E-Mail Management

Ian Wayne Comments
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The movement of e-mail to center stage as a business-communication medium has made it critical for companies to systematically manage their incoming and outgoing messages. They need to know who is trying to reach them and why, and which potential customers they are effectively contacting. They must also adequately respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Finally, they need to store data for market analysis and compliance with state and federal laws. This article looks at the three main components of e-mail management: marketing, response and archiving.

E-Mail Marketing

This is the most visible branch of e-mail management. A well-designed and executed e-mail campaign combines the mass reach of a print medium with the personalization of a phone conversation—a killer mix marketers can’t afford to miss. Unfortunately, e-mail marketing has fallen under a bit of a dark cloud due to the proliferation of unsolicited mail, or spam; and companies have been quick to realize one annoyed recipient can do as much damage to their good name as a customer who is dissatisfied with their product.

An unabated increase in unwelcome e-mail prompted the federal and state governments to pass anti-spam laws. To safeguard their subscribers, Internet-service providers began to blacklist the IP numbers of spam generators. To ensure their marketing reached the target audience and complied with spam laws, some companies have opted to hire e-mail management agencies to assist with their initiatives.Response Management

You can’t afford to neglect your inbound messages, whether they’re complementary or critical. Customer-relationship management has evolved as one of the most significant marketing initiatives—retention is often more vital to a company than the act of acquiring new business. The right e-mail response—in the right amount of time—creates a good impression and can be the foundation of a long-term relationship. Studies show people communicate more openly through e-mail than they would during a phone conversation.

E-mail messages can be classified into several segments that give rich insight to senders’ mindset, which is valuable marketing information. For this reason, companies need an e-mail management system that analyzes all incoming mail and routes it to the accurate department for rapid reply or generates the appropriate automated response. This saves time and money by preserving employees’ valuable resources.

Archiving

Archiving, or e-mail storage, is a natural extension of filing messages per category for later use. With e-mail serving as a primary form of business communication, message volumes have skyrocketed. Furthermore, various compliance acts have made it mandatory to store data and maintain confidentiality and security for a stipulated period.

Fortunately, technology has made it possible to store and retrieve messages based on specific parameters such as age, income, gender, geographic location, desired product and source of information. This helps marketers measure their market and gauge the efficacy of advertising mediums.

These days, companies cannot afford to ignore the importance of e-mail to their marketing and communication efforts. Make the most of this medium to promote your business and sustain relationships with customers. It’s equally important to archive your messages for the purposes of legal compliance and market analysis. If you don’t have the resources to handle e-mail marketing, response and storage, consider the assistance of external management agency with expertise in this field.

Ian Wayne is part of EchoMail, which specializes in e-mail marketing, customer care, business intelligence, lead management, data warehousing and e-billing solutions. The company had a dramatic entry to the world of e-mail management in 1994 when its founder, V.A. Shiva, won a contest conducted by the Clinton Administration, the purpose of which was to find a way to analyze and respond to the huge volume of e-mail received by the White House. Shiva, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was also a winner of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search Award for inventing one of the earliest e-mail systems. Forrester Research rates the company’s business-intelligence software as the best for achieving an unsurpassed accuracy of 98 percent in e-mail analysis. EchoMail serves a wide range of customers in diverse industries. Its team of nearly 150 employees works on three continents, conducting business in more than 10 currencies and 20 languages. For more information, e-mail ian.wayne@echomail.com; visit www.echomail.com.

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