Not all email marketing solutions are built to integrate with CRM products, so there are requirements to consider before making your choice. In an article called "Enhance Your CRM Strategy With Targeted Email Marketing" Tricia Robinson, CMO for Socketware Inc., offers 5 guidelines to abide by when choosing to integrate email into your CRM suite:
Ensure your provider can create dynamic message content
Email marketing isn't just about creating pretty templates and graphics and pushing "send." Your message content should be dynamic and easy to navigate. Your email service provider must have features such as multilevel personalization, viral marketing, conditional content, and subscribe/unsubscribe management. You can have an even bigger advantage if your provider can deliver international language email and personalized or conditional subject lines.
Request full reporting and tracking functions
Your CRM tool is probably highly analytical and knows customers inside and out. Why shouldn't your email give you the same standards? Reporting and tracking of email programs and messages are essential to fine-tuning content strategy and detailing the activities of recipients. You can even request reporting functions not available in most CRM suites, such as: tracking of opens, click-throughs, click-throughs by position, cross-campaign reporting for in-depth analysis, and remarketing tracking so you can pinpoint and create new campaigns from previous recipient activity.
Make deliverability a guarantee, not a hassle
The single greatest dilemma for email marketers is managing filters, ISPs, and blocking of messages. Some email marketing solutions offer services to help emailers test and increase deliverability, all while remaining compliant with governmental regulations. Some features can also help with email delivery, like bounce management and processing, from-address options to allow for personal address book/whitelisting, time stamp on messaging, confirmed opt-in, and double opt-in when desired.
It's essential to choose an email service provider with experienced in-house communications experts who provide pre- and postsale consulting on equipment needs and email infrastructure advice. An incisive customer support team will help manage email marketing best practices and training for your business.
Get creative and have a little fun
Implementing an email marketing program doesn't have to be arduous or time-consuming. Your CRM solution tells you which customers are your most valuable, so you are making contact with those who want your messages. Some e-mail service providers offer project management, full service creative implementation and deployment, and other initial "hand-holding" that may be required for email marketing novices. Choose a provider that can help maximize your ROI without compromising your brand.
Married with CRM, email marketing can offer the immediate, measurable results that can't always be provided with a CRM solution alone. The combination closes the circle of customer analysis, allowing you to track behavior, study buying patterns, and seamlessly communicate your messages.