An individual artist needs only a thousand true fans in her tribe. It’s enough.
~Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Relationship Marketing is nothing new! Back in the early 80’s when we were starting our retail business, we collected our customer’s physical address on a handwritten list, then typed up labels on our IBM Selectric Typewriter and kept them informed of our Holiday Open House (the only Event we did for the first several years), and an occasional Sidewalk Sale. We printed postcards at our local printer, used a sponge to wet stamps to adhere to the cards (stamps were not always self adhesive), took the cards to the post office and mailed them out. This invitation brought our customers in and we were delighted to serve them. Eventually we got smarter, sent out newsletters, mini-catalogs, and more postcards, and guess what…MORE people came in, and they brought their friends.
We were building our tribe!
A business without a TRIBE is like a fish out of water. If I had to choose the most important thing to spend my time on in any small business, it would be to invest time, money and energy into building that group of true fans…they are the cheerleaders who want you to succeed and will bring you new clients throughout the years. When you are willing to invest in this smaller group of people, they will reward you with years of loyal patronage, and will spread the message of your business for you.
Whether you are in a service business, restaurant, retail business, are a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, one of the most important responsibilities that you have is to continually show thankfulness for your clients and Email Marketing is a great tool to continually connect with your clients.
Why Email in a Social Media World?
Communication is Vital
Our retail store, Adrians Boutique, is located in a town of just 1,200 people in Buhler, Kansas, which is located right in the middle of the state. We are an agricultural community with deep family values, a strong work ethic and very friendly people. However, being located in a community this small presents it’s own set of challenges. Just how do we bring in enough people to support a thriving business which, depending on the season, employs 10-17 or more staff members? Our customers must drive a minimum of 12 to 20 miles to shop with us, and we draw clients from a two hour drive in every direction. Communicating with our customers is VITAL to our business!
Whether you’re located in the heart of New York City, the beaches in California, or anywhere in between, communicating with your TRIBE on a scheduled basis is imperative to the growth of your company. They may not open your email each week, but your name is showing up in their inbox and will remain there until they delete it or save it into a folder with your businesses name on it. Yes, your customers WILL save your emails to a folder if you give them GREAT CONTENT that they don’t want to lose!
How to Get Your Customer’s Email Address
Ask for it! TRAIN your STAFF on EXACTLY what to say “…AND your email address?” NOT “Would you like to be on our email list?”
Ask with the EXPECTATION that every client will WANT to be on our list. WHY? Because we send out AWESOME specials, recipes, education and valuable Email Only Coupons! You will WANT to get our emails…I promise!
Train them to deal with REJECTION… go right on, smile, then ASK the NEXT person!
Asking for our client’s email address at check out is a Non-Negotiable Standard (Thank you Bob Negan) at our business. I recently heard that at a National Sales Event they said that one email address is worth $25 in sales. You can quickly see the value in collecting each and every email address from your clients! Educate your Team…Make sure your staff knows the VALUE of getting your emails, and can SHARE that value with clients! Track the number of emails that are added each week and reward your team for every 100 emails. Let your staff know that this is one of the most important aspects of their job!
WIIFM? “What’s In It For Me?”
NEVER send out an email that does not provide value for your client! Include coupons, how-to videos, fashion tips, recipes, store photo tours, community events, charitable fundraisers, school information, invitations to store events, online version of your catalogs, etc. Look for things that your “tribe” can relate to and remember that it’s not about YOU! Your customer wants to OPEN emails that have a TREAT inside for them. Let them know that they are special, they are valued and you can’t wait to see them again!
The Money is In The List
Here is what Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has to say about email marketing:
“It’s important to capture email addresses because:
- It’s a great way to communicate with your audience on a more personal level. There’s just something about receiving an email from somebody that makes it extremely effective at getting a point across, or making people take some kind of action.
- An email list will never die. In other words, if you have an email list, you will always have a way to communicate with your audience. Blogs and websites can die. But, those email addresses will never change and you can always keep your audience informed of what you’re up to, even if you go completely off the radar.
- It’s where the money is.
Regarding #3, you may or may not have heard this expression before: “The Money is in the List.”
It’s an expression that has been used in the internet marketing industry since the birth of email (or “snail mail” for that matter), because it’s true. However, you have to be careful if you’re going to try and use your email list to make money online.
Like with any platform that you use to communicate with people (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), the moment that you start to become “all about the money” is the moment that you might will end up losing credibility (and the respect) of your followers. That’s why I make sure that in whatever I do online,
helping and informing people come first. I’m speaking from experience when I say that if you can make your primary goal helping others, the money will come your way.” Click HERE to read the rest of this article.
As our store’s Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, one of my most important responsibilities is to be the “Rainmaker” for our business. It is my TOP priority to bring people into our front door. With all of the other responsibilities and distractions we face as owners and managers, it is imperative that we are diligent about prioritizing and using the most efficient means possible to relate and engage with our customers. Email has proven to be one of our very best, lowest cost and most effective ways to engage with our clients. Don’t lose out on this very important tool in the Rainmaker’s Toolbox.
We have consistently emailed our clients a weekly newsletter for many years now. There are several weeks during the year that we email twice a week when hosting a big event, or during the holiday times. At Christmas, we send a DAILY email during our “12 Days of Christmas” promotion. We average over a 20% open rate which is pretty good for a small retail store. How do we get our customers to open these emails? By consistently providing VALUE in each and every one of them. This doesn’t mean “50% off SALE” or “Buy One Get One FREE” every week, we provide value by inviting them in for different events, sending a great recipe or two, sending photos of our customers shopping in the store and enjoying our events. Yes, we DO give them VIP Coupons, Special Promos, etc. but they will quickly get tired of promotional only emails.
Keep it Personal
In this cluttered world of cookie cutter chain stores, let your independent, creative business personality stand out! Make your emails personal. Your store does not email your clients….YOU do! Speak in your own “voice”. Your 10th grade English Teacher will not be grading your writing, so keep them conversational rather than technical. Of course, good spelling, grammar and professionalism are still important, just don’t lose your creative personality, and let it shine through in your emails.
I could go on and on and on when it comes to email marketing and am sure I will revisit this subject many times here on Remarkable Retailer’s Blog. What are some challenges you face with email marketing? Do you email consistently?
As always, we love to hear how your journey on the Road to Remarkable is going, so please leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts and ideas. Thank you for helping us build the “Remarkable Retailer” TRIBE…please share this website with other business professionals in your circle!
See you next time! ~Vicki
PS…I would love to be on your business’ email list! Please add me: firstname.lastname@example.org