Today’s consumers are vocal and are voicing their thoughts and opinions more than ever before, whether in e-mail, on Facebook and Twitter, or one-on-one. These people, your customers, have many choices about the brands they buy and the channels they prefer for communication. Astute marketers who understand this are engaging their customers in conversation because they know that this is one of the best ways to enhance retention. E-mail is the surest way to do this. E-mail marketing allows you to reach consumers where they spend a lot of time and where they feel very comfortable: at their computers.
Given the sharp decline in consumer spending last year, coupled with marketers scaling back on acquisition efforts, retention has taken on a larger role. The importance of showing your customers that they matter to you cannot be underestimated. Sending an occasional “thank you” e-mail, for no reason than to express your appreciation, can be effective.
If you are considering a new product or service idea, e-mail your customers and ask for their opinion first. It is like having your own consumer panel, and at the same time you are showing customers that you value their input. Dorito’s aired a commercial in last year’s Super Bowl created not by their ad agency, but by consumers. What a great way to develop relationships. Isn’t this what CRM is all about?
By maintaining a dialog with your customers, you will hear about any problems first-hand, rather than reading about it on Facebook or Twitter, where this kind of negativity spreads like wildfire. Opening an interactive dialogue with your customers requires you to collect e-mail addresses wherever you can – at point of sale, online, and through e-mail appending. Choose your e-mail append provider carefully; the quality of the email address is more important than the cheapest pricing or the highest match rate.