Segmenting email lists with Zoho CRM

31.05.17 01:35 PM By Patty

Why Less is More when Doing Email Marketing

In our experience of doing many email marketing campaigns in Asia, Europe and Australia for various kinds of companies in all manner of industries, the one common underlying misapprehension many people have time and time again is that 'size matters'!

All too frequently, people think that the larger the size of their email list, the better results they will get.  In our years of experience though, we have learned this just isn't true!  And as part of our email marketing services in Australia and the Asia region we try to make clients understand that when doing email marketing, 'carpet bombing' just doesn't work and can actually get you marked as a spammer.  

When doing email marketing, strategy is key.  And 'less is more'.

Think about it... how many times have you received emails for products or services that you are in no way interested in?  What is your reaction?  Say you work in IT... How do you react when receiving an email selling fake drugs or watches or something similar, compared to an email that speaks of something you are really interested in?

When you pick up a newpaper, what do you do? It is unlikely you read it from cover to cover. You likely skim to the interesting bits and disregard the rest.  Our brains are perfectly tuned to doing this and it is the same when we are confronted with full inboxes every morning.

If an email targets people who are REALLY and GENUINELY interested in what you have to say then you will get far better results. That is, the recipient is far more likely to open it, read it, and impotrantly, click something inside it.

The importance of taking time to build your email list with genuine opt in readers and specific lead/customer details gathered by your sales teams can never be underestimated.  

Sure, this will take time and it it very tempting to say "I don't have time to gather all this information, I'll never get started!" But there are ways to gather details on leads, to advertise your newsletter and segment campaign lists - eg. links in email signatures, mentions in standard email templates, active telesales campaigns drawing in subscribers, and so on.

Also, if your lead lists are a mess and from various sources, then you can do a simple email blast to ASK them if they are interested in receiving emails from you... and if so, what they are intrested in.  If you use a CRM you can capture the respondents easily through a web to lead form, then you can start to design your subsequent email campaigns from there.

If you use email marketing software such as Zoho Campaigns, Connect or Mail Chimp (there are many), then you can also use the bounce results of the first campaign to assess the quality of the email list you are starting out with.

Better still, if your email marketing software and your CRM software is integrated, for example as Zoho Campaigns is with Zoho CRM, then you can get the campaign results (reads, clicks etc) on the leads in the CRM for immediate analysis, no need to switch back and forth between two apps.

In addition, you can use custom fields in the CRM to filter leads that are really relevant for the campaign you want to do. For example:

You are based in Sydney Australia and want to run a campaign that will involve some face time, a personal visit.  Why send an email to people all over Australia when you cannot and have no intention of visiting them?  Send the campaign only to those people in the relevant region. How do you segment your list to target those people in your city only?

You are promoting a specific product X. Why target people who have never shown any interest in that product, and especially people you are not sure about? How do you segment your list to filter out those people who have bought or expressed interest in Product X?   

You want to target a specific TYPE of person - tradesmen say. You have a list you acquired in a previous ad hoc system with 10,000 names. How do you know who falls into this category?  How can you show various TYPES of lead?

The answer is effective use of your CRM, and a strategic email marketing plan.  

Also important is training for sales people on the ground, who are often the best people to get the segmentation information you need.  Sales people need to see the big picture and understand what Marketing departments need in order to generate leads. This is especially true in larger organisations - we often see a gap between what marketing WANT to do and what sales ACTUALLY do.  And the opposite is true too - there is often a gap between what sales CAN do and what marketing are DOING, which results in frustration on both sides.  In worst case scenarios sales and marketing do not have any synergy whatsoever.  The best campaigns are those done when both parties are aware of what the campaign is, what is being promosted, who will be targeted, what the desired outcome is and what their role is in the campaign.

This leads us to the next point: communication and process planning.

There is no point in doing an email campaign if you have not planned

calls to action for the readers
the follow up process and communication templates
resources for a sudden influx of leads
and so on.

All teams or people in each stage need to work together and be fully aware of when the campaign starts and what their role is and importantly: what the KPI is and how to measure resulting ROI.

But the initial list - that thing that often gets the least attention, in preference to a beautiful looking email template or a fancy gift or prize for the campaign - is so important and more time spent getting this right will yield better results.

This is why we do not recommend buying lists - although list sellers will claim their lists are up to date and relevant, how do you really know?  Ask: what do I want from this campaign? What is my key performace indicator? Reads? Clicks to a website? Registrations? Here are a few simple examples:

Scenario 1: You want people to register for an event.  Your KPI is the number of people who register. You have a list of 10,000 names, some of which you purchased from a list provider, others you had from a previous manual excel based system but you only really 'know' 10% of the people. After the email blast you see 2,000 names bounced.  Of the remaining names 1,300 read the email and from them 100 click a link to your site out of curiosity.  Only 10 complete the registration becasue they were interested in what you had to offer.  This equates to a total 'conversion rate' of 0.1%.

Scenario 2: You want people to register for an event.  Your KPI is the number of people who register. You have a CRM system and have spent a couple of months gathering important data from the leads in the system via various means: phone, visits, 'probing' emails etc.  You create custom fields to filter your leads to be as relevant to the campaign as possible.  The result is a small list of 100 highly targeted leads, who you know match a specific set of criteria. No emails bounce because you validated them beforehand.  73 people read your email, 30 people click your website registration page.  Of those who clicked to the website, 20 continue through to registration because they are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and want you to follow up. The total conversion rate of 20%. The end result is you have achieved far better results for your campaign with a much smaller email list.

This is a simple example we know, however the concepts are very valid and it really does pay to spend more time preparing your list, than blasting to everyone in the hope it yields better results. (And, the financial savings of doing this are whole different story given most email marketing solutions are based on email volume!)

Email list segmentation and the 'less is more' concept of email marketing. Food for thought.

CRM Asia Solutions offer personalised email marketing services in Australia and Asia Pacific regions as well as Zoho Campaigns (online email marketing solution) and Zoho CRM implementation services in Australia and SE Asia.

For more information, please see the links below:

Zoho CRM - powerful and popular online CRM solution
Zoho Campaigns - Zoho's latest online business tool - an affordable email marketing solution
Connect - our own email marketing solution
Using Email Marketing in a Slow Economy
Four Steps to Successful Email Marketing

Or contact us here for a free no obligation quotation / demo, or via:

Email: sales at crmasiasolutions dot com