Advanced e-mail tactics can shed light on new customers

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Used properly, nothing is more effective and efficient for driving new and repeat sales than e-mail.

Here's just one example of how it can be done. Volvo Construction Equipment, an ExactTarget client, sends its monthly e-mail newsletter to 85,000 customers. All content is customized for each subscriber.

All e-mail subscriber activity — newsletter articles read, videos viewed, brochures downloaded — is tracked in the company's CRM system to assist sales representatives. This effective e-mail strategy helped Volvo Construction Equipment generate $51 million in new equipment sales in 2009.

To maximize e-mail marketing power, three goals are key:

Attract. More than 90% of consumers and business professionals begin their buying process by researching the Web for companies and suppliers.

Make sure people can easily find you and your sites, including your main website, product microsites, blogs and special purpose landing pages. Optimize your sites for search engines and incorporate keywords that best relate to your product or solution.

Engage. Research from Web analytics technology provider Webtrends shows that on average, 95% of website visitors leave a site without identifying who they are and taking some form of action, such as subscribing to your e-newsletter. That's why e-mail subscriber conversion is one of the most important metrics that impacts marketing ROI.

Design your websites to engage visitors and give them a reason to subscribe to your e-mail newsletter or receive special offers by e-mail. In 2009, more than 50% of consumers made a purchase due to e-mail, according to recent research from ExactTarget.

Serve. E-mail has two primary jobs: business getting and business keeping. To drive new and repeat purchases, use e-mail to provide information that aids the customer's decision-making process. To retain customers, use e-mail to provide helpful content that enhances a customer's product usage experience.

Invite new subscribers to identify their needs and interests. Then, use that information to create personalized offers, invitations and information that are relevant and timely.

Joel Book is a principal at ExactTarget Marketing Research & Education Group. Reach him at jbook@exacttarget.com.

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