Monday Catch-up: Email + CRM Integration, a Checklist for Retailers and Successful Planning

Happy Monday, marketers! Here’s a roundup of some of the latest news and information about email marketing to help get your week off to an informed start. Grab your coffee and dive in!

Grow B2B sales by integrating email marketing strategies with CRM

“An all-in-one sales and marketing platform that integrates CRM (contact relationship management system) with email marketing can transform your data into personalized, relevant messaging that will enhance your ability to generate more leads, strengthen customer relationships and increase sales,” writes Larry Myler in Forbes.

In the article, Myler shares “five key benefits you should try to gain from this integration that will help you squeeze every opportunity out of your database” from Jonathan Herrick, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer and co-founder of Hatchbuck. The benefits include enhanced personalization, a greater ability to nurture quality leads, the potential to use action taken by recipients to develop an “informed CRM” to help drive sales, the ability to maintain a “personal touch” and enhance retention as you scale your efforts, and the opportunity to keep sales and marketing messages aligned.

“Integrating your CRM and email marketing platform is essential for B2B sales,” Myler writes. “With all-in-one sales and marketing tools that package both functions into one app, you can keep sales and marketing in sync, follow-up intelligently with prospects and customers, and convert more contacts into sales.”

A seven-step email marketing checklist for retailers

“What’s the best way to stay in touch with your retail customers?” asks Rieva Lesonsky at Small Business Trends. Her answer: “According to a recent study, email blows all other marketing methods out of the water. Respondents of all generations, from Generation Z to Baby Boomers, prefer email communications from retailers by a wide margin.”

With those stats in mind, Lesonsky shares a seven-step email marketing checklist for retailers they can use to ensure they are realizing email marketing’s full potential. At the top of her checklist are segmentation and personalization.

“Segmenting, or separating your email subscribers into different lists, helps you deliver more relevant emails,” she writes. “Subscribers may segment themselves based on how they opt-in to your emails, or you can segment them based on data you gather.” She suggests that segmentation can take place based on demographic information (age, gender, marital status, children), location, transaction-related information (how often purchases are made, average purchase amount, etc.) and behavioral information, such as website pages viewed.

“Personalization is key in getting results from your email marketing,” Lesonsky writes. “It’s also part of what customers like about email: For example, 64 percent of millennials in the survey say email is the marketing channel that feels “most personal.”

“The basic element of personalization, of course, is using the recipient’s name in the body of the email and/or in the subject line,” she writes. “Email marketing programs make it easy to personalize your emails this way; you can even add references in the body of the email to things like a recent purchase or visit.”

The other items on her checklist include making sure your emails offer “perceived value,” using triggered emails, developing compelling subject lines and opening lines of body copy, optimizing for mobile and maintaining “healthy” email lists.

How to make a plan (and stick to it)

Planning for the year ahead is very important, but “when it comes to creating an email marketing plan for your business or organization, it’s all too easy to get sidetracked by pressing day-to-day responsibilities,” writes Bria Sullivan at Business 2 Community.

Sullivan has figured out how to make sure she gets her annual plans completed, and shares several tips in her article, as well as a template email marketers can use for planning purposes.

Her first tip is to not attempt to get your entire plan made in one sitting. “As with most things, the anticipation of getting started is more daunting than the actual task. Take control of your tendency to procrastinate by limiting the time you’ll commit to your marketing plan to 15 minutes at a time.”

She also encourages email marketers to write down their plan (rather than trying to remember it), to try to not let unexpected events during the year derail the plan, and to ensure their plan delivers messages to customers on a regular, consistent basis throughout the year.

“While you’ll likely have times in the year when you’re busier than others, your goal should be to communicate with your audience on a regular basis,” she writes. “If you’re noticing gaps in certain months when you have less going on, use the second page of your email marketing plan template to help select standard and non-traditional holidays that you can incorporate into your plans to ensure you’re consistently reaching your subscribers.”