The use of customer relationship (CRM) software has become standard for businesses everywhere. In a survey by Small Business Trends of 200 US businesses, 74% were already using a CRM platform and a further 20% planned to install one within the year.
While CRM systems are popular and well-known for effectively managing sales and customer service functions, they can also help you to focus, manage, and track the efficacy of your business's many marketing efforts.
Related: Purchase your CRM software from one of our hand-picked vendors
You're already tracking a multitude of details about your customers through your CRM software. You've logged their demographic data, the ways in which they've interacted with your company, and what purchases they have made.
Your CRM program can parse all of your data to help you identify customer segments based on any number of factors to help you focus your campaign to make it most appealing to those customers.
- Your CRM software can create lists based on the above data, as well as lists based on previous positive responses or by defining subgroups within your lists who are likely to respond to a given campaign.
- According to Forrester Research, delivering targeted email messages to specially segmented lists of potential buyers increases email read rates by 200% or more.
At any given moment your business may be running any number of marketing campaigns. Each targeted customer list has its own campaign, as well as sub-campaigns through email and larger campaigns through direct mail, online listings, mobile advertisements, and more.
Your CRM system can improve your marketing execution by keeping every campaign organized and linked to each group of potential customers.
- CRM can help you keep track of your campaign, keep you informed of the status of each one, maintain a marketing schedule, and remind to you to take follow-up action when you need it. In the case of email marketing, the CRM program can automatically distribute follow-up emails to keep customers moving through the process of making a conversion.
Related: Start your first email campaign, today
Tracking and analyzing the results of your campaigns helps you to assess which campaigns were the most successful, which were the least successful, and ways that you can make improvements to future campaigns. Again, this kind of data is already available to you within your CRM program -- all you have to do is set it up.
- One of the easiest ways to track your campaigns is to assign each one with a unique object number. This number follows the campaign throughout the marketing cycle, from the initial email (or ad, or mailing) to the final number of positive conversions. It's an easy function to set up in either your on-premise or cloud-based CRM system, after which you can easily pick out and track specific campaigns within the program.
- When you integrate your CRM with your web analytics program, you can track a multitude of customer activity, from clicks and responses to downloads and conversions. By channeling this information through your CRM program you can easily access and analyze the data to compare and refine your marketing campaigns.
Using CRM for marketing is a growing trend, and sales of programs specifically geared towards campaign management and marketing increased from 19% in 2010 to 29% in 2011, according to Gartner research.
However, you don't need to implement an entirely new customer relationship management program in order to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. Use your current program to better target your customers, manage your campaigns, and track the results of your marketing efforts.