If you are not collecting email addresses and using them to communicate with your customers, you should look at this process as part of your core business and add the technology and systems to complete these tasks as soon as possible.
Here are basic steps needed to start your own email communications.
- Collect Email Addresses. There are many ways to collect email addresses. If you need a simple and free starting place, here is an idea gleaned from a trip to the Christmas tree farm with my family. On the counter there was a simple clipboard with printed pages where you could write down your name and email address; a pen was attached. There were probably 20 or 30 email addresses on these pages.
- Decide how often to communicate via email. I would advise communicating no less than monthly and no more than weekly for most retail businesses.
- Decide what you will be communicating. Are you going to send updates about new products or services you are offering each month? Are you going to send out coupons? Will you send a combination of those two? Will your email be all business or business and personal with perhaps a note from the owner about the community?
- Pick a tool to use to send the emails. If you have 200 or less emails, you can create a simple list in your personal email account and send out plain text emails. If you have more than this or if coupons and pictures will be used, you should consider another system. We like MailChimp.com, which is the service we offer through our consulting practice for small business owners.
- Set aside several hours to create email campaigns and pre-schedule them. One of the keys to email marketing is consistency. If you do not send an email consistently, your subscribers will forget who you are and mark you as spam or delete your emails. Take time to stay several emails ahead so you can schedule them to go out regularly.
- Email marketing integration is also an important part of your POS Strategy. If you want to add value to every transaction, have your team member at the counter ask for an email address which you enter into the POS System. You can then send custom emails to your clients. Personally, I like a POS System such as NCR Silver which allows you to send automated emails based on customer activity. Check back later for an article on that topic.
If you would like help setting up your email marketing campaigns, simply contact us. We will send you some free information about how to accomplish the five steps above. We even create custom HTML emails for our clients which look professional and get great response rates!