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Email Marketing For Small Businesses: Database Management

Email Marketing For Small Businesses: Database Management

Posted 09/02/2009 by Gareth Cutter

An interesting case study posted on Marketing Sherpa last Friday shows how a group director was able to improve email marketing efficiency at a large firm by centralising her company's email marketing databases. Although the article is clearly geared at larger organisations with teams of 100 people and upwards, there are plenty of best practices that can be scaled down to smaller operations.

The oft-overlooked issue of centralisation is important for several reasons, not least because it:

  • Puts all of the authority and accountability in one place: decision making and identifying errors is quicker
  • Reduces the risk of cross-sending emails to contacts, which can lead to increased spam complaints and unsubscribes from your list
  • Makes managing prospect relationships easier with the same team of people working on it, speeding up the sales conversion process

Organising your email marketing databases first requires defining the technological vs creative and brand-specific vs brand agnostic-elements of your programme. 'Tech' makes sure the emails function, display and deliver properly; 'creative' works on subject lines, copy and calls-to-action designed to keep subscribers engaged. It's impossible to have an effective email marketing process without one or the other.

Once these roles have been clearly defined and a communications strategy set up to synchronise them, it's time to divide the teams even further. For those SMEs with multiple brands / products, the most superior email marketers should focus on the overall running of the system, building up lists, monitoring delivery rates, optimising sender reputation, scheduling sends and managing the opt-in / opt-out procedures i.e. database management. Meanwhile, smaller marketing teams work on the creative for individual brands and products.

In short: everyone has a clear idea of what their role entails, knows what is expected and, with the help of a strong communications strategy, knows what everyone else is doing. This will create a flawless, targeted marketing programme for your customers and a less frantic working environment for your marketing team.

The article, 'How to Centralize Control of Email Databases: 5 Lessons to Streamline Operations', is available until the end of the week on open-access at Marketing Sherpa.

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