This article is published in partnership with Insightly, providing CRM and project management solutions for small business owners.
Many small businesses today, whether online, brick and mortar, selling products or selling services, rely on email marketing to increase sales. Using different methods, such as lead magnets, promotion and giveaway signups and customer loyalty programs, businesses can collect information to grow their list of current and potential customers. These lists of contacts are gold, and should be treated as such. However, many businesses mass market to their entire list, where in reality they should be finding the value in each contact so they can create marketing that has more meaning to the person and a higher probability of conversion to sale. While this may sound cumbersome, and slightly impossible, it is not and can be easily done by using a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system and then segmenting and prioritizing your contacts to increase profits.
All contacts are not created equal, and each certainly didn’t come to you in the same manner or for the same thing. So why would you treat them all the same? Segmenting your contacts allows you to group them according to different metrics based on either how they came to you or behaviors and actions they’ve taken. As an example, you want to market to contacts who have already purchased something from you entirely different from those who haven’t. Or perhaps you want to sell a new product or service just to your female market. Here are some ideas of ways you can segment your list:
- Past Purchases
- Purchase Interests
- Shopping Cart or Form Abandonment
There are endless ways to segment your contacts, but before starting make sure you thoroughly think through exactly what your goals are to ensure you are segmenting properly.
In addition to segmenting your contacts, you should also be working to prioritize them. Your primary focus should be on high margin customers – or those that bring the most value to your business. This may be based on the amount they’ve already purchased from you or their level of loyalty and retention, which will lead to increased future sales. By prioritizing you are ensuring that your strongest marketing efforts are going towards those that will return the greatest ROI.
Use a CRM for Simplified but Powerful Contact Management
Fortunately, technology has made it quite simple for us to better manage contacts and to segment and prioritize them in ways that work for your business. Gone are the days of keeping an Excel workbook, which is not only time-consuming to update and maintain, but cannot allow to slice and dice your contacts like a powerful CRM system can. CRM tools, like those offered by Insightly, provide small businesses the power to take control of their contacts and use them more effectively for marketing and moving through the sales funnel. By integrating with email providers like Gmail and Outlook, you have the ability to see all of your contacts details right in your email platform. Moreover, you can extend your reach socially with Insightly’s social CRM tool, which adds all of your contacts social information and even displays their Twitter content on their contact page as well as their full LinkedIn profile.
Getting Started Segmenting and Prioritizing Your Contacts
There is no doubt that segmenting and prioritizing your contacts will lead to better communications and ultimately more sales and increased profits. Here are some tips for getting started:
- Create a Strategy – Think about your contacts, how they came to you and from where and strategize on how you can segment them for more targeted communications. You may want to start with ‘who’ they are – i.e., leads or prospects, customers, vendors, affiliate partners, etc.
- Create Tags – Once you have an idea of how you want to segment your contacts, create tags in your CRM and apply them to each contact. Once done, you’ll be able to search quickly for each group and then use them to send mass emails, promotions, etc.
- Identify Opportunites and Set Your Priorities – As new contacts and leads come into you, apply lead ratings so you can prioritize by their sales level. Customers who have already bought are most likely to either buy again or refer you to someone else, so apply a higher rating, so you reach out to them first and more often.
By spending a little bit of time thinking about your contacts and strategizing how to segment and prioritize them and then setting up CRM to help manage the process, you will soon be on your way to better communication and interaction, which will ultimately lead to more sales and increased profits for your small business.
This post was created in partnership with Insightly, a simple to use yet powerful CRM system for small business. With integrations to Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp, and major social media sites; great mobile apps for tablets and smartphones; and easy access to a REST API for custom integration, Insightly is the leading small business CRM.