In the non-stop digital world of today, engagement is the most important thing when it comes to attracting new customers and building loyalty and retention with your existing customer base. One of the surest ways to improve reach is by using an email marketing service like Constant Contact or MailChimp (perhaps two of the most popular services out there right now).

Newsletters and email marketing go hand-in-hand; they remain one of the most proficient means of reconnecting with customers and enticing new ones. Newsletter sign-up forms are also great lead filters for any online service, and help you build a solid database of recipients that you can remarket to in the future. But without the right Constant Contact or MailChimp CRM software in place, you may be wasting your time and efforts, and here’s why.

No. 1: The Customer Journey

The customer journey begins with a product search… and through navigation, ads and exposure, they can land at your online store. Whether they came from a search engine, PPC or social referral is something that you’ll want to know. You will also want to be able to tag each customer and learn the seasonality of their purchasing habits, shipping preferences and returns patterns. The right CRM integrates directly into email marketing services—so you can know what to market, to what group of customers and how/when to maximize ROI.

No. 2: Integrating Results

Integrating results is only possible with a cross-channel CRM. A variety of solutions now exist that can tether to your other services, marketplace accounts and shopping cart provider, acting as an umbrella that houses your primary integrations. With this kind of multiple application handshake, you’ll be able to gather data and orders, generate customer profiles, create actionable mailing lists and even manage shipping and returns from one cloud-based SaaS.

No. 3: Tracking Seasonality

The hardest part of running any ecommerce business is knowing what you should be marketing, when and to whom. With the right ecommerce CRM in place, however, you won’t have to guess any longer. Instead, you can forecast shipping cost, eradicate customers who are serial returners from your mailing list and market the right products to the right customers at the price and time—so your sales improve, returns decrease and customer loyalty goes up.

No. 4: Better Results

Marketing is a give and get situation; the more you put into it, the more that comes back out. While it’s always easiest to grab the low hanging fruit first, never overlook the power of today’s software solutions to help you eradicate busywork, reduce errors and help you improve sales. CRM is all about building relationships, as are email marketing software and services. Combining these two powerful tools will deliver measurable increases in results; which means that your marketing dollars are driving more sales back to your online store.