Take your e-mail campaigns cross channel for higher ROI

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E-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. But marketers who focus solely on e-mail to build an ongoing relationship with their customers may be leaving money on the table. Responsys research indicates that a customer who receives both e-mail and direct mail will typically spend 10% to 20% more than a customer who was approached through a single channel.

When Bare Necessities elected to add a simple postcard to its usual e-mail only marketing program about a big November sale, they achieved a 15% revenue increase among customers who received a combination of strategically timed print and e-mail notifications.

So why are so few e-mail marketers adding a print component to their campaigns? The main reason is that integrated marketing campaigns have required separate on-demand campaign management applications (one for e-mail, one for print, one for mobile) or required IT involvement and expensive, complex on-premise marketing automation software.

But things are changing. Gartner recently identified “Web platforms” as a top 10 CRM trend for 2008, which means the same kind of on-demand and integrated technologies that changed the game in sales force automation are arriving in the marketing department. That will make it easier to deliver integrated campaigns that span online, mobile, e-mail, call centers, direct mail and in-store channels, providing a more satisfying, unified experience for customers and unprecedented increases in sales for marketers.

But how do you sequence and deliver campaigns across multiple channels? Four simple steps will keep you in perfect synch with your customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

First, identify the triggers for integrated campaigns. Your customers' interests, preferences and profiles continually change as they progress through the customer lifecycle. Observing these changes gives you the insight you need to deliver the right message through the right channel at the right time. Programs that leverage specific moments in the customer lifecycle offer strong opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Second, map objectives and programs to the customer lifecycle. For example, you need to know if you are triggering a program to reach a new customer or growing the value of an existing one.

Third, build and link multichannels campaigns together in a logical sequence through emerging event and dialogue marketing technologies. On-demand solutions allow marketers to string together integrated dialogues in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional on-premise marketing automation software.

Finally, test the flow. You should continually test and optimize every part of your cross-channel campaign against a control group to pinpoint the messages that resonate the most with your customers at different points in the purchasing lifecycle – making sure that customers are getting the right offers at the right time.

If you do all of these things, one thing is certain: customers will be happier and conversion rates will jump.

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