For small town businesses, email is one of the most effective marketing tools available. Customers already like you, right? So they are more likely to open your emails than those from anonymous big brands.
Emma Wilhelm, with Mad Mimi email marketing, presented these tips on building up your list of customer email addresses at the conference of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) last week.
Where to ask
There are a few basic places to collect email addresses from customers who want to choose to opt-in to receive your emails.
- Web forms: the little signup box on your website. The code to make this work is provided by your email marketing service like Mad Mimi or Mail Chimp.
- Facebook: your email service can probably also give you code or an app to put an email signup form on your Facebook Page.
- Transactions: your point of sale system may do this automatically, or it might be something you can add. You can also just ask customers during a transaction if they’d like to sign up for emails.
- In-person: you could use a paper signup list on your counter or on a clipboard at an event, then enter those people into your email provider’s list. Some email providers have an iPad app to collect address in-person in your store or at events.
Sweeten the deal
Now that you have places for people to sign up, you have to tell them what to expect and when.
- Will they get short emails each week? Or a long monthly report?
- Will you be sending them tips? Ideas? Recipes? Coupons?
- Advance notice of special things?
- Funny stories?
Why should they want to sign up? Make sure you explain that (briefly) right there in each place where you offer people the chance to sign up.
To encourage more people to sign up, you can give them some incentives. Popular incentives include:
- Info: special reports, tip sheets, or other compiled information your customers would want to have.
- Coupons: who can resist a special deal?
- How to start a big business in a small town, when the big dream seems out of reach - February 13, 2017
- My trends reports and more guest articles on other sites - January 23, 2017
- Innovative Rural Business Models spread opportunity in small towns - January 9, 2017
- When Google Maps has your small business listed in the wrong place - January 2, 2017
- Don’t wait until retirement to feature your people - December 26, 2016
- Sometimes all you have is the dirt under your feet - December 19, 2016
- Hygge: A cozy small town tourism trend - December 12, 2016
- RuralOmniLocal: Why local businesses resist selling online - November 29, 2016
- Resources for Service Businesses - November 28, 2016
- RuralOmniLocal: Selling virtual products in a bricks-and-mortar store - November 21, 2016