Commentary

SMBs Shun CRMs: They Don't Use Them With Email Marketing

Small businesses are sabotaging their own email marketing. 

Of those that use the channel, 64% fail to employ CRMs like HubSpot or Salesforce or other automation tools, according to Scope of Digital Marketing: 2021 Small Business Trends, a study by Visual Objects. 

That means they must handle email manually. 

Why this failure to utilize CRM? Some feel that integrating a CRM system — and getting the staff acclimated to it —  takes up too many resources. But that’s shortsighted, the study says.  

“Conducting email marketing without a CRM is a mistake, plain and simple,” says Tina Fleming, brand strategist at digital marketing agency Designzillas, as quoted in the study. “You are leaving money on the table if you're not using a real CRM.”

Fleming argues that CRM systems can simplify processes.  

And the study contends that businesses using CRMs gain: 

  • Knowledge of customers
  • Enhanced segmentation
  • Faster communication
  • Improved data protection and privacy. 

Not that email is the first thing on anyone’s mind, anyway.

Only 34% of the respondents use email, a poor showing, given that 91% overall are investing in some form of digital marketing. In contrast, 51% have company websites and 49% utilize social media.  

Email does beat paid online advertising (33%), video marketing (22%) and SEO (13%). 

In other findings, the study finds that 19% will decrease their video spending this year.

The reason? Production expenses and the difficulty of remote coordination and lack of in-house resources.  

SEO is another loser this year — only 10% will increase their spend. The reason is that small businesses “are not encouraged enough by their current SEO performance to increase related spending in 2021,” the study states. 

In a slightly contradictory finding, the study states that 73% believe social media is one of their most successful marketing channels. Yet, as noted, less than half say they use social media. 

Visual Objects surveyed 500 small business owners and managers in December 2020.

 

 

 

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