Keeping Up With Clients, Affiliates, and Prospects

Jim Luff
Posted on May 7, 2019
Are you keeping up with everyone you need to?

Are you keeping up with everyone you need to?

What Is An Email Marketing Platform?

You have likely heard of and received emails from marketing platforms such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or Active Campaign. Overall, these systems allow you to create lists of different contacts such as affiliates, existing clients, prospective clients, or campaign specific targets such as fellow operators you met at the recent International LCT Show in Las Vegas. You likely returned home from the Show with a stack of business cards. Now, it’s time to develop those contacts into meaningful relationships.

Setting Up An Email Marketing Platform

Armed with the business cards of new found friends, the first step in setting up a “reach-out” campaign is to load the data. This one-time process includes manually keying in the data from each card: Company name, individual, email address, street address, and phone numbers. You can also create “tags” that indicate a particular market area an operator serves so you can quickly search your database for an operator in that area. You can also create tags such as “wine tours,” “concerts,” or other interests of retail clients who can help you target specific campaigns to those most likely to appreciate it. Most platforms are flexible in how much searchable data you can categorize to allow specific matches to your marketing needs.

Using Targeted Lists

You can create multiple contact lists so each campaign reaches specific people on specific lists. For example, you might create a list called “ILCT 2019” and enter the cards of all the people you met at the Show. These same people could also be added to another list called “Affiliates.” Once a contact is entered to your master database, you may add them to as many lists as you like. Other lists might include “Existing Clients, Prospective Clients, Corporate Clients, and Charity Event Clients.” By creating these specific lists, you can create campaigns that address the specific communication needs of a particular group. You may also send emails to every single contact in your database. If a person appears on multiple lists, they will receive only one email.

What Is A Campaign?

A campaign is your specific message in one or more emails. For instance, you can create campaigns specific to those you met at the LCT Show. The first email would be a personalized message thanking the person for their time and providing your contact information. You can schedule a follow-up email to go out 90-days later to remind them of your meeting and engage them in conversation with questions such as, “Have you put any of the information you learned at ILCT to use? You can send messages only to clients who have previously booked wine tours with you or announced a special for an upcoming concert to those who have booked vehicles for a concert in the past.

Product Price Comparisons

The old adage, “You get what you pay for” doesn’t apply in the arena of free email platforms. While several are free, the quality of the product isn’t diminished. They are liberal in sharing their branding logos on your emails and may also include advertising for other companies when using free versions.

Constant Contact                 $45/month     Up to 2500 Contacts

Mail Chimp                            $0/month       Up to 2000 Contacts

Benchmark                           $0/month       Up to 2000 Contacts

Active Campaign                 $49/month     Up to 2500 Contacts

Product Feature Highlights

Constant Contact

  • Unlimited monthly email promotions
  • Easy-to-use templates
  • Full suite of stock art
  • Create action buttons such as RSVP, Click Here for a Quote, etc.
  • Robust reports integrated into Microsoft Excel
  • Integrates easily with social media buttons to get people to join your database

Mail Chimp                          

  • Free plan includes automated responses to replies
  • Up to 12,000 emails free per month
  • Very flexible editor and template designs
  • Detailed reports and analysis such as opened emails, clicked and social media shares


  • Great editor allows building of custom templates
  • Fresh-looking stock templates are great for monthly newsletters
  • Emails can be sent in nine languages
  • Generous free plan with up to 2,000 contacts

Active Campaign               

  • Rated the best email marketing service in many comparisons
  • Extremely good for monthly newsletters
  • Automated campaign response tool such as if/then/else logic
  • Capable of creating complex instruction chains and automated sales funnels

Spot Tips: Steps to Managing a Campaign

#1 – Load your contact data: This can be done one at a time or loading an entire spreadsheet at once

#2 – Create your campaign message, verbiage, artwork, links and landing pages: You can create a link such as, “Click here for more information” which takes your recipient to a page to complete a lead card for follow-up.

#3 – Load your campaign contents into the email marketing platform: Upload photos, enter your text, links and logos

#4 – Choose your lists of who will receive the email campaign: Choose one list or all lists to control who will have this campaign delivered

#5 – Schedule deployments dates: You can send an email one time or multiple times. You control the date and even the time it will be deployed. You can create multiple emails conveying the same message set to be deployed on different dates automatically.

#6 – Analyze your data: Reports tell you who opened your emails and who didn’t as well as who unsubscribed from future emails and who reported you for spam. This allows you to tweak your future mailings based on who is most interested.

Great Ideas provides a broad range of information focused on new ideas and approaches in management, human resources, customer service, marketing, networking and technology. Have something to share or would like covered? Contact LCT contributing editor and California operator Jim Luff at [email protected]

Related Topics: Jim Luff, marketing/promotions, Sales & Marketing, web marketing

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Vicki Shafer, executive director of operations for Shafer's Tour & Charter

She’s Stepping In And Taking Charge

eNews Exclusive: Operator Vicki Shafer has been through a lot but never shied away from taking on a leadership role in her company and the industry.