(A heads up: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission.)
What is a CRM?
Email Marketing Service Providers and Compliance
If you are already engaging in email marketing, then you already have a list of some sort. If you’re like the solopreneurs who attended my email marketing presentation and are currently manually collecting names in an excel file and sending out email messages, I encourage you to streamline the process by using an email marketing service provider. It doesn’t have to be a CRM. Using an email marketing service like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Emma, etc. is a step in the right direction.
The reason you need to use an email service provider is because you risk being identified as a spammer if you are sending marketing emails to a large list through Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, or whatever email provider you use in day-to-day business. The CAN-SPAM Act is the U.S. law that governs the rules and regulations for commercial emails, and it requires you to include a way for recipients to opt-out of your communications among other things. If you do not have that mechanism built into your email and you send an email to a large number of people, your IP address will likely end up on a spam blacklist.
This is a very real concern, and it happened to one of my former colleagues. She was a salesperson and sent a large number of emails through her company Gmail account. Gmail promptly blacklisted her.
With an email service provider, you can put a form on your website and collect sign-ups for your email communications. You can also upload your current list into the email marketing service provider, enabling your audience members to automatically update their preferences when they wish to do so.
Why Use a CRM for Email Marketing
If you use a CRM for your email marketing efforts, you will receive more data and deeper insights into your prospects and customers.
One of the main benefits of using a CRM is the ability to perform prospect scoring. This feature provides insights into which customers are ready to buy, allowing business owners to target their communications more effectively. By targeting the right people at the right time, businesses can increase their sales and revenue.
As your email marketing becomes more sophisticated, a CRM will also allow you to build integrated journeys for your customers and prospects. A customer journey in email marketing refers to the series of stages or touchpoints a subscriber goes through from the moment they first hear about your brand to becoming a loyal paying customer. It typically starts with the opt-in process, followed by a welcome email, nurturing emails to build a relationship, promotional emails to generate interest and sales, and post-purchase follow-up emails to ensure customer retention.
While I don’t want to dive too deep on that topic in this post, I do want you to know that a CRM will enable you to scale your marketing efforts through a wide variety of tactics beyond email marketing. By using your CRM as the hub for all your marketing efforts, you collect robust data that enables you to make better decisions about what is working and what is not working for you. You can also A/B test your marketing efforts to continually improve your return on investment.
Automated Texting through a CRM
Most CRMs have a way for you to send messages via text message to customers. As a Hubspot user myself, I am most familiar with texting through Hubspot, so that is what I am going to cover here.
To text customers through Hubspot, you need an integration. An integration is a separate platform that connects with Hubspot to collect data from all your text message interactions and stores it in your Hubspot account. This data can be used for prospect scoring and automating customer journeys, just as you would with your email marketing.
With Hubspot’s CRM Messaging integration, you can send bulk texts to a large number of customers (assuming they have given you permission to text them). You can also automate the sending of personalized texts based on an action that customer or prospect has taken.
Texting Regulations and Compliance
It’s important to note that when you use text messaging for marketing, there are also regulations that you must adhere to. In the U.S. those regulations are mandated in two Acts: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act.
The most important thing to remember is that you must have permission to send a text message to a contact before you text them. While the CAN-SPAM act makes exceptions for marketing emails (as long as you follow certain rules), you do not have the same leeway with text messaging. TCPA requires you to have written consent from a contact before you text them.