Changes often occur abruptly, unexpectedly, when we least expect it. That is why being prepared is something that both physical businesses and online businesses must keep in mind.
There are many negative effects of the pandemic, many. But today I want to talk about one that especially affects local businesses and some strategies that have helped and can continue to help them get out of this crisis. Something so simple and so effective that if you look at it closely, it is hard to believe that it is not used more; I’m talking about email marketing.
And more specifically , simple , direct email marketing , without all those complications that we often see on the web. I’ll explain it to you a little later.
Surely you’ve heard that email is dead. Every year, marketing gurus “kill” some channel. SEO and email marketing take the cake. There is not a year that one of the two does not die. But nevertheless, invariably, they are the two channels that work best for me in all my projects .
But of course, you have to do it right. It is not worth doing it in any way.
Today I will talk about email marketing and especially some strategies to get good results for local businesses.
A great advantage of Email marketing for physical businesses
I am going to give you 8 advantages of using a good simple email marketing strategy . There are many, but I want to mention these 8 and then I will highlight one of them that seems key to me today.
These are some that I have personally experienced and find essential:
- It’s a great way to do direct response marketing. That is, if I do things right, I can expect sales as a result of my emails.
- It is a magnificent two-way communication channelbecause you can give the opportunity for a response, opinion or exchange of information.
- It gives you the possibility to sharevaluable information with your users.
- If you do it right, you can also entertain your list, which has great advantages. There is no reason to always be the smartest, nor the one who knows the most. Sometimes entertaining your audience is more than enough to get sales.
- Make your customers loyalbecause you are in communication with them, they do not forget you, they have you in their subconscious for when the moment of purchase arrives.
- It is a great channel to publicize news, changes, improvements that will surely benefit you.
- Not everyone is on social networks but everyone has an email. In fact, to register on a social network, you need an email. So they have it from 16-year-olds to people 70 and older.
- We check our mail frequently and carry it on our mobile phone.
They are all important. I have verified all of them throughout all these years, in different projects and sectors. But there is one that seems key to me and that the coronavirus pandemic has made clear:
The great advantage of maintaining contact with your client even if you have the physical business closed.
Maintaining contact with your client, even if some time passes without coming to your premises, is the key to loyalty.
Sometimes it happens that a client stops coming to our premises for whatever reason. Because he doesn’t catch you passing by, because he has found another place and wants to try it (and doesn’t buy from you), because he has found a product on sale elsewhere,… there are hundreds of reasons.
And one more.
Since I started talking about the pandemic, what happens to a physical business when it has to close its doors for a while?
No one enters. But no one, no one.
What about those customers?
Either they go shopping online or wait for you to open again. What if it takes weeks to reopen?
Most likely, your customers will get tired and go to buy on the Internet, the Amazon on duty or similar.
Is it possible to do something?
Of course. Keep in touch frequently.
The contact, of course. On social media, right?
Well no. Unless you pay for ads, because you already know that organic reach is very, very limited.
And something free and that allows me to maintain that contact?
Yes, of course, the mail.
But for that you need to build a mailing list list, a list of people who leave you their email because what you can send them later has value for them. That is not easy. But a good email marketing strategy doesn’t start when you send your first email, it starts by creating your database.
And how do you get that?
How to create the email marketing strategy for your local business
Imagine that your physical business is an aesthetic center, a dentist, a shoe store or a veterinary clinic. Does not matter.
Because if you have clients you have several interesting points:
- You offer something for which there are people willing to pay. Be it a product, a service or knowledge (academies).
- You can get valuable information. Since you have clients (because otherwise, you would have closed by now) you can find out their tastes, they will tell you things related to the business, what worries them, what scares them, what they like, what they need, what they miss, what works for them and what not… a lot of information that you can extract from opinions that most of the time you don’t even need to ask for.
- You have a thousand and one “excuses” or reasons to ask them for their emailand none of them is to tell them: “so I can send you promotions and discounts that will interest you, you’ll see.” You can give better arguments such as advising about the next massage session, the dog’s vaccination, your child’s English certificate exams, interesting information about the sector… there are many ways and reasons to request the email.
A simple and very usable example is for example that of easymailing.com
In two clicks you already have the GDPR theme configured for your project.
Returning to the topic of email marketing strategy that will help you build a solid channel to improve communication with your customer, increase loyalty and improve sales .
Let’s go step by step:
Step #1:- Think about why someone is going to leave you their email.
This will depend a lot on the type of physical business you have. Suppose a veterinary center.
You can request the mail to send reminders of vaccines, antiparasitic, tick season, to send information on animal care or new products.
Did you say send lots of coupon and discount emails?
No. I have said informative mail and of course sales as well. But not in any way, I’ll explain later.
And if I have an aesthetic center or I am a dentist, can I also?
Yes you can too. There is always information, create a PDF guide, articles, news, opinions, discounts or whatever you can offer in exchange for that email.
I already have the mail, and now what.
I send my offers, right?
Now you build that trust that I told you before because if not, your emails will not be opened, they will go to the trash and even spam.
Step #2:- Build trust.
It is a key point and most of the time wasted and very poorly done. With all the information we see on the Internet, we think that email marketing is funnels, automated shipments while I only hear the noise of the “clin, clin” of the billing box.
Things don’t work like that.
Can you imagine that you meet a person for the first time and instead of talking to them, you take a series of phrases recorded on a tape recorder, hoping to reply to their comments, doubts and answers?
The same with email. We want the easy way, which is not difficult but we want it to generate many benefits for us. Things don’t work like that.
Building trust goes through sending meaningful emails, with genuine information or entertainment … and a link to sales. Of course. We are here to sell, not to pretend for 15 days that we are very nice and on the 16th say that we are selling something.
It is sold from the beginning, but with subtlety, making it clear what is there, but without aggressiveness or making your email look like Piccadilly with its neons and garish colors.
My recommendation is to send emails in a personal format. Like writing to a friend. Of course, many times and depending on the sector, the business and the style fit more striking emails, with more design, but not always.
A personal email fits with all businesses , with all tastes and little by little you evolve until you find your style. But also mails with more design, photos and colors work very well for fashion businesses, photography, designers, products, etc.
In my case, I send emails very frequently, several a week. You can see an example of an email from me here and subscribe to my newsletter at the end of the post 😉
Is it an aggressive way to ask for your mail?
I don’t think so, if that email example seems interesting to you, if my PDFs seem interesting to you, why don’t you leave your email?
If that is what the dozens of people who register every day think of my website, think that the same thing happens with yours.
Step #3:- Frequency of sending emails.
It is an important point and one that I am regularly asked. I will tell you that I have tried everything. I’ve worked on projects that lend themselves to a higher frequency and others where it’s just harder to maintain a high send frequency.
But invariably, the more frequent (well-constructed) emails, the more confidence and more sales.
One of the biggest fears when sending emails is being “heavy” and that people are removed from our list.
The secret is always to entertain. Offer content that the user wants to open and generally goes through enjoyable content, anecdotes, case studies, real examples and at the end always a link to sale. Without fear, without complexes.
We have to sell and for that we do all this. It must be made clear from the beginning.
Step #4:- If I try to sell in my emails I will have more unsubscribes.
Can be. But we’re not here to have the biggest subscriber list. We are here because we want to boost our business. Boost sales and the only way is to sell. Do well, but sell.
And if there are cancellations in your list, no problem, that keeps your list healthy, with contacts who are really interested in your business and not with zombie users who do not open your emails and therefore will never buy from you.
In addition, the larger the list, the higher the costs of your email marketing tool.
We don’t want people on our list who aren’t interested in what we ship, or our business, or our products. The more subscribers, the higher the cost , which is why it is key to have a healthy list.
NOTE: Offering coupons is sometimes risky and people who are just chasing the coupon get on your list.
Of my options for building a list, offering coupons is at the bottom. There are other much better options that I have already mentioned before.