From Snail Mail to Email: Smart Local Businesses in Auburn, AL are Using Email to Grow Their Customer Base and Increase Profits.
Snail mail still works for short bursts of information such as political campaigns, and seasonal yard clean up. But for a better marketing strategy you need to build an email list for your business. You may have a number of questions. Where do you get the names to add to your email database? Are you promoting a sale, offering a discount? What is the purpose of your email list?
Email marketing done correctly can produce incredible results, done poorly and incorrectly, it is a waste of time and can be an annoyance to your customers. 50% of shoppers make a purchase because of an email they have received. That is an impressive figure, and a statistic you should pay attention to. If you do not have an email marketing method in place, it is time to jump in and hit send.
I need help with email marketing, why do I want to do this?
Almost 95% of the people online read and send emails. It is one of the most widely used forms of communication in use today. Email marketing done well can be used to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, age or gender. Rather than sending out untargeted emails and ending up in a junk box or worse, listed as spam, you can harvest email addresses directly from your customers. Email is almost instantaneous, and is local and global at the same time.
Here are a few reasons for using email for your local business as a way to communicate with your customers:
Drive customers to your storefront and online business
- If you have an online presence as well as a storefront, you can drive customers to your front door and your cyber door, by letting them know of limited offers, discount coupons, and upcoming sales events.
Sales events and coupons
- You can provide exclusive online offers to your customers when they provide their email address, increasing repeat business. Do you have a flavor or widget of the week you would like to offer? You can send an email offer that is good to the first 500 customers, or an invitation to an exclusive pre-event. One day only offers can be sent the day before, without getting lost in the mail a week in advance.
- Do you want to send newsletters that provide valuable information or helpful hints and tips? Do you have seasonal ideas? For instance, in the HVAC business it may be time for a furnace inspection or cleaning. You could send a reminder to change their filters regularly to keep them running efficiently. Or what types of filters work better than others, and the importance of keeping air ducts clean and clear.
- The more positive interactions you have with your customers, the more loyal they will be to your product or service.
How do I build an email list for my business?
You do not want to send out mass email campaigns to random addresses. It will not matter how terrific your email looks or how fabulous your offer is, if it is classified as spam and ends up in the trash before it gets to your targeted inboxes. You need to gather email addresses specific to your client base.
Everyone likes free or discounted offers. If you give them a promise in exchange for their email address, your potential customers are more likely to sign up and you will get the best email marketing results.
Try some of these tested strategies to gather email addresses for your local business:
Clipboard sign up
- Many companies start gathering addresses at their front counter. With a simple clipboard sign-up sheet, you can offer customers a discount on their next purchase for giving you their email address.
- If a customer refers a friend to your company and they provide you with their email address, you can offer a discount to each of them..
Web site pop-ups
- We have all seen them. You search for a website, and before you can get onto it, you need to give your email address. People do use them.
Web site sign up options with a promise attached
- If someone is visiting your website, they are a potential client. If you offer a discount coupon in exchange for their email address, your customers will sign up.
How does email marketing for local business work, if my business is not nation-wide or global?
Email marketing is perfect for a local business. A small bakery can offer Muffin Monday specials, or Tuesday Tarts, cafe's and restaurants might offer late after-the-game dinner specials. With email, you can reach out to your customers within minutes. No more wondering how the weekend or upcoming holidays will affect your snail mail coupons.
- You could send out specials once a day, once a week or once a month that are offered exclusively online.
Community Event based offers
- Homecoming, Football games, local festivals or art shows, or the change of seasons may create an opportunity to draw business. With an email campaign you not only provide your local patrons with terrific offers, you also display community spirit.
Every local business should be building their customer email database. Growing your business is not only beneficial for you, the business owner, but it is also good for your community. Listen to your customers, what are they saying? Use their conversations for email content ideas. If you hear the same questions every day, send out an informational email about that topic. With clear objectives, and a targeted audience, you can grow your company using email marketing.
Contact Tim Chambliss at Modern Media Consulting in Auburn for ideas, tips and tricks to grow your profits through local email marketing.
Tim Chambliss is a local business advocate and Owner of Modern Media Consulting, LLC, in Auburn, AL. Tim helps local businesses harness the power of local search, social media and online/offline advertising.