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Publishing a Newsletter in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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One of the marketing issues I’ve run into in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that of the routine publishing of a newsletter. Sending newsletters to customers and prospects is a common marketing strategy and one that some Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketers have found perplexing. Some of the reasons for this are as follows:

  • In Microsoft Dynamics CRM you must ensure that every subscriber has been properly configured to receive your newsletter. You also have to provide the means for them to “opt out” if they don’t want to receive it. This issue is complicated by the Microsoft Dynamics CRM architecture that requires (with good reason) that accounts, leads, and contacts (the folks you want included in your subscriber list) are distinctly maintained. Therefore, you cannot create just one list of subscribers (marketing list), you possibly need three.
  • Composing a newsletter in Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also be a challenge. The e-mail templates available out-of-the-box in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are configured to be text-only. While quality text-only newsletters are in distribution, many marketers want to use images and complex formatting. Using images from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM is limited to web-based images. Sometimes marketers can become annoyed that they cannot simply drag and drop images inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM, like they do in Outlook or Word, but have to use images already available or published on the Web. The process for using web-based images is simple, getting used to it is the human factor.
  • Also, marketers that have complex formatting requirements must use Microsoft Word or Outlook (or some other compatible tool) for newsletter composition. This means they might need special templates, knowledge of Mail Merge, and should posses some problem-solving skills to overcome any unique issues that arise while composing and distributing their newsletters over a vast range of possible platforms.
  • Once all of the above issues are addressed, attention must be given to tracking subscriber responses to the newsletter. We’ve already published several articles about campaign responses and generating metrics around the marketing process. These are also available by drilling down into the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Center. (Under Areas, select Marketing.) In addition, there are a host of third-party products that could be used to extend functionality in meeting tracking and metric requirements.

I am preparing a new article for Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers that I hope will collect all of the newsletter issues in one place and bring clarity to the detailed process of publishing a business newsletter from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It’s draft title is 4 things to know about managing e-mail newsletters in Microsoft Dynamics CRM OP or Online. Look for it in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Center in the next few weeks, I would appreciate any comments you might have to share with me.

James Matteson

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