As a local business owner, building an email list is crucial when marketing to current customers. It is much easier (and cheaper) to keep current clients interested than to acquire new ones. Not only will email marketing help retain existing customers, but it can also increase word of mouth – the best form of advertising, as it is free for you! Furthermore, email marketing helps local businesses create and maintain a good relationship with their client base. As you gain more insight into your client base, you will be able to send more effective emails.
The biggest thing to remember when collecting emails is to pinpoint the incentives that will get clients to sign up for your list. Are you going to send them coupons, share tips of the trade, or invite them to events? Consumers want to know what they will “get” from adding themselves to your list, and it is important to make that known during your collection process. If done correctly, this will help you collect more emails. Below you will find a step by step guide for building your email list to help you stay organized and grow your business through email marketing.
Have a Plan
Set goals for your business. How many contacts do you want to add to your list? Where will you store them? How will you use them? Make sure you know exactly why you are collecting emails, and, most importantly, make sure your consumers know too. After you figure out how you will be collecting emails from the list of options below, make a timeline for future marketing efforts.
Collect Emails Through Your Website
You might have invested lots of time and money creating the perfect site, so make sure you use it effectively by giving people a place to put their email.
If you have a WordPress site, there are tutorials on how to add an email address collection plug-in. If you work with a web designer, make sure to ask them to include it on your site. Other self-service website builders often have a plug-in to collect emails on your home page, so make sure to research that to take full advantage.
Get Customer Emails at Checkout/Checkin
The key is consistency and habit.
Having a tablet or laptop on your counter is an easy enough way to collect emails, but collecting them verbally and adding them to your list later works too. Having customers fill out a “new client form” or something to that extent will make the process easy and seamless. If you would like to be more discrete, ask customers if they would like a receipt emailed to them (how green of you!).
Utilize Those Likes!
Using Facebook and other social media platforms is becoming increasingly popular and important to SMBs. Make sure you leverage your social media audience by collecting emails that way as well. You can add a link to your website broadcasting across all platforms that upon signing up, a customer will get exclusive coupons, tips, promos, and/or invitations to events.
Scrape Your Own Accounts
This sounds like a no-brainer, but be sure to weed through your own inbox for contacts you already have. Often times consumers are emailing the business before making a purchase, whether it be with questions or something else. Additionally, a new client may email you after they come in. These people are interacting with your business, so they should definitely be given the opportunity to be kept in the loop on promotions, events, etc.
Building a great list is not something that you do for a month and stop. Set yourself up for success by forming good habits. Make sure you know which of your contacts are most recent, and be sure to continue to collect contacts to keep your list fresh. Building good habits now will only help your business today and in the future. Just think, if you collect 3 extra emails a day, your list will have an extra 1000 local contacts on it each year! As these people refer their friends and family, or even forward your email on, you will see your business grow. Keeping an organized, constantly refreshing email list will not only maintain your client base, but also keep them engaged with your business. This can only mean more sales and a bump to your bottom line.