Local email marketing is a great way for local businesses to market to their customers and prospects in their city, region or state. It can fundamentally change the way a business communicates and builds relationships with customers, drives business to stores (online and off) and is perceived by the local community.
The basics of email marketing are similar to those practiced by national brands; however, all too often, local business owners and marketers do not have either the time or expertise to create the desired results from implementing a local email marketing campaign (or, even worse, they have no way to measure the results).
The following five tips are designed to help local businesses dive into email marketing no matter the level of knowledge and help them meet their desired business goals.
Local Email Marketing Tip #1: All local businesses need to use local email marketing. Period.
The first local email marketing tip may seem obvious but I talk to too many local business owners that underestimate the value of email marketing. A few quick stats that will hopefully convince you that local email marketing is still hugely important:
- 94% of people online send or receive email
- 88% of people check email daily
- 50% of consumers make a purchase as a direct result of email
All the above numbers are compelling but I especially love the last one. Email marketing can and does drive business to your store which for any business is the ultimate goal.
Think about it for a second. If I am planning a last minute weekend sale at my store, what better way to reach out to my audience than through email marketing? I have a subscriber list that has opted-in to receive my email and the updates can reach them quickly, before the sale occurs. Furthermore, I can track whether or not the email was a success (more on that later).
Local email marketing can also be used to update customers about new products in the store, send out reminders about an upcoming event or thank a customer for a recent purchase. It’s very versatile.
But before you send an email, there is one integral step you must take.
Local Email Marketing Tip #2: Grow your list!
The second local email marketing tip is often times forgotten about, yet without it local email marketing would cease to exist. You can have the greatest email in the world but if you don’t have anyone signed up for your list, you don’t have email marketing.
As a local business, there is a plethora of ways to get people signed up for your local email marketing list. For example, asking customers for an email when they make a purchase is one of the easiest and most effective. Also, adding opt-in forms on your website or your social media page can also help you drive sign-ups.
Whatever channel you use to capture emails, remember that you must give your customers a compelling reason for why they should sign up for your email list. Ideas I’ve seen used successfully for local businesses are giving the customer a certain percent off their next purchase or explaining how they can get specials and promotions to your business exclusively through email.
Whatever reason you choose, the customer must see value in it otherwise they won’t give you the information you want.
Once you’ve started to build a list, it’s time to set your email marketing goals, measure the results and adapt.
Local Email Marketing Tip #3: Determine the goal of your email campaign.
When implementing a local email marketing campaign, it’s important to first determine your goal. Without a goal, how can you measure whether the campaign is successful?
If we think back to the first local email marketing tip, we discussed that email marketing is extremely versatile. So before you start an email marketing campaign, determine what it is you want to achieve. Is it brand awareness? Is it getting customers to visit your website to learn more about a product? Or is it to drive in store traffic?
Once you’ve pinpointed the goal of the campaign, you can start creating your email.
Local Email Marketing Tip #4: Build your email.
Building and writing an email for your customers is much different than building and writing an email for your friends and family. It requires a deep knowledge of your audience. A few things to ask yourself about your audience before you start creating an email:
- What are their demographics? Are they single males or parents with kids?
- What do they like and dislike? Do they like local sports? Do they dislike anchovies?
- How do they speak? Is it informally, professionally, sarcastically or some other way?
- What motivates them? Is it discounts, being the first to know or the latest technological advances?
- When do they want to receive emails? Mornings during the week or evenings on the weekend?
Ultimately, the more you know about your subscribers, the more successful you will be in writing and creating an email.
Also, don’t forget these elements when creating your email: a compelling subject line for why someone should open it, a header with your brand, personalization of the email, body copy that ties to the subject line and speaks to your audience, a call-to-action indicating what steps your subscribers should take (like clicking to your website or visiting your store), social share buttons so your audience can easily share the email across their social channels and an unsubscribe link to let those customers who don’t want to receive your emails and easy way to opt-out.
Local Email Marketing Tip #5: Measure the results
Now that you have identified your email marketing campaign goal(s), designed your email and sent it to your audience it is time to measure the results.
But what measurements do you use? If you haven’t guessed already, the data that you use to measure the success of your local email marketing campaign depends on your original email marketing goal(s).
If you are looking to introduce your company and brand to your list, simply looking at the open rates may be enough. However, if you are looking to send traffic to your website or to your store, you must look deeper.
Most email marketing tools will tell you how many people clicked through to your website. Or, your website analytics tool (like Google Analytics) can tell you how many visitors you had from your emails and what these clickers did once they got to your site.
If you are trying to track in-store visits, it gets a little trickier. However, by planning ahead and incentivizing email subscribers to print their emails before they come into your store by giving them a discount you can keep track of the direct sales from the email campaign and measure its overall impact.
Lastly, after any email campaign, you should look to see what subscribers clicked on and what they didn’t. This can only help you adapt your future email marketing campaigns and in-store decisions. If your audience clicked on a link to more information on Product A and not Product B, you’ll know where its interests lie which can help you make decisions about future product purchases for the store.
For local businesses, local email marketing is a must. But email marketing is so much more than simply hitting the send button in your email client. It requires planning, strategy and a way to measure success. If done correctly, however, the results can be astonishing.