data you have to personalize the email (e.g. add their name to the subject line).
Conditional Content — Make it so only contacts with certain data (e.g. Title = CEO) can see certain content in the email.
Triggered Automations (personal favorite) — Use dynamic factors such as link clicks to create a system reaction (e.g. sending a follow up email) within the ESP.
Each of the features listed above can be used to make your email marketing more personal and engaging. You don’t have to use every feature on every campaign you send out the door. However, before you even start building a campaign, I firmly believe you need to take a look at the contact data you have and then ask what features, if any, could be used to improve your email campaign.
The key is to actually understand the tool and how it can be used. Take the time to really look at how each feature can be used. The features above are sometimes put into a box for the way people think they can be used. But think outside the box. Don’t assume that a personalization or automation feature cannot help you in a totally unique scenario. Remember to step back, look at the data, and ask what you want it to do. Then ask if a specific function or feature can help your desire become reality.
Engage your contact
All of this is kind of like making a sandwich. The ESP (bread) is the vehicle in which the ingredients (CRM data) are delivered to your mouth (customer). The issue you as the sandwich builder face is choosing which toppings will be used and how they will be used. Are they simply an accent to the overall creation, or are they they shining star? Once you decide the needed ingredients, you start building your masterpiece upon the bread which is which will be used to deliver your delightful creation.
Build emails which use contact data to make your emails more successful
This might be a bit of a strange example, but I really feel its applicable. Look at the ESP you use. Learn about the features which can be used to enhance the data you have in Batchbook. Then build emails which use that data to make your emails more successful.
Why is using data to enhance your ESP so important? The answer is very simple. If your contacts are not engaged with you, they provide very little if any value from an email marketing perspective. By sending targeted and contact dynamic emails with personalized content, you are making it easy for the reader to engage with you. This will increase the return on investment for both your CRM and your ESP.
Ready to learn more about how to collect useful contact data in your CRM? Head on over to ActiveCampaign’s blog to read our guest post, How to Collect Contact Data and Use It to Improve Your Email Marketing.