E-mail: 5 Ways to Build Lifetime Customer Relationships
Once you have built an opt-in e-mail subscriber database, the next steps are where the work really begins. First, you must ensure a steady flow of additional valid e-mail addresses to make up for those that dissolve over time. Second, you need to communicate frequently with customers in relevant ways in order to build long-term relationships. But how do you measure the value of your opt-in e-mail addresses and ensure that you deliver relevant communications?
Capture New Customer E-mail Addresses
You can use e-mails to build relationships with your customers only if you have a valid permission-based e-mail address for each customer in your database. Ask any marketer whose company has a large customer marketing database how many valid e-mail addresses there are in the database. Most marketers don't know that number offhand; they have to look it up. And when they do, the answer they find is probably wrong. Why? Because today 30 percent of the e-mail addresses become obsolete during any given year. You are holding on to a leaky bucket that will soon run dry unless you keep filling it up with newly acquired e-mail addresses. How can you do that?
The best way to keep the bucket full is to incentivize your staff to get customer e-mail addresses with every contact. When customers buy something in a store or over the phone, the point-of-sale system should be set up to receive e-mail addresses that go right into the database. When e-mail addresses are entered, the database sends an e-mail to the customer getting her to "click here" to validate the address and affirm her permission for you to use it. When she does this, the staff member who entered the e-mail should get some sort of a reward or bonus. Once you set up a system like this, your database will become rich with valid permission-based e-mails.