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The Value of Email Goes Beyond "Marketing"

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
08 July 2009

Email is a marketer's dream channel, as you well know, but when done correctly, it can work wonders throughout your organization, too. However, few outside the marketing department understand this or know how to leverage email for maximum benefit.

As your company's email guru, you should look for opportunities where you can put your know-how to work, helping a department improve its efforts or begin using email to achieve its goals or solve problems. Offer your email team's expertise on technical and best-practice matters such as design, content and deliverability.

Spend some time with other department heads, finding out their pain points, learning what they hope to achieve and devising ways to incorporate your email resources into the process.

Example: Email Supports Customer Services

Email can help trim costs without sacrificing customer contact by driving subscribers to automated services and online customer support. One of our clients has calculated that outbound email costs 1/60th of an outbound call from a call center.

A few other suggestions:

  • Promote surveys via email to measure customer satisfaction and use of products and services.
  • Use newsletters to educate customers on how to use specific features, with links to user forums and social-media channels where users can post questions and advice.
  • Send a "getting started" email series after opt-in, with links to a welcome kit and FAQs.
  • Send payment reminders with links to Web-based payment centers.

In my latest Email Insider column, "Are You Using Email To Help Other Departments Achieve Their Goals?" I outline ways email can drive value and help achieve goals for finance, human resources, MIS/IT, sales, product development and merchandising programs run outside the marketing department.

Your goal is to help people rethink email's place in your organization, as not just a revenue generator, for example, but also a key driver of employee education, customer retention, cost reduction, and other corporate and departmental initiatives.

By helping other departments see the benefits email can bring them, you build respect for your own email program, which can manifest itself at budget time.

My suggestions above are just a few examples where email can play a greater role in your company. If you have any great examples of how your company or clients have used email beyond the standard marketing initiatives, please share them in the comments area.


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