Email marketing integration matters… Here is why.

What drives your business? A fundamental question, but often forgotten. Most businesses exist to ultimately generate a profit and sales is the most direct driver of that profit.

Yet there is a way to get a higher return from your marketing and sales. Let’s look at the importance of email marketing integration.

Why your current email marketing isn’t enough

Email still has one of the highest return on investments of all marketing channels. Which is why email marketing is still so popular as both a lead and revenue generator.

You might be thinking your current approach is “good enough” in today’s competitive email marketing landscape. Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” illustrates exactly what is wrong with that. Good is the enemy of great, because good turns into good enough—and good enough is never, ever great.

Great plugged-in email marketing

To take your email marketing to a new level in an age of smartphones, Gmail tabs and ever increasing inbox competition, sooner or later you’re going to need to move beyond that straightforward use of your ESP to determine your optimum level of integration, especially as your business grows. Great email marketing—the kind that delivers a higher ROI, comes from taking a more invested, more sophisticated approach.

I am putting an emphasis on email marketing integration, because integrating the data within your ESP with other your business systems, such as web analytics or your CRM system, allows you to put together a more detailed picture of your customers and prospects, segmenting them into targeted groups and marketing to them with more relevant and timely content…which is the kind of content they want to get.

Email marketing integration: Get the bigger picture

Think about the things you might know about someone if the only data you had came from your email service provider. You could easily find out:

• Which emails were delivered
• Which ones were opened
• Which ones were responded to by clicking on a link
• Which ones were forwarded or shared
• Which ones were unsubscribed from

So really, you wouldn’t know much. You would not know:

• What someone did at your website or store
• What was bought…or almost bought
• When someone last bought from you

If you had your email marketing integrated with other data sources within your business, you could build up a true and intelligent customer profile. Tying the information together, you could, using marketing automation, change how you messaged that customer:

  • You could email her about related items. Let’s say she bought a vacuum cleaner. Three months from now, you could message her about buying more bags for that vacuum cleaner.
  • You could send an abandoned cart email for the things she almost bought, with an incentive to get her to come back and finish the purchase.
  • You could reward her frequency if she shops often.
  • You could entice her to come back if she hasn’t bought for a while.

By having more data about a customer in a central integrated database environment, you’d go from a generic platform with messages meant to work for everyone to one relevant to that customer at that time. And that means you’d get a lot more interest in the inbox as a result.

What does email integration deliver?

Your current ESP and email marketing integration set-up is no doubt enabling you to get results, but you could be doing more if it was integrated with your other business systems. Implementing email integration this way can make it possible for you to:

  • Segment your audiences in smaller and smaller groups based on buying behavior and how they respond to email offers. For example, you can market the red wines to those customers who buy reds and the white wines to that crowd. When segmenting gets more targeted, conversion rates go up!
  • Send automated yet targeted content to these segments. You can target your subgroups without adding to your workload by determining who they are, developing a drip campaign, and launching it.
  • Keep your customer data up-to-date, with real-time accuracy. Data gets fed right back into your ESP and synchronized across other systems.
  • Develop more insightful and actionable email reporting. Some third-party tools enable you to dig deeper, learn more, and even plug that knowledge right back into your ESP for real-time reactions to trends.
  • Use your email reporting to spot opportunities so you can up sell and cross sell based on browsing or buying behavior.

Are you missing out on sales?

If you’re not yet integrating your email marketing platform with other parts of your business, such as your ecommerce or CRM systems, you might be missing out on opportunities… which is another way of saying you might be missing out on sales.

About Marco Marini

With 25 years in business, Marco is a walking encyclopedia of all things email: best practices, technologies, trends, and more. Marco is currently the COO of iPost, an email platform built for marketers by marketers. iPost an easy, flexible, dynamic marketing automation solution for email and mobile marketing. He has also held key marketing positions with CyberSource, ClickMail, eHealthInsurance, DoveBid and IBM Canada.

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