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?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.