Email is an important way to build customer relationships. Eighty-five percent of the world is connected via email. And it’s increasingly becoming mobile as more email is read on mobile than desktop. Email opens on mobile have grown almost triple in the past 3 years.
How does this relate to you, the local business owner? Well, with over half of US adults using smartphones, today’s businesses are interacting with their most loyal customers over smartphone enabled platforms, namely email. Jump-starting your customer marketing using email is essential. Follow these three easy steps to create loyal customers:
1) Create an Email List
This should be pretty straight forward – you cannot get in touch with your customers over email without their email addresses. Collect them. There could be, however, an issue – some of your customers may not want to go around handing out their personal contact information, basically inviting you to solicit them with emails. The answer is also quite simple: incentivise. Consumers like savings, offer them a few dollars off their purchase if you can add them to your emailing list. Assure them of a few things:
- They will not receive “blast emails” with promotions
- You will not be emailing them often, and will do so only with events and special sales on items they have shown interest in
- Make them feel comfortable, assure that email addresses will never be shared with anyone else
Attaining your customers’ email addresses should not be a big deal. If a customer is very against giving it to you – let them go. There is a low likelihood that a customer of that nature will become a loyal repeat purchaser in the first place.
2) Send a Welcome Email
A welcome email sets the stage for your digital relationship with customers. These consumers are expecting annoying, generic blast emails – so you write them a short note that is brief, memorable, and personalized. Try this one for size:
Thanks for coming in to Furrylicious this past *Wednesday* – we really appreciate you choosing us as your outlet for *Wholesome Doggy Chow — Ocean Critter Flavor*. We know life gets busy – we just want you to rest easy knowing that we are here for all of your pet needs down the road.
Now, don’t you worry – we will not be emailing you often. When we do, they will more than likely be invitations to one of our in-store events. We invite all our loyal customers to bring in their pets for food tastings. There may be a better fit for your pet’s diet than what you are currently giving them.
Until then, keep an eye out for discounts on *Wholesome Doggy Chow — Ocean Critter Flavor*, we have a feeling it may be going on sale sometime soon!
All the best,
The Furrylicious Team
See? Keep it brief, throw in a personal reference here and there (the items enclosed with ** are personal references), and stand out from your competitors by sounding like a human being. All of us get too many emails that sound pre-written and generic. I think I speak for everyone when I say we want a little spice in our solicitation!
3) Share Monthly Emails
This is where it gets a bit tricky. You cannot inundate your customers with content, or you will annoy them and effectively drive them away from your business. The key is to send out one or two all-encompassing emails per month. These emails should include a nice note, a promotion or two, details on the next event, and something unique – maybe an industry-specific fun fact. These emails should contain exactly what you described in the welcome email, with some added flare here and there.
If you want to go the extra mile with your email marketing, use your mailing list to incentivize referrals. Referrals from high quality customers are extremely valuable – and email is a great platform to find a few more of these coveted new customers every month.
Try and get your loyal customers to bring their referrals in with them. Maybe send out a “bring in a friend who has not found us yet, and you both get 15% off your next purchase!” This is a good method for several reasons; first and most importantly, the new customer gets a chance to see your interaction with your loyal customer – this is a great way to give new customers a preview to what doing business with you will be like if they turn into loyal customers. This is a huge opportunity for you to stand out as a business, just by being friendly and doing things a little bit differently than some of your local competitors. On top of that, you have brought in two customers (the loyal and the new) instead of one, that is good – plain and simple.
Important guidelines for monthly emails:
- Keep text well organized, and lean. Large paragraphs and long sentences scare people away. Use colors, sizing, and photos to make your content pop.
- Use unique and catchy subject lines. This is extremely important – a good subject line will be the difference between someone opening or not opening the email.
Using email to keep in touch with your customers is crucial to standing out in your local market. If you have not been doing it, start now. Start building an email list, drafting a welcome email, and collecting information on your customers’ buying habits. By following this guide, you will maximize your potential for creating a growing list of loyal customers that bring you long term repeat business.