With e-mail dominating all other communication channels when it comes to companies interacting with customers, e-mail branding should be integral to, and considered to be, a critical success factor in customer relationship management (CRM).
So says Dries Morris, operations director at Securicom, which has recently launched an innovative server-based e-mail branding solution, eBranding, that enables companies to leverage e-mail for branding-building by turning all outgoing e-mail messages into purposeful, targeted and impactful points of interaction with existing and potential customers.
“E-mail has the potential to be the ultimate direct marketing and customer retention tool. Yes, e-mail newsletters and mailers can be intrusive, and unsolicited and irrelevant to the recipient, they can do more harm than good to a company’s brand and reputation. Any type of e-mail marketing must be approached cautiously and executed properly and professionally.
“E-mail branding is different. It’s when normal day-to-day email interactions with customers are appropriately branded and targeted to be relevant and meaningful to the recipient. This is when e-mails become potent brand-builders, serving to maintain the customer’s interest in your products and services, and loyalty to your business.
“Aside from its significant brand building power, e-mail is also the perfect vehicle for relationship management between an organisation and its customers,” says Morris.
He continues: “The primary goal of CRM is to strengthen customer ties by developing a better understanding of customer value, behaviour and needs. Technologically-speaking, CRM is a process that helps brings together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness and responsiveness.
“Because CRM embraces all aspects of dealing with existing and potential customers, both presales and post-sales, it makes sense to make e-mail branding an integral part of it. E-mail branding can significantly bolster e-mail-based CRM activities and interaction,” says Morris.
With Securicom eBranding, companies can synchronise e-mail branding activities with their CRM programme. Some CRM solutions have built-in templates for e-mails. However, Morris says eBranding is more than just a template for tacking-on logos and banners to e-mails.
The solution allows for e-mail messages and branding to created and tailored for specific target groups to drive recipients to a webs ite or into another marketing or customer service programme. It also provides the ability to monitor e-mail marketing campaigns and measure results via an interactive, easy-to-use online management platform.
“With eBranding, the effectiveness of e-mail-based campaigns can be tracked and measured with click-through rates and other measurement tools. This provides valuable insight into the customer and makes e-mail purposeful, impactful and measurable part of CRM, and marketing as a whole.
“By branding all outgoing e-mails, companies can turn an everyday communication medium, e-mail, into an opportunity to reinforce its relationships with its customers. “Securicom eBranding can complement CRM tools to give a company the CRM edge,” says Morris.
Securicom’s e-mail branding solution, eBranding, is offered as a service to which customers subscribe so there is no software purchase or installation required. The service, hosted upstream by Securicom at an ISP, is web based and includes access to Securicom’s round-the-clock support infrastructure.