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6/23/2010
12:14 PM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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Infusionsoft Bolsters Next-Gen E-Mail Marketing

If you ask execs at Infusionsoft to name one reason why small-business owners sometimes don't rustle up as much new business as they'd like, you'll probably hear one phrase almost immediately: "There's no follow-through."

If you ask execs at Infusionsoft to name one reason why small-business owners sometimes don't rustle up as much new business as they'd like, you'll probably hear one phrase almost immediately: "There's no follow-through."These entrepreneurs have so much on their plates; it's almost impossible to keep track of every existing client and potential customer.

And it's not just about capturing new business. It's about keeping current customers coming back for more, and doing so without breaking your back -- or the bank.

With its Email Marketing 2.0 solution, Infusionsoft combines multi-modal marketing (e-mail, voice mail, faxes, and direct mail) with CRM and wraps it in an automation engine so that users don't have to keep tabs on every contact and craft personalized messages manually. In a nutshell, the software was designed to help small businesses get organized, convert more leads, earn repeat sales, and automate a fair share of their sales and marketing tasks.

Here's a real-life example. Laura Wrasman, president and publisher of Wedding Guide Chicago, a magazine and website for brides, boosted her subscription renewal rates from 3% to 33%, and she says she owes it to Infusionsoft's marketing application. Before using the software to automate her follow-through, Wrasman would send an e-mail to customers whose subscriptions were up for renewal. Then she would wait. Usually, about 3 out of every 100 customers would respond to her initial contact.

Now Wrasman has set up an automatic renewal campaign in Email Marketing 2.0. Subscribers get an e-mail message saying it's time to renew, and the publisher offers them a discount off the annual rate if they renew by a certain date. The e-mail includes a link to the Wedding Guide media kit. From there, the renewal process is on auto-pilot. Each customer response acts as a trigger for the Infusionsoft solution. Customers who open the media kit get a follow-up e-mail acknowledging that they've expressed continued interest in the magazine by viewing the kit. Customers who don't open the kit get a different e-mail. Wrasman can mix things up by leaving a voice mail or sending a fax, and all of the messages are sent according to the schedule that she creates -- one three days after initial contact, another five days before the promo ends, etc. Today, more than 30 out of 100 customers renew at some point during the automated cycle. "This means that, for one-third of my readers, I don't need to take time to reach out and make the sale all over again," Wrasman says. "It also improves my cash flow."

Some small businesses make the mistake of assuming that any exposure to their brand name is beneficial, so they blanket their customer base (and potential leads) with a canned e-mail. But chances are good that those messages won't even get read, and, if they do, they won't resonate with customers unless they demonstrate an understanding of the client's needs. By tracking customer behavior and preferences, Email Marketing 2.0 allows businesses to send tailored messages, and this is key to connecting with a customer base. "As you grow a company, [unfocused marketing] can actually be damaging," says Tyler Garns, vice president of marketing at Infusionsoft. "Our solution helps to ensure that you're sending the right message to the right people at the right time."

Email Marketing 2.0 is geared at businesses with 1 to 25 employees, and those with fewer than 10 users are in the "sweet spot," according to Garns, who says that Infusionsoft has just unveiled several new features of its software.

-The Email Builder (in beta) is a tool that uses automation and drag-and-drop functionality to help busy business owners craft engaging, appealing e-mail messages on the fly.

-Infusionsoft's "Double Your Sales Success Path" getting-started guide is now built into Email Marketing 2.0. From the company's latest press release: "It's like a marketing-strategy-in-a-box that helps users quickly implement the three key functions of Infusionsoft: email marketing 2.0 broadcasts, follow-up campaigns and automated workflows.

-Outlook and iContact import tools allow users to import contacts from their Outlook address books and iContact e-mail marketing provider lists with the click of a mouse.

-Shopping-cart users can calculate shipping rates automatically with real-time UPS shipping integration.

Interested in trying Infusionsoft's Email Marketing 2.0? The company is now offering a free 15-day trial.


Don't Miss: Helping SMBs Juggle Work And Play


Michele Pepe-Warren was an editor and reporter for CRN and VARBusiness and has 10 years of experience covering the technology channel.

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