In my last article, we went over the basics of crafting an engaging and meaningful email.

But now you might be wondering, how do I stay on task? Remember whom I talked to and where? Create powerful pathways of communication? Connect on a deeper level?

2018 Jacqueline StoneRecovering jewelry designer Jacqueline Stone is CEO of her own marketing consulting and coaching business, Bubblegum and Duct Tape.No need to fret; welcome to the helpful world of CRM, or customer relationship management.

Because digital communication is our medium these days, staying in constant contact is a requirement, not a luxury. Think about what happens when you don’t return a text from your significant other within minutes. Suddenly, they are concerned!

With the need for speed, CRM is a business owner’s best friend. It helps us organize various ways of communication, most importantly our most powerful marketing tool—email.

I strongly encourage you to find an email marketing platform that feels creative and fun. If marketing feels like a chore, then that is probably going to come across somewhere in your copy.

While there are literally dozens of CRM systems, I thought I’d had experience or done research on almost all of them, until recently. One of my clients, Dubin’s Fine Jewelry, uses a service called SnapRetail, which gives a whole new meaning to plug and play.

Dubin’s said: “SnapRetail easily integrates with our POS (point-of-sale) system, The Edge. I love the ease of use and the functionality of the program. It allows me to automate anniversary reminder emails to my customers encouraging them to come in for a special gift. They’re not only grateful to hear from me, but thankful that the important date has been brought to their attention. Even in today’s digital age not everyone is great at marking recurring events in their calendar!”

Here are some of the other systems I’ve had experience with over the years.

For Small Lists (1,000-5,000 Contacts)
If you have a small list there are tons of effective and relatively inexpensive email systems for you to choose from. Find the interface that best suits your fancy.

For example, one of my clients is a diehard Mailchimp fan because of the bright yellow, easy-read dashboard. Another loves Constant Contact as she finds the email layout easy to navigate.

“Mailchimp provided a way for me to organize myself and my huge stacks of business cards,” said Karen Boelts of Little Bridget Jewelry. “It gave meaning and purpose to the connections I had made at various trade shows and networking events. It gives me an easy and straightforward way of staying in touch.”

Others to consider are Mad Mimi, MPZ Mail and Emma.

Large Lists (5,000+ Contacts)
One of my clients runs an EMS (emergency medical services) school on the East Coast and has an enormous contact list of engaged and active students as well as alumni.

When you manage thousands of contacts, how is it possible to make each person feel special and cater the emails specifically to their needs?

First, please make sure that you create separate lists in any system using tags.

If you are looking for a more robust interface I like to use Salesforce, Hubspot or Jumplead.

Perhaps you are a coding wizard (or maybe you have one on staff). You might want to give Maximizer or Insightly a go.

These interfaces allow you to send email as if it’s directly coming from you rather than a marketing platform. They require much more due diligence and graphic design on your end, but they are worth it if you have a large list and are looking to save money.

My Favorite All-Around
Hands down, my all-around favorite CRM system is Drip.

While it takes a minute to get acquainted with this powerful ecommerce emailing tool, it’s well worth it. Drip allows you to create funnels of data directly from your website into their network.

For example, do you know who on your contact list is already engaged? You can flag them as a potential wedding band sale.

I’m still playing around with this “new kid on the block,” but here’s one fun fact I’ve learned so far: If your list is large enough, you get a dedicated “Success Manager” to help you with onboarding and email campaigns in a weekly video call. This is worth its weight in gold, as far as I’m concerned.

In Conclusion …
While I’ll probably never get a note hand-written with Mr. Sketch markers (you remember these; they’re the scented ones) in the mail again, I do have some serious appreciation for the gifts that technology has given us.

I’m able to see pictures of friends’ new babies in real time, immediately reach out when I hear of someone’s passing and pause to laugh at the latest ridiculous meme. It’s never been easier to stay in touch with those who matter.

In this age of fast and easy communication, I think the best piece of advice I can offer is to treat your contact lists with care.

The more specialized you become with your lists, the more personal the connection will be. You might have thousands of people to talk to, but when your message comes from the heart and is specific to their needs, a connection is made.

It might be small at first, but eventually you start to build your tribe of die-hard fans who wait eagerly for your note in their inbox as they’ve been saving up to buy one of your beautiful creations, and that 20 percent off you just offered via email seals the deal.

A recovering jewelry designer, Jacqueline Stone has a diverse background in finance, marketing, advertising, product development, fine jewelry manufacturing, design and sourcing. Now she serves as the CEO of her own marketing consulting and coaching business, Bubblegum and Duct Tape. Stone can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.