“A rolling stone gathers no moss”.
Any business with no intentions to expand may not observe colossal growth and soon gather moss. So, it is important for a local business to widen its reach, which will increase the customer base. While physical media such as billboards and ads in local newspapers will grant your brand visibility, you will be restricted by geography. This can be overcome with digital marketing channels. Email marketing is the best channel when it comes to reaching a wider audience.
Why email is the best fit for your local business
An email only reaches the inbox of the person it is addressed to, just like regular mail. So, any conversation you have with your customer using email is one-to-one communication, where the email copy is personalized for each individual. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to send emails to each of your customers individually. With smart email segmentation criteria, dynamic content blocks and merge tags, each customer shall receive a customized email with email copy tailored as per their interactions with your business.
Moreover, email marketing is a vital part in three out of the four stages of inbound marketing strategy and a great way to nurture your customers through email newsletters containing the information they are looking for. Since you just need the email addresses of your customer and their consent to be sent informational emails, it is very easy to start, and your only investment would be an Email Service Provider and a CRM to manage your list.
Since emails can be accessed from practically anywhere, thanks to mobile devices, you can keep in touch with your customers, even after they step out from your store.
How to use emails to widen the reach of your local business
Ask them to share
While sending an email to your subscribers, give a provision for them to share your email with their contact list. When your information is helpful enough, the subscriber will be tempted to share the knowledge with their contacts. This is a win-win situation for you and the potential users since your subscriber base increases and they receive relevant information.
Organize or attend local events
Trade shows and local events are a great place to network and increase your audience base as the attendants are there for a common goal/interests. Moreover, you will also get better content for your email newsletter from the attendants such as common problems they face.
Conduct Contests and Sweepstakes
Everyone loves to win no matter what the prize is. By periodically organizing contests and sweepstakes in your emails, you can increase the participation levels for the customers as they will be interested. Combining this with the above-mentioned tactic of sharing your email, you get more participation and in turn increase business reach.
Provide information with free downloadable
When you offer some valuable digital resource in exchange for an email address, you get more registrations and in turn more subscribers. A free downloadable app/document will help build trust within your subscriber base about your brand as it is a sample of what you offer. The subscriber can test it before deciding to use your services in a full-fledged manner.
Provide localized offers
An occasional discount coupon in your email, which your customers can use to get discounts when furbished on the storefront, is another great way to delight your existing customer base and increase the reach of your business. Sony used segmentation to target customers with different needs and localization to send in-store coupons or Amazon vouchers. They managed to earn 580 euros for each euro spent and 9,000 people made a purchase. That’s an ROI of 580%.
Upsell and cross-sell in transactional email
Transactional emails like order receipts are a great place to upsell & cross-sell other products in emails. Additionally, re-order reminder emails are a great way of building relationships with your customer post-purchase.
Some best practices to improve your email marketing
Add localization to your subject lines: A subject line is the first line of interaction with your customers. Make your emails stand out for your audience by using local references in your subject lines.
Time your emails: Even though an email will remain in your customers’ inbox once delivered, its effectiveness has an expiry of six hours. So always send your emails at a time when your customers are most active in order to gain maximum open rates. While it is easy to determine the time your local audience will be active, you will need to experiment with your sending time to expand your reach.
A/B test to know what works: As you shift from one customer to another, their preferences change accordingly. So, you may need to A/B test different elements in your emails individually to understand what works well with the majority of your audience.
Optimize for mobile: It is important that your emails are optimized for mobile devices. Create responsive emails that resize themselves as per the screen dimensions of the device.
Link social media with email marketing: Inbound based email marketing is only effective once the prospect has subscribed. Use social media to identify your target audience and implement lead generation tactics in your social media post to capture lead information that can be further refined using emails.
Maintain consistency: The goal of an email marketing campaign is to give subscribers what they want and deliver consistent value constantly. Set an expectation about when your subscribers will receive your emails and stick to it. This not only generates anticipation but also creates a brand personality of being punctual.
Update your email goals periodically: As your business expands its reach, the goals and the expectations from each type of email will change eventually. If you remain aloof to it and keep on sending the same email to your customers, you stand a risk of losing them to unsubscribes. So, periodically analyze what your emails are achieving and update the content based on what it should achieve.
Though emails have been in existence for the last four decades, they are still the prime choice as a marketing channel. Improving your local targeting or taking your email campaigns to a hyperlocal level will increase their relevance to your customers and help you widen your reach. Found this article helpful? Share your experience in the comments below.