Picture a really great small town pharmacy.* The people behind this pharmacy have a strong sense of ethics, are deeply involved in the community, and go to great lengths to be that special kind of business that matters to people’s lives. Their email newsletter, on the other hand, looks like a grocery store ad, packed with little boxes and graphics and mostly ads for products. In other words, it is useless, and it doesn’t match the pharmacy’s ethics.
*Based on a real business case I read about online. No, not the business in the photo.
- Eliminate all boxes, ads and clutter.
- Make it look like a personal email from the pharmacist to a valued customer.
- Tell one story only per issue, and send one email per week.
- Community involvement: talk about what the business is doing to help support the community and explain the reason behind it. You’re in a small town. Community matters.
- Strong ethics: choose one decision or ethical principle that matters to the business and explain why it matters. No need to reveal any personal info, just explain why things matter.
- People: introduce each person who works at the pharmacy. Tell what they care about and like to do in off hours. Why do they choose to work here? Getting to know people is especially important in small communities.
- Be useful: explain something useful pharmacists know that most people don’t, like when to throw away old medicines, where to dispose of them safely (which can be an issue in small towns), or what kind of questions you should ask when you pick up a prescription. Plenty of ideas that don’t involve offering actual medical advice.
- Change voices but keep the style: allow other key staff people to take over one week and tell a story from their part of the business, but don’t ever abandon the personal style.
If your business has a crowded, cluttered mess you’re sending as email marketing to customers, do me a favor and test this more personal approach in your business for a full three months.
More email marketing basics:
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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.