We are asked all the time about how people in ‘such and such industry’ use email marketing. A few months ago we wrote a post for Realtors who want to use email marketing. Another industry we are frequently asked about is retail – specifically small business retail. The big box stores have so much man power it seems as though a new email lands in our inboxes each day. As the home town shop, how can you compete? Here are some ideas:
1. Start a Collection Small retailers often have a hard time getting an email list started. It can feel intimidating and invasive to ask for email addresses. Start simple by having a clipboard and piece of paper at your check out counter. As customers are checking out, casually suggest that they sign up for your emails. Highlight the perks they may receive and remind them (with a smile) that they are supporting a small business. 2. Try a Different Day or Time Start by signing up for several of your big box competitors emails. Over the course of a few weeks monitor how often they send their emails and what time of day they arrive. Once you have a good sampling, pick a day and time that seems pretty email free. Try sending your promotional emails during that window for a few weeks and compare the results to previous sends. 3. Pick an Odd Holiday Most of the large retail establishments up the ante on their email campaigns during major holidays such like Christmas. While it is still important to send during the major holidays, why not pick a few more obscure holidays to offer deals. By celebrating and sending on an off holiday, you are more likely to gain the full attention of your audience rather than get lost in the sea of holiday email cheer. Check out Swiftpage’s Email Scheduling Calendar for some ideas. 4. Make it Personal People want to connect with people. Add a touch of personality to your email by including pictures of you and your staff. Consider featuring a staff person in your monthly email newsletter. Include a picture and fun questions about the person. Let your customers know that they might run into ‘Judy’ next time they visit your store. 5. Have a Party As a small retail establishment, you have an advantage when it comes to events – you have a smaller customer base. The big guys can’t even fathom throwing a party for all of their customers, but you can! Consider hosting a wine and shop night when you receive new items or open on a day you are normally closed just for your email audience. By offering exclusive events to your email audience you give yourself an edge by making your communication more personal and making your store more accessible.
Don’t count yourself out of the email marketing race simply because you are small. Try a few of these tips and watch the business roll in. To make email marketing even easier, check out Sage E-Marketing for ACT!. You can send emails to your database from directly from Sage ACT!. Learn more today >
Have other ideas of how email marketing can be used for small retailers? We want to hear them!