Saturday, October 27, 2007

6 Steps to Effective Customer Relationship Management

Nurture Your Customer Relationships

Simply put, customer relationship management is a way of tracking and nurturing your customer relationships throughout the customer's life-cycle, as they move from prospect to customer, to repeat-buyer. Once a customer buys from you, it is much more profitable to make efforts to keep that customer, than it is to acquire a new one, because there is now trust between you. If your customer is happy with your product, then that customer is much more likely to buy from you again in the future, much more likely than a new prospect would be. That’s why customer relationship management is so crucial.

Don’t badger your customers to death with every product and affiliate offer you come across, especially if the products are unrelated to the product the customer originally purchased. Email your customers ONLY when you have something good to give them, some really helpful information, or when you have a really good, high-quality offer that would interest that particular customer. For instance, don’t email your Internet Marketing customer a “Free Gift Certificate” to your gift store.

Automate Your Customer Relationship Management

Well, how do you automate customer relationship management in your e-business? You use email, and a dynamic database. You use auto-responders to stay in touch. I’m not talking about your regular auto-responders that deliver a vacation or “out of office” messages while you’re away, either. I’m talking about sequential auto-responders.

Use Sequential Auto-Responders In Your e-Business

Sequential auto-responders allow you to pre-format and load a series of pre-typed messages to your prospects and customers. You benefit by not having to follow-up with these customers manually each time. Instead, your auto-responder delivers your messages on a timed interval set by you. To your customer, it looks as if you sent out each message yourself. This way, you stay in touch with your customer and not let them forget about you. When they have a need for one your products or services, your business will hopefully come to mind first and they will re-visit your site directly or by clicking a link in one of your emails, as a loyal repeat customer.

Personalize Your Messages for a Warm Feel! (Mail Merge)

Most decent auto-responders have mail-merge capabilities. This is the ability to merge personal information into your emails, like your customer’s first and/or last name or their email address, etc. This personalizes your email messages even further and gives your customer some “warm and fuzzies”. What’s more you set all this up just one time, and any new prospects or customers will get the same message series without you having to lift a finger.

If the sequential auto-responder you’re using has mail-merge capabilities, then it will automatically take that customers name and incorporate it into the email series you have set up. Usually the auto-responder service you’re using will have some sort of tokens set up for this purpose. Look at the example below. Let’s say your customer or prospect’s name is Bob.

Hello, $firstname, - That translates into: Hello, Bob.

You could also do this with a customers email address too, like “$email”. The token would be replaced with the customer’s email: bob@bob.tld Do you see the power of mail-merge?

Use Lead Capture and Subscription Boxes

For instance, you could set up a simple box on your sales or download page that asks the customer for his/her name and email address in return for some free product, or simply just to subscribe to your newsletter. If you set up a page specifically for this purpose this is called a “lead capture page”. The information entered by the customer into your subscription box can be mail merged into the follow-up messages sent by your auto-responder.

Stay In Touch

Keep in contact with your prospects and customers. Set your auto-responder series to deliver your messages over an extended interval. There are several e-books and articles dedicated to this topic; however, if you want the first, most informative and still the king of auto-responder help, get “AutoResponder Magic”. This e-book once sold for about $17, but you should be able to find it free many places on the ‘Net. It has a plethora of information regarding auto-responders, as well as many examples you can build from.

Ettione Stuckey has a passion for ecommerce and Internet Marketing. He is an accomplished webmaster, who runs several ecommerce websites. He understands the science and application of ecommerce technology and concepts. Benefit from his efforts at http://www.prowebware.com/

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