E-commerce Link: Inbound E-mail
In e-mail marketing, most of the focus is on the outbound programs and campaigns marketers launch to their lists, and the resulting actions recipients take. Let’s put the spotlight on the inbound e-mail communications that these campaigns generate and discuss why attention to this often overlooked area can pay dividends in preserving the size of your list and generating future sales.
Today, e-mail is a core component of the marketing strategy for most companies. Yet, many marketers miss important customer interactions. Why? Because recipients do not always behave the way you would like them to. They may:
• Directly reply to your e-mail;
• Set a filter to challenge e-mails from anyone not in their address books; or
• Include important information in their auto-responder messages.
These customer interactions often are forgotten or not handled on a timely basis by organizations. Whether you use an in-house system or a third-party e-mail provider, timely and efficient e-service requires a commitment to customer care.
Most marketers see at least 10 percent of their sales generated online, and the year-over-year improvement is substantial. As a result, effective online customer service is becoming a prerequisite for success.
Let’s look at the types of inbound communication marketers receive and then analyze what inattention to these messages means in terms of numbers and the impact on a business.
Types of Replies
Opt-out requests and standard inquiries. Good marketers have standard links in the footer of their e-mails that enable recipients to opt out, change an e-mail address and modify preferences. However, instead of using the individual links provided to handle these activities, your recipients might decide to reply to opt out, ask a question or provide a change of address.
Opt-out requests must be processed to keep your company in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.
Messages that contain questions or requests for literature also are important since they afford you the ability to nurture a relationship and generate future sales. Many questions from customers and prospects relate to rate, price and product information.