3 Ways to Maximize Email Campaign ROI

My career in fashion designing started shortly after completing a course at a reputed institution close to home. I was fortunate to be hired by a renowned boutique, Zhiro, which had stores at two key locations in Delhi. These were frequented by affluent customers from around the globe looking for trendy apparel, though most were resident and non-resident Indians. 

In a few short months, I had impressed my owner, Mr. Singh, with my skills at intuitive cross selling to customers after successfully building rapport with them. He showed his appreciation by allowing me to start designing my own range of ethnic garments for children with his in-house tailors and fabrics.

I worked with the tailors and craftsmen in the basement of Zhiro to create my first batch of garments - ethnic formals. My supervisor knew the best way to maximize sales and generate new customers was to connect with our target groups across India and abroad with photos and details of our latest range of formal wear, rather than wait for customers to visit our store or hear about us from a friend. We decided to run multiple email campaigns every year with Mr. Singh's consent.

Segmenting customers to target each with a relevant campaign
The challenge in running an effective email campaign was to segment customers so that our separate catalogues for Western, Indian and Indo-Western apparel could be sent to specific groups. Also, we needed to identify which customers had children to cut out the cost of printing and mailing our catalogue of the latest children’s clothes to those without kids. Our most reliable source of information was the visitor’s book and some visiting cards for addresses. We added a column to our Excel sheet for customer comments that were voluntarily shared like "looking forward to your ethnic winter collection," "my kids loved the waistcoats," "prices are too high for my budget" and so on. We used these remarks to filter our mailing lists based on customers' interests and preferences.

Over a period of several days we typed customer’s details onto our computer and created 4 mailing lists. Time was running short because the weather was changing and delaying the dispatch of our catalogue would mean our customer’s might shop at a competitor’s boutique and never know about our latest range of clothes.

Around a week after mailing our catalogue, we noticed a larger number of people visiting our stores, many of whom knew exactly what they wanted after browsing through the catalogue we sent them. This allowed me to make sales more quickly with knowledgeable or repeat customers and focus more time on converting window shoppers to first time customers.

Ensuring efficient capture of critical customer information
As our range of clothing changed with the seasons and the volume of customer information which we were pro-actively requesting was progressively increasing, we often spent several hours after closing the stores to create and update Excel sheets. Often before and after the clearance sale twice a year, we spent a couple of hours each day for a week to update or add customer details. I would have looked for a new job after the first year, if I hadn't realized how critical sending these catalogues to the right people was in increasing walk-ins and word-of-mouth advocacy. A larger number of sales by me meant a higher commission and the possibility of a promotion down the line.

One evening when cancelling an outing with a close friend, Nilofer, for the third time in a row because we were preparing to send our Spring Collection catalogue, she mentioned how the Cloud CRM software her organization had implemented was greatly reducing time on capturing customer details and sending information to them like newsletters and responses to queries. "Our CRM software dynamically creates mailing lists using preconfigured filter criteria and also facilitates sending auto-populated personalized messages to all our customers and partners. We also track correspondence from customers and ensure there are no overdue tasks related to anyone, if something is out of place, an alert or escalation is automatically generated” she said. "Also, everyone is accountable and users can make an extra effort to reach-out and track customers through multiple popular channels," Nilofer added, "I work more, but, I'm always home to feed my dog and water the plants on time!"

Maximizing campaign ROI without compromising on customer experience
A few weeks after my discussion with Nilofer, I had convinced Mr. Singh to implement a Cloud CRM software for all the sales and marketing employees after explaining the benefits of a 360 degree customer view, segmentation and demand forecasting. After reviewing several options, we shortlisted a CRM vendor who would implement a bespoke solution for our business needs within 45 days and we wouldn't need to invest in any additional hardware or IT personnel.

A year after the CRM implementation, Zhiro's sales volumes have increased and we have more time to focus on designing clothes and interacting with customers. We have now started emailing customers on a monthly basis and often use a mail blaster when sending the same content to all our customers at specified intervals. The CRM Software incorporates a personal touch to each message using an auto-populated template and also generates a list of undelivered messages for us to follow-up through an alternate channel.

My friend and I often look back and laugh at my days of stretched hours and chaotic work schedules while multi-tasking for sales and marketing at Zhiro. We're glad the CRM software delivered as expected and then some, it cut down overtime for everyone without affecting customer experience and improved our multi-channel campaigns to optimize our competitive advantage.

To know more about Cloud CRM software, visit: www.crmnext.com