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How to create a winning CRM strategy

How to create a winning CRM strategy

Research has shown it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one, and increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95% – so looking after and nurturing your existing customers should be a no-brainer. With more and more brands embracing CRM, and fighting for your customers’ attention (and inbox space!), having a strong CRM strategy is more important than ever.

Your value proposition will be made up of three things: which customers you’re looking to serve, which of their needs you’ll meet, and at what price.

Think about all your comms – not just email!

Most people think of CRM as email marketing. Of course email is a popular and important channel, but a great CRM strategy should be based on every possible way of contacting your customers. So that includes push notifications, activity on your website, SMS and phone conversations with Sales or Customer Services. That way you can build a comprehensive contact strategy, and avoid bombarding your customers with too many messages, or trying to sell to them at the wrong time (for example when they have an outstanding Customer Services issue that needs resolving first).

Know your value proposition

Your value proposition will be made up of three things: which customers you’re looking to serve, which of their needs you’ll meet, and at what price. Make sure you’re clear about what this is before you ask people to sign up to your CRM programme, and bear it in mind when planning comms to ensure they’re aligned to it.

Segmentation, relevance and timing

Brands that use CRM well don’t communicate to all of their customers, all of the time. They split their database into different segments based on their value, needs, and demographics. This helps them deliver the right messages to the right customers, at the right time. Meaning they see marketing messages as more helpful and relevant, driving higher engagement rates as well as helping your brand perception.


Your CRM comms need to be personalised – and that doesn’t just mean including the customer’s name! Look at what data you have available, and how it can be used to tailor your customer comms. It could include recent activity on your website (e.g. a travel brand emailing a customer about flights to a destination they searched for earlier that day), sales data (an online retailer selling accessories for a product you know that customer has bought before) or app-based location data (a retailer telling customers about a new store opening along their daily commute). If you don’t have much data available, start thinking about what you need and how it can be collected – including what you’re offering the customer in return.

Try contextual messaging

With automated CRM tools, you can have different offers and comms set up and ready to go, automatically triggered by external events. So a fashion brand can send emails with different clothing depending on the weather in different customers’ locations, or a retailer could tailor its service messages (e.g. order confirmation) to have imagery that reflects the time of year.

Testing and tracking

This shouldn’t be limited to different subject lines – try different offers and product suggestions too. Take a small (but randomised and statistically significant) section of your database as a control group, to compare behaviour and engagement with, so you can see what’s working well and what isn’t. Track all of the behaviour you can (clicks, opens, website visits, transactions etc) – you’ll be amazed at what you can learn about your customers, and if you have enough data to base learnings on, can even build propensity models to predict which customers are most likely to buy different types of products.

Think mobile first

With more and more customers opening emails on their phones, you should consider designing your emails for mobile (link to responsive emails article), and then making the desktop version afterwards – rather than the other way around. At the very least all of your emails should be responsive, and tested across different devices and platforms to make sure they display correctly.

And finally

Probably most importantly of all – protect your customers’ data. With 9 out of 10 customers saying brands that protect their data will win their custom, you can’t afford not to! You should also register with the ICO to show you’re processing data, and it’s worth looking into joining the DMA too as they can help with practical advice around data protection and GDPR.

Want to know more about how CRM can help your brand? Get in touch!