What Are CRM Emails and How To Use Them in Your Marketing Campaigns

What Are CRM Emails and How To Use Them in Your Marketing Campaigns
12 September, 2023 • ... • 548 views
Natalie Voloshchuk
by Natalie Voloshchuk

Personalization is the key to success — but how can you send personalized emails if ESPs alone don’t store enough customer data? And how can you measure the financial efficiency of your marketing efforts? The solution is adding a CRM system to your email marketing routine.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a CRM is, how it can benefit your emails, and how to choose the best email marketing service with a CRM for your business.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to tools that help businesses improve and maintain processes. This includes:

  • Storing and organizing customer data from contact information to behaviors.
  • Ensuring secure access and storage of the said data. 
  • Managing sales and support requests.
  • Collecting information on employees and monitoring their KPIs.
  • Monitoring the financial efficiency of marketing and sales efforts.

Here’s an example of what a CRM system can do — this sales dashboard in Zoho shows a bunch of sales metrics, including forecasting trends using historical data.

Zoho’s sales dashboard showing CRM data
Source: Zoho

It is also useful for small and medium businesses doing account-based marketing. CRM systems help you identify your most convertible leads and execute the perfect strategy with marketing automation. With CRM software, you can:

  • Streamline your business processes
  • Increase your productivity 
  • Grow your revenue
  • Build stronger relationships with your customers 
  • Turn them into loyal advocates for your brand

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses email to nurture leads, connect with existing customers, and build customer loyalty. Emails can come in handy if you want to:

  • Drive traffic to the website, blog, social media pages, or your online store.
  • Generate leads and sales for your business.
  • Inform your customers about your latest products, services, or offers.
  • Build customer loyalty.

There are many types of email marketing campaigns. Depending on your objectives and audience, you can try sending welcome emails, email newsletters, lead nurturing emails, and more.

CRM with email marketing vs. traditional email marketing

If your email marketing software offers a native or integrated CRM system, you can use it for better email personalization and automation. Can you still send personalized messages with an ESP alone? Sort of — but your opportunities are limited. 

The available customer data in your email marketing software mostly depends on which fields you include in the sign-up form. Some forms require an email address alone, others will ask future subscribers for a country of residence, gender, zip code, job position, birth date, and more. The data you collect this way will be stored with your contact list and you can use it for segmented and personalized campaigns. For example, you can send location-based suggestions or birthday emails. 

But do ESPs store any customer data by default? Yes but not much. Let’s take a look at a baseline contact information card in Selzy — it looks like this:

CRM with email marketing vs. traditional email marketing If your email marketing software offers a native or integrated CRM system, you can use it for better email personalization and automation. Can you still send personalized messages with an ESP alone? Sort of — but your opportunities are limited. The available customer data in your email marketing software mostly depends on which fields you include in the sign-up form. Some forms require an email address alone, others will ask future subscribers for a country of residence, gender, zip code, job position, birth date, and more. The data you collect this way will be stored with your contact list and you can use it for segmented and personalized campaigns. For example, you can send location-based suggestions or birthday emails. But do ESPs store any customer data by default? Yes but not much. Let’s take a look at a baseline contact information card in Selzy — it looks like this:

Here’s all the data it contains:

  • Activity and availability. This includes delivered emails, opened emails, clicks, and last activity data.
  • Lists and automation sequences. Which lists does the contact belong to and which automated campaigns they receive?

You can add more data like name, other contacts aside from email, technical data like UTM campaigns, and a lot of personal information — manually. In the case of this contact specifically, it’s not enough data even for adding a name merge tag to a subject line. The thing is, CRM systems have all this basic data too — but they also store:

  • Sales data, such as the stage of the sales funnel, the value of the deal, the probability of closing, the expected closing date, the assigned sales rep, and the sales activities.
  • Account data, such as the name of the organization, the industry, the size, the revenue, the location, the contact person, and the account history.
  • Case data, such as the type of issue, the priority, the status, the resolution time, the assigned agent, and the customer feedback.
  • Activity data, such as the date and time of calls, emails, meetings, tasks, notes, and reminders.
  • Performance data, such as the number of leads generated, the conversion rate, the revenue generated, the customer satisfaction score, and the retention rate.

As a result, if you combine data from ESP with data from CRM, you’ll be able to amp up your personalization using:

  • Sales data — for sending follow-up emails to prospects who are close to buying or have abandoned their carts.
  • Account data — for sending cross-sell or upsell emails to customers who have bought similar or complementary products or services.
  • Case data — for sending satisfaction surveys or testimonial requests to customers who have received customer support.
  • Activity data — for sending reminders or confirmations for calls, meetings, tasks, or events.
  • Performance data — for sending loyalty programs or referral incentives to customers who have high retention or revenue rates.

Benefits of using email marketing with CRM

Using email marketing with CRM can offer you many benefits over using traditional email marketing alone. 

  • A better understanding of your prospects. CRM software helps you personalize your interactions with prospects by collecting and storing more data about them. You can use this data to create detailed profiles of your prospects and understand what they want, like, face, and aim for.
  • Better engagement. You can send personalized emails to your prospects that are better tailored to their needs and interests. Since you have more customer data on your hands, you can use a lot of dynamic content in your emails for more relevant content.
  • Improved sales process. CRM systems help you manage and improve your sales process by assigning leads, tracking interactions, scoring readiness, and moving prospects along the funnel. You can use this information to send targeted emails that match their buyer’s stage and guide them to buy.
  • Improved analytics and reporting. CRM software helps you improve your analytics and reporting by integrating with your email marketing software or platform and giving you more data and insights about your campaigns. You can also use CRM software to track and measure metrics that require data from external sources — for example, revenue per email or conversions. This data helps you evaluate and improve your email marketing strategy.

Factors to consider when choosing marketing software for your business

When choosing a tool that combines CRM and email marketing, consider your business needs, budget, and integrations with the systems you’re already using. You need to keep both the CRM functionality and email marketing in mind. But features are not your only concern — let’s dive into all that and more.

Key CRM features

The first thing to consider is what features you need. Here is the table showing some of the possible business goals, which features will help you achieve them and how.

Main goal CRM feature Why do you need it?
Increase sales revenue
  • Pipeline management
  • Marketing automation
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Monitoring sales pipeline stages
  • Generating leads and sending personalized messages
  • Tracking revenue and optimizing the overall sales strategy
Improve customer satisfaction
  • Customer support
  • Project management
  • Marketing automation
  • Providing effective customer service through various channels 
  • Delivering products and services on time and budget
  • Running feedback surveys
Enhance team collaboration
  • Project management
  • Cloud-based solution
  • Coordinating and communicating with your team members and customers
  • Ensuring ease of access to the platform on any device
Save time and resources
  • Marketing automation
  • Customer support
  • Cloud-based solution
  • Creating automated campaigns to save your time
  • Reducing the support team workload with self-service portals and chatbots
  • Reducing the cost of CRM infrastructure maintenance
Grow and scale your business
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Сloud-based solution
  • Integrations with third-party apps
  • Predicting future trends and outcomes using historical data
  • Scaling the whole CRM system without compromising performance or security
  • Extending the functionality of the platform

Email automation

Email automation saves you time and allows you to run the email sequences that directly respond to users’ actions. For example, you can send an email to say hello when someone joins your email list, or to say thank you when someone buys something from your website.

Email automation can help you save time, connect with your customers, and sell more. It can also help you see how well your emails are working and make them better.

Different apps that have the email marketing feature may offer different email automation options. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Triggered emails. These are emails that are sent automatically based on specific actions or events, such as sign-ups, purchases, birthdays, etc.
  • Drip campaigns. These sequences of emails are sent over a period of time, usually to nurture leads or educate customers. For example, you can send a series of emails that introduce your brand, showcase your products, and offer discounts or incentives.
  • Behavioral emails. These emails are based on the user’s behavior on your website or app, such as browsing history, preferences, interests, etc. For example, you can send personalized product recommendations or content suggestions based on what the user has viewed or clicked on.
  • Transactional emails. These emails are automatically sent to confirm or update the user on a transaction or service request, such as order confirmation, shipping notification, password reset, etc.

Interested in learning more about email marketing and leveling up your email game? Check out our list of the best email marketing resources to educate yourself and grow your business.

Usability

Usability is a measure of how easy and pleasant it is to use a product or a system. For an ESP, usability means that the system allows users to create, send, and manage email campaigns hassle-free. Pay attention to these:

  • Ease of use. The tool should be simple and clear, so you can do what you want without trouble or confusion.
  • Ease of training. The tool should have good help and support, so you can learn how to use it quickly and easily.
  • Reliability and efficiency. The software should have features and tools that help you make your emails better, such as templates, groups, names, numbers, etc. Avoid the apps that are laggy, take forever to load or update, and have frequent delays, glitches, and errors when dealing with big email lists. This is easy to find out by checking reviews on G2, TrustPilot, and other platforms.

Usability is an important factor. For example, you’ll take a lot more time implementing a hard-to-learn tool, and a slow platform will slow down your business.

Tracking and analytics

If you want to use a CRM system for emails, here’s all the data your platform should track:

  • Customer data. This includes personal information about your customers, what they are, what they buy, how they act, and what funnel stage they’re at.
  • Email data. You need all your basic email metrics like opens, clicks, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate.
  • Sales data. Sales data refers to product performance, targets (comparing current sales to long-term goals), sales growth, and more.

Third-party integrations

The third thing to consider is integration with other platforms and tools. You want to find an app that can seamlessly connect with them, enhancing your CRM and email marketing capabilities. For example, some of the useful integrations include:

  • Social media. You can use social media integrations to collect leads from social media platforms or track mentions of your brand.
  • E-commerce. You can use e-commerce integrations to sync your customer data, send order confirmation or shipping notification emails, or offer discounts or coupons via email.
  • Accounting. You can use accounting integrations to sync your sales data, send invoice or payment reminder emails, or track revenue per email.
  • Analytics. You can use analytics integrations to track the sources of your leads, the behavior of your website visitors, or the impact of your email campaigns on website metrics.

Look for third-party integrations that are easy to set up, compatible with your software versions, and secure with data encryption.

Security and compliance

Security and compliance are other important points to consider when choosing software. You need a tool that can keep your and your customer’s data safe. It also needs to be able to ensure compliance with the rules that apply to your business, such as GDPR or CCPA. 

Here are some security features to pay attention to: 

  • Data encryption. Scramble your data so that only you or authorized people can see it. 
  • Data backup. Save your data regularly so that you can get it back if something goes wrong.
  • Data recovery. Restore your data if it gets lost or damaged, such as by mistake, failure, or attack. 
  • Data deletion. Erase your data forever, either when asked or after some time so that you can respect your customers’ privacy and follow the data laws.
  • Data security audit. Check your data security, such as by looking for problems, leaks, or events, so that you can find and fix any issues or risks. 
  • Data security certification. Prove your data security by getting certificates from trusted organizations, such as ISO 27001 or SOC 2.

Pricing and plans

The average price of the platform that combines CRM and email marketing is $23/month per user — and depending on the tool, the tiers can reach up to $400 and more. Some providers also offer a free plan or a free trial between 14 and 30 days, but such free options usually have limitations and restrictions — lower email sending limits, fewer landing pages, fewer automation capabilities, etc.

The best option is the software that has:

  • A free account or a free 14-day or 30-day trial. 
  • Multiple subscription plans so you can upgrade when your business grows.
  • Monthly payment options or customizable pay-as-you-go plans. It would be quite inconvenient to get locked into the annual payment model, so only consider it after you thoroughly test the software and are sure you need it. 

Customer support

You need a provider that can help you whenever you have a problem or a question. The ideal situation is multi-channel customer support available by phone, chat, or email. You can get an idea about a tool’s customer support by checking out the reviews on websites like Capterra or G2.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How long is the response time — a few hours, a day, or more?
  • Is customer support available 24/7?
  • Do free and lower-priced plans include customer support?
  • Is the same level of customer support available to everyone or is there a priority/more channels available for premium users? Consider if you need support features only available on more expensive plans or have to pay for them separately.

Best email marketing service with CRM

We made a list of five email marketing solutions that have an in-built CRM or support integrations with CRM platforms. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Selzy

Selzy is an email marketing platform that integrates with a number of great CRMs
Source: Selzy

Selzy is an email marketing platform with 24/7 support, automation, segmentation, templates, and analytics.

Key features:

  • Email builder with templates: Create professional messages quickly by choosing from 100+ expertly crafted templates for various occasions.
  • Email marketing automation: Choose from 12+ templates or create your customer journey.
  • Segmentation: Target emails based on criteria like location, behavior, and purchase history.
  • Analytics: Track performance with metrics like open rate, click rate, bounce rate, etc.

Advantages:

  • Generous free plan: 15,000 emails per month to a list of up to 1,000 contacts — sign up to test the waters.
  • Transparent pricing: Pay as you go or build your plan. Send unlimited emails to 1,000 contacts for $7 or $0.005 per email.
  • High deliverability: Avoid spam filters with deliverability suggestions, dedicated IPs, and an easy-to-set authentication.
  • User-friendly interface with fast, responsive support.

Disadvantages:

  • No native CRM but offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Zoho, Zendesk, Pipedrive, and Kommo.
  • No native mobile app or desktop app.

Pricing:

  • Pay as you go: $0.005 per email, no monthly fee or commitment.
  • Paid subscriptions start from $7/month, depending on the number of contacts, the number of emails, unique and advanced features, and the final scope of work of the company’s experts.

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue)

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is a versatile marketing platform offering email, CRM suite, and more
Source: Brevo

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is a versatile marketing automation platform offering email, SMS, chat, and more. 

Key features:

  • Marketing automation
  • CRM suite
  • Sales tools
  • Transactional emails 
  • Live chat

Advantages:

  • Free plan for up to 300 emails/day and unlimited contacts.
  • Pricing is based on monthly emails sent, with four plans ranging from $25 to $173/month.
  • User-friendly interface with responsive support and helpful resources.
  • Integrates with 150+ leading digital tools via Zapier or API.

Disadvantages:

  • No SMS marketing on the free plan and cheaper plans; requires an upgrade or extra payment.
  • No native mobile app, accessible only via web browsers.
  • Some limitations in advanced features compared to competitors.

Pricing:

  • Pay as you go: Buy email credits from $40 for 10,000 emails or SMS credits from $7 for 100 SMS.
  • Choose a monthly plan: Lite ($25 for 10,000 emails), Premium ($65 for 20,000 emails), Enterprise (custom pricing for 100,000+ emails), or Micro (custom pricing for <10,000 emails).

You can also try it for free with up to 300 emails per day and unlimited contacts.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign offers email marketing, automation, CRM tools, and more
Source: ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign offers email marketing, automation, and CRM tools for excellent customer experiences. It includes transactional email, forms, tracking, segmentation, and dynamic content.

Key features:

  • Email marketing: Create engaging emails with drag-and-drop editors, templates, personalization, A/B testing, and analytics.
  • Marketing automation: Automate customer journeys with powerful workflows and integrations.
  • CRM: Manage contacts, accounts, deals, and tasks.

Advantages:

  • Four pricing plans based on contacts and features (Lite, Plus, Professional, Enterprise).
  • User-friendly interface with responsive support and a rich knowledge base.
  • Over 900 integrations with apps like Shopify, WordPress, Zapier, etc.

Disadvantages:

  • No native SMS marketing, but can integrate with Twilio or Plivo.
  • No native mobile app, but it’s accessible via web browsers on any device.

Pricing:

  • Lite: Starts at $9/month for 500 contacts with email marketing, automation, forms, chat, and email support.
  • Plus: Starts at $49/month for 500 contacts, includes Lite features plus CRM, landing pages, lead scoring, SMS marketing (via integration), and phone support.
  • Professional: Starts at $129/month for 500 contacts, includes Plus features plus site messaging, attribution reporting, in-app messaging support, etc.
  • Enterprise: Starts at $229/month for 500 contacts, includes Professional features plus custom domain hosting, dedicated account rep, free design services (via integration), phone support (priority), etc.

You can also try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days with no credit card required.

Keap

Keap is a comprehensive platform with email marketing, CRM, and more
Source: Keap

Keap is a comprehensive platform with email marketing, automation, and CRM. It also offers forms, tracking, segmentation, and dynamic content.

Key features:

  • Email marketing: Create engaging emails with templates, drag-and-drop editors, and personalization. Test and optimize with analytics and A/B testing.
  • Marketing automation: Automate customer journeys with powerful workflows, triggers, and integrations.
  • CRM: Manage contacts, leads, opportunities, and tasks.

Advantages:

  • Pricing based on contacts and features: Lite ($79), Pro ($149), and Max ($199) for 500 contacts.
  • User-friendly interface with responsive support and a rich knowledge base.
  • Integrates with 200+ apps, including Shopify, WordPress, Zapier, etc.

Disadvantages:

  • No native SMS marketing, but can integrate with Twilio or Plivo.
  • No native mobile app, but it’s possible to access via a web browser on any device.

Pricing:

  • Pro: Starts at $159/month billed yearly for 1500 contacts and 2 users, includes CRM, sales and email marketing tools, invoices and payments, landing pages, a 3-month trial of text marketing, and a dedicated phone line for the US and Canada
  • Max: Starts at $229/month billed yearly for 2500 contacts and 3 users, includes Pro features + lead scoring and source attribution, multi-page landing pages, upsells, discounts, promo codes, advanced reporting, and text marketing
  • Max Classic: Custom pricing for established businesses

You can also try Keap for free for 14 days with no credit card required.

HubSpot

HubSpot has a sales CRM platform with powerful email marketing features
Source: HubSpot

HubSpot is a CRM platform with all the software, integrations, and one of the you’ll need to connect marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. These exist as independent modules so you can only use the ones you actually need.

Key features:

  • Email marketing: Create engaging emails with drag-and-drop editors, templates, and personalization. Test and optimize with analytics and A/B testing.
  • Marketing automation: Automate sales engagement, lead scoring, and customer journey with workflows and integrations.
  • CRM: Manage contacts, deals, tasks, and activities.

Advantages:

  • Flexible pricing based on contacts and features: 
  • User-friendly interface with responsive support and a rich knowledge base.
  • Integrates with 500+ apps, including Shopify, WordPress, Zapier, etc.

Disadvantages:

  • No native SMS marketing, but can integrate with Twilio or Plivo.
  • No native mobile app, access via web browser on any device.
  • Some limitations in advanced features and customization compared to competitors.

Pricing:

  • Starter: Starts at $20/month billed yearly for 1,000 contacts, includes email marketing (up to 5x contact tier), marketing automation (up to 2x contact tier), unlimited CRM, forms & landing pages, live chat, etc.
  • Professional: Starts at $1,600/month for 2,000 contacts, includes Starter features plus unlimited sales pipeline automation, recurring payments & invoicing, smart forms & reports, and priority phone support.
  • Enterprise: Starts at $5,000/month for 10,000 contacts, includes Professional features plus custom domain hosting & branding removals, unlimited advanced automation & reporting dashboards, and dedicated account rep.
  • Custom: Offers custom pricing for custom needs, including Enterprise features and additional requirements.

You can also try HubSpot for free for 14 days with no credit card required.

Folk

Folk CRM

Folk is a comprehensive CRM solution that brings together all of an organization’s critical relationships in one place. It allows you to centralize and customize workflows, encompassing various aspects such as Sales CRM, recruitment pipeline, deal flow management, prospecting management and more.

Key features:

  • Pipeline management

  • Bulk email campaigns

  • Integrations

  • Chrome extension

  • AI & enrichment

Advantages:

  • All-in-one CRM to manage all companies’ relationships
  • Easy to use and easy to get started
  • Low price

Disadvantages:

  • No mobile app
  • No reporting

Pricing:

  • Free plan includes 200 contacts and 50+ templates.
  • Paid subscriptions start from $18 per month (paid annually) with a Standard plan that includes unlimited contacts, bulk emailing and AI integration.

Conclusion

Email marketing is a powerful way to reach and engage your prospects and customers. Integrating CRM and email marketing allows you to create a seamless and effective marketing strategy that boosts your conversions and revenue.

When choosing the software for your business, here are the questions to ask yourself: 

  • Key features your business needs: Which features would be vital for your business and executing your marketing strategy?
  • The tool’s usability: How easy is the onboarding and how reliable is the tool? 
  • Available integrations: Is there an easy way to connect with third-party apps? 
  • Analytics: How detailed is its tracking and reporting on email, sales, and customer data? 
  • The tool’s customer support: How fast and how helpful are they, is there a self-help knowledge base?
  • Cost: Is there a pricing plan to start small and then scale as your business grows? 
12 September, 2023
Article by
Natalie Voloshchuk
Natalie is a content writer and blog writer that specializes in SEO and on-page optimization. Her specialty is marketing and sustainability niches, with years of actual hands-on experience in the roles like digital marketer generalist, webmaster and Facebook advertiser. Outside and in the course of work, Natalie remains an animal lover and a human-nature coexistence enthusiast.
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