Email marketing boasts a 59 percent average return on investment – the highest of all marketing channels, according to Campaign Monitor – and offers unique personalization and targeting that other marketing channels can’t. Indeed, there are lots of reasons to start email marketing, not the least of which being that it’s easy.
Whether your retail business is primarily brick-and-mortar or a blended enterprise with various degrees of online e-commerce capabilities, email marketing campaigns can seriously work for you. A well-thought-out email marketing strategy can send droves of customers, new and old, through your door and/or to your site.
Here’s your guide to making email marketing work for your retail business.
How to Access Customer Email Addresses
First, you need inboxes to send your email marketing campaigns to. So, before you start drawing up your ideas for email marketing strategies, you’ll need to think about how you’ll access your customers’ email addresses in the first place, also known as building a subscriber list.
If you use a high-tech point of sale (POS) system for your business’s check out process, you could opt to send customers’ receipts to their email addresses. Many point of sale systems will allow you to add a promotional email opt-in to this receipt option page, which would mean more customer email addresses for your campaigns.
You could also look into starting a blog for your business. The more posts you have on your business’s website, the more likely you’ll be able to get potential customers onto your site. Consider adding an easy-to-access button in your website’s top navigation bar for customers to sign up for your business’ emails. You could even consider writing up gated content that requires an email to access.
Getting emails will take some time, but getting creative and building up your email list with multiple strategies will speed up the process. Why not ask for business cards for an in-store drawing while also building up your downloadable content online? Of course, your retail niche, business model, and branding will shape how you go about collecting email addresses.
It can be tempting to build your list with email addresses of people who haven’t voluntarily signed up for your outreach, whether you’re pooling lists with other businesses or buying contact information from agencies. Unsubscribe rates are a valuable metric to look at as you start in on your email marketing campaigns, and a list full of involuntary recipients will give you high unsubscribe rates.
So, slow and steady will win the race. Do your best to only accrue email addresses in ways that will mean high retention rates for communicating with customers.
8 Email Marketing Tactics for Brick-and-Mortar Establishments
Once you’ve accumulated a solid list of email addresses, it’s time to brainstorm just what you’ll be sending to get shoppers in through your door.
Brick-and-mortar businesses face a unique challenge with email marketing. Conversion isn’t as simple as clicking a button, as it is for pure online businesses. That said, email marketing can be a valuable tool for encouraging shoppers to make the trip to your business, even if it does involve leaving the home.
Here are some email marketing ideas to help you get customers up, out and into your store:
1 – Exclusive Offers
Email campaigns offering limited-time, exclusive offers for your goods or services can help motivate recipients to get themselves into your retail store before the offer expires. Plus, the promise of exclusive offers will help you get more shoppers to sign up to receive promotional emails in the first place.
2 – Early Access
Early access – whether it be to sales, new products or services, or even a new location – is a solid go-to for email marketing for brick-and-mortar stores. Like exclusive offers, early access for those on your email list not only helps you to attract customers onto your email list in the first place, but will also create urgency for them to get in your door before everyone else has access to whatever deals or products you’re offering.
3 – Special Events
Using your email list as a guest list is also a great way to get shoppers into your store. Of course, sending out event invitations through email will involve planning an event – and the event itself will be the main catalyst for the customer visits. That said, your email address list will offer a go-to group of dedicated customers who deserve an invitation to whatever event you host at your business.
4 – Rewards Programs
You can also make your rewards program totally email-based. Consider making email the channel through which you onboard customers for your brand’s rewards programs, and email them every time they earn a new reward through their purchases. Waiting a bit to email them with their reward notification will make them more likely to come back to your business to claim their reward.
5 – Referral Rewards
You can also manage your referral program through email. Send each of your customers on your email list a specific code that they can forward to friends. If someone visits your store and provides a referral code, send an email notification to the corresponding referrer to notify them that they’ve successfully earned whatever referral reward you offer.
6 – New Offering Notifications
If your business is introducing a new product line or service, you should send out a promotional email that will let your customers know. If a customer is interested in your new offering, you’ll likely see her in your store shortly after.
7 – Low-Stock Alerts
Similarly, you can send out notifications when a certain product is flying off the shelves or when appointments are filling up quickly. Again, these alerts can help create urgency for recipients, and they will likely move them to visit before your popular goods or services become unavailable.
8 – Customer Testimonials
Even emails that won’t necessarily create urgency will still help your business get its name in front of customers. Sending along content that isn’t necessarily promotional – like customer testimonials, for instance – will remind customers of your brand and will make your business more top-of-mind for their next purchasing decision.
Brick-and-Mortar Business Email Marketing: The Bottom Line
Email marketing for brick-and-mortar businesses isn’t always a simple equation. Because location, mobility and convenience are all a huge part of whether or not an email recipient will visit your business, conversion isn’t a given – no matter how well-thought-out your email marketing campaigns might be.
That said, the sky-high ROIs and personalization that email marketing offers make it all-the-more worth it to try out, even for businesses that primarily run offline. Try out these eight email marketing tactics so your brick-and-mortar business can reap the benefits of the most cost-effective marketing channel in the business.
About the writer: Eric Goldschein is the partnerships editor at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in history and English writing. Eric has nearly a decade of experience in digital media and writes extensively on marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and small business trends.
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