Trade Associations and Lobbyists need CRM

Many small firms and trade associations are using Microsoft Outlook as their primary email communication and list management tool. While Outlook is well suited for sending internal and external messages to small numbers of recipients, it is not the best tool for sending mass emails, newsletters, or invitations to events.

There are many tools that make communication with larger numbers of recipients much easier, reliable, and with less risk of disclosing the names of recipients to each other.

As many firms migrate to hosted email systems, they find that the email host has limited the number of recipients that can be included in a single message. This limit may be 500 or even 1,500 recipients. The reason that the email hosting companies implement these limits is to prevent their systems from being used to send unsolicited marketing messages and blatant spam. While these hosts will offer alternatives and workarounds to reach more recipients, such as distribution lists, it is still not a good idea to send a message to 1,000 recipients using the BCC feature of Outlook. It is far to easy to make a mistake and accidentally CC the recipients. This may lead to negative feelings from your recipients, if their names are disclosed to others.

On the technical side, it is also not a good practice to send mass emails from Outlook. Here are the reasons:

  1. Your computer may slow down or lock up when sending messages to over 500 users. This is especially true if you include a file attachment.
  2. Your server may slow down and inconvenience other users on your network.
  3. Your Internet Server Provider (ISP) may think that your network is being used to relay spam or that it may be infected with a virus which is being spread by your email server.

The best way to send mass emails to members of your trade association or contacts is to use a Customer Relationship Management system or CRM. Hilltop uses a CRM system which is specific to the IT support industry. There are CRM systems which are integrated into Association Management Systems (AMS). If your lobbying firm or trade association does not use an AMS or industry specific system, there are standalone CRM systems such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Microsoft Dynamics.

While these systems make it easier to send messages to large lists of recipients, there are other benefits to consider.

  • Personalization of messages with recipients first and last name
  • The ability to see who opened your message or clicked your links
  • Integration with event calendars
  • Enhanced design options with templates for a more professional appearance
  • The ability to keep multiple contact lists based on areas of interest

If your firm is using Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, or POP email to communicate with your members or contacts you need to contact Hilltop soon. We can help you prevent unnecessary email disasters. We can also help to improve your firms image by implementing a more professional system for communicating with your members and list management.