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3 Underrated Marketing Channels to Crush Your CRM Goals

Brands who treat their customers well bring in 5.7 times the revenue than those that don’t. Building a quality relationship with your customers is a complex task, but knowing what channels to use (and how to use them) is a good place to start. 

If you’d like to strengthen your relationship with your customers, then you’ve come to the right place. This post covers the top three underrated channels you should consider. 

SMS: timing and utility are everything

Why you should be using SMS for CRM

You may have most of mobile covered, but what about text? SMS isn’t the most glamorous channel, but it’s definitely one of the most effective. Text can garner open rates of 98% and response rates of 45%, and it’s the ad channel of choice for 75% of consumers. 

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SMS’ advantage is the personal nature of the channel. While text messages have been used for marketing for decades, they’ve retained importance and relevance as your customers use it daily for intimate or casual conversations. SMS has great potential as a tool for building customer loyalty with brands, as customers reaching brands on SMS may feel they’re speaking to a friend, not having a formal conversation over the phone.

How you should be using SMS for CRM

Utility and timing are two keys to successfully using text messaging in your customer relationship-building efforts. 

Text messaging is a double-edged sword. If used responsibly, brands can create a friendly, helpful dialogue with customers. If abused, customers may feel your brand is a nuisance and invading their private channels. That’s why providing value to the customer ought to be the north star of your SMS strategy. 

Sephora, for instance, uses texts for appointment management. Macrobox Meals and Instacart keep you in the loop on deliveries with the channel. USBank shares fraud alerts, and CVS collects surveys via text. In each of these cases, the brands are thinking of text as an extension of their service, instead of another way to deliver a sales pitch. 

But usefulness isn’t the only value CRMers need to keep in mind. Timing is also critical. Think about key moments your customer might want to hear from you — perhaps after they buy, take a specific action, reach a goal, or go quiet. Making contact at key moments like these is critical to fostering loyalty within your audience. 

As you think through these points, remember that few customers probably want a flurry of automatic communications from you. No matter how useful, no one likes a barrage of texts from a brand. 

Key takeaway

Text messaging is a powerful channel, but it needs to be handled with care. Keep utility and timing top of mind as you develop your SMS CRM strategy.

Email: deliver value through personalization 

Why you should be using email for CRM

Email is as effective a way to engage with your customers as ever. With an ROI of 36:1, email delivers for brands that use it skillfully. 

Emails can read as formal or they can feel personal for each recipient. Of course you can’t include details about each customer in every email; personalizing them enough so that the message speaks to their needs, however, could mean the difference between reaching customers and winding up unread. 

How you should be using email for CRM

As we touched on above, personalization is key to building customer relationships through email. Tailored emails can boost the likelihood of a positive response by over 45%. And brands that fail to tailor their messages pay a heavy price. 65% of B2B and 52% of B2C consumers are prone to abandon email lists that treat them like faceless customers.

Personalization starts with doing your homework on your clients. Do you have a clear understanding of their interests, background, and consumer behavior? Have you created lists based on your data and their preferences? By breaking down your audience into defined sub-audiences, you can then design content streams that cater to their interests. 

As you build these out, it’s critical to focus on the usefulness of the content to the customer. It’s easy to allow short-term KPIs to crowd out the overall goal of connecting with your customers. For the CRMer, the goal of an email isn’t just to get them to take a particular action. It’s also to create a genuine sense of trust between client and business. Continually deliver the content your customers want, and you’re taking a big step in that direction. 

Key takeaway

Email is a powerful way of building a connection with your audience if you don’t lose sight of the long-term goal of fostering a relationship. 

Podcasts: think sponsorships

Why you should be using podcasts for CRM

It feels like podcasting has been trending every year for the past decade, and 2021 is no different. The US podcast audience has grown 17% year over year since 2013 and is projected to reach 164 million by 2023. But the channel’s engagement is as impressive as its growth: While 66% of podcast listeners ignore digital ads and 63% ignore TV commercials, 81% pay attention to the ads that play during podcasts. 

How you should be using podcasts for CRM

Like the YouTube community, podcasts are essentially a grassroots channel. The medium rose to prominence in part because of the authentic connection creators have with their audiences. Brands that understand that relationship have the best shot of leveraging the channel. 

Step one is to become an audience member of the podcasts you’re considering. Don’t limit your due diligence to checkboxes on topics covered and audience demographics. Get to know the host(s). Participate—or at least read—the conversations episodes generate on YouTube, Reddit, and other forums. This in-depth research might lead you to sponsor podcasts you might have otherwise overlooked. Blue Apron, for example, advertises on Adam Corolla’s podcast because of the comedian’s genuine enthusiasm for the brand. They understood that authentic endorsement can go a long way towards winning an audience’s allegiance. 

Once you know what podcasts you want to sponsor and understand their community, you’re then in a good position to craft a message that will resonate. Remember, the audience is going to hear your advertisement many times, and you don’t want them to resent you for that. Instead, you want that consistency to create loyalty

The best play can sometimes be to leave it in the hands of the host. After you establish key brand and content guidelines with them, let them work their magic. No one knows the audience like they do, putting them in the best position to deliver your message the right way. 

Key takeaway

Podcasts are a great way of building rapport with your customers, but it’s wise to approach them as a true member of the community.

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