E-mail: The Right E-tools for the Job
While the sophistication of high-end e-mail marketing tools can be a bit daunting, virtually any cataloger can find an e-mail marketing package that will increase sales without breaking the bank.
“Although it is often taken for granted, the power of e-mail derives from its ubiquity,” says David Hallerman, a senior analyst at market research firm eMarketer and author of “E-Mail and Word-of-Mouth: Connecting With Your Best Customers.”
He notes that about 90 percent of U.S. Internet users are regular e-mail users, “clearly an audience that has attained critical mass. Although spam makes it harder to reach customers’ inboxes, e-mail’s personal impact is unmatched by more ballyhooed interactive marketing vehicles.”
In fact, a Forrester report released in May 2006 showed that 83 percent of marketers surveyed now consider e-mail to be one of their core marketing tools.
Get serious about e-mail marketing. If you’re on the hunt for the best e-mail software for your needs, you’ll find a number of fairly powerful packages, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Generally, these packages offer the ability to personalize each e-mail you send with a customer’s name, and add scores of other personal data into each e-mail by mining the data fields in your customer database.
Plus, the programs effortlessly manage list maintenance chores, such as activating new subscriptions, handling mailing list unsubscribes and tracking bounces.
Some programs also offer valuable reports that enable you to track how many subscribers on your mailing list actually open your marketing e-mails, how many click on the links in those e-mails linking back to products on your Web site, and how many of those e-mails are forwarded on to friends and colleagues as word-of-mouth referrals (possibly the most precious of promotions your e-mails can trigger).
ELegalSupply, an online cataloger of office supplies for the legal community, uses a package from the entry-level category: Campaign Enterprise from Arial Software ($985, www.arialsoftware.com). Partner John Enyart says Campaign Enterprise’s ability to personalize e-mails was one of the primary reasons the company chose the software.