Written by: Cristina García
The line that differentiates CRM and email marketing tools is sometimes blurry. Are they necessary? What are their advantages? How do they help your online marketing goals? What functionalities are essential? There are many questions, right? And because they’re important for your business, we help you clarify some doubts and explain how they work.
If you've been with us for a while, you've probably heard us talk about CRM as the heart of your business. We believe so because, what other tool allows you to better comprehend your customers and contacts who are, after all, the centre of your company?
So, CRM refers to all methodology and, obviously, software that is responsible for the management of the relationship between your company and your contacts – either leads or customers. A management that is oriented to satisfy and win these contacts’ loyalty.
As you can see, a CRM is not only a tool, but also implies carrying out a business strategy that allows you to understand your customers, know and anticipate their needs and achieve your company’s objectives. Of course, the software is what allows you to visualize all this data and actions.
A CRM tool is the one that will help you to manage all the information that your contacts provide you in order to manage your strategies. But also to manage the internal information of those actions that your team carries out to achieve it. That is, a CRM system will help you integrate sales strategies, online marketing and advertising with your contacts data in an organized way.
You should have one thing clear by now: the maxim of any successful online business is to know its customers. Without relevant information about the purchase cycle of your potential consumers, in this case the traveller's journey, it’s impossible for you to implement a long-term strategy that meets your goals.
For this reason, a CRM is the vital core of your business. Think that if you have all the necessary data that allow you to know your contacts needs, as well as a record of your team’s sales and marketing actions, you can know how your strategy works and really evolves.
In addition, one of the keys to your company’s customer relationship management is segmentation. A CRM will allow you to segment your database to customize and focus your strategies, ensuring the suitability of these at all times.
If we talk about the software, keep in mind that it must be able to have an updated record of the historical data of the online route, the purchase behaviours and the preferences of your contacts. As well as the socio-demographic data that are essential to know their profiles. In addition, it should allow you to make segmented lists of your audience, so that it is easy to identify different sales opportunities based on their behaviour.
Remember that a CRM system must be adaptable. Not only to your hotel website needs, but also the needs of your team. This means that your team should be able to work with a quick and intuitive tool that allows them to investigate your contacts’ behaviour as well as record their actions – think that internal communication is also vital.
Before going into detail about what the tool is, let's understand what email marketing is and is not. We could say that this strategy is in the heart –yes, as you may notice we’re talking about the core digital strategies of your business– of any successful online methodology.
Taking the Inbound methodology as an example, the emailing actions works to convert your database contacts into qualified leads (sales opportunities) and help improve the relationship you have with them. Simplifying, email marketing is one of the best strategies to increase conversions of contacts into customers. Therefore, it’s not an obsolete and traditional marketing strategy if you carry out marketing campaigns aimed at satisfying your potential customers.
But the campaigns that are carried out, based on a strategy, are many. For this reason, you need software that helps you manage them. An email marketing tool will allow you, at least, to create contact lists for sending emails, which follow a specific design – consistent with your brand and your goals.
This will make it easier to perform lead nurturing, which is basically sending relevant content to your contacts, based on where they are in the traveller’s journey. A content that will help them advance in this life cycle as consumers, becoming final customers and trusting in the relationship they have with your brand.
Automate, segment and customize. These are the three keys to email marketing, keys a tool should help your business with. Without them, any campaign would not make sense.
Automate will allow you to be more practical and optimize the time you spend. For example with the programming of your newsletter, with the sending of emails with content (lead nurturing) based on certain actions of your contacts’ consumption on your website, with the self-answers in some managements...
Segment, as we have said before, is essential to determine the suitability of your campaigns based on the preferences of your contacts. While segmentation is important in any online strategy, it is even more vital in email marketing because not all content is equally relevant to your different contacts. So you cannot skip the segmentation if your intention is to satisfy them with your content.
Customizing allows you to generate engagement with your contacts and is as essential as segmenting. Who will not feel more identified with the content of an email that is directed to him? Personalization helps multiply your emails opening rate. For example, a tool should make easier the implementation of your recipients’ names in the subject line, the body…
To begin with, it should be a tool that allows you to edit the structure and content of your email in a visual way; that is, visually designing it where is responsive or not. So the ideal in this case is that it will allow you to design in your own HTML or CSS.
The integration with CRM software is something that must already be indisputable. We have not started talking about CRM by chance. An email-marketing tool allows you to design and automate the sending of emails, but if you want to segment your database and personalize your emails you need this integration. Remember that the success of your email campaigns depends on how well you know your contacts.
And other keys to success are testing and analysis. On the one hand it would be ideal if your tool allows you to perform A / B tests to know what type of email design works best for your business. On the other hand, if you don’t know the opening, bounce and click-through rate you won’t know if the content in your campaigns is successful.
Now it's easier to see the difference between a CRM tool and an email marketing one, right? Although the ideal is to have a tool that allows you to manage all your online marketing actions remember that, at least, you must opt for an email-marketing tool that allows integration with CRM software. The best of both worlds.
Image: (CC BY 2.0) Russ Hendricks